#1 Most Under-used Spiritual Weapon that you need right now

forgivenesThis is a weapon every Christian must use to fight the enemy of your soul. Not using it leaves you open to resentment, bitterness and anger that magnifies emotional scars and wounds. It divides and harms relationships.

Using this one weapon sets us free from the pain the enemy inflicts upon us. It is also a weapon of obedience.

It is a not-used-often-enough weapon. In fact, many don’t think of it as a weapon. A duty at most. But it is a weapon of mass destruction to the enemy’s camp. Satan fears this weapon more than you can imagine. It is part of a two-prong sword:  Forgiveness and repentance – go together to set us free from spiritual bondage in our life.

Forgiveness is key!

How does it work?

Jesus talked about forgiveness frequently. It’s in the “Lord’s Prayer”. It is the topic of many parables.

My favorite is in Luke 17.

Luke 17:4 Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to say, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord answered, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.…

Forgiveness is an act of faith that releases Jesus Christ’s healing and restoration to your life. Forgiveness means to let go, or release. When you do this you let go of the right for vindication and  judgement on the other person. You release that person and that situation into God’s capable hands. He takes on your cause. Then he gives you healing in your heart in return.

What happens if you don’t forgive?

bitterness

 

 

Choosing NOT to forgive is a seed. That seed of unforgiveness becomes like a root in your life. That seed grows and is fed with resentment and anger. Once it is fully grown it becomes a root of unforgiveness with branches that produce hurt, pain, bitterness, resentment, anger, judgement, etc. The fruit of a bitter root is poison to your relationships. Even people that were unattached to the situation or person are prey to that poison. It affects your thoughts about yourself and others. The Bible say s it “defiles many”.

You may not realize it. We push the painful memories way down, lock it away and throw away the key. It doesn’t stay forgotten and it doesn’t stay hidden. We just grow accustom to the pain. We justify the unforgiveness. We tell ourselves it’s just a part of life, or they don’t deserve to be forgiven, it was a long time ago, don’t be a wimp about it…. and many other excuses not to deal with it.

Truth is it takes an act of your free will and a declaration from your mouth to apply forgiveness and receive the benefits Jesus gave His life for. 

There’s a reason Jesus compared unforgiveness in Luke 17 to the roots of a Mulberry Tree. It has very deep roots.

Forgiveness is an act of obedience to our Heavenly Father. He commands us to forgive. Jesus gave us an example of how God feels about it when we don’t forgive in Matthew 18:21-35. Hint: he doesn’t like it.

32Then the master summoned him and declared, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave all your debt because you begged me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?’ 34In his anger, his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should repay all that he owed.…

How can we think we are better than anyone else in the entire world and history of mankind that we can ask for forgiveness of our sins and wrongs but hold sins and wrongs of another person against them?

It is not wise to think we should have that power. I’m glad God didn’t give me the power of who gets forgiveness and who doesn’t. This world would be even more messed up!!

So we know why it’s important, what it does and why we should do it. Now, HOW do you forgive?

It’s not complicated but 3 things are very important:

  1. Declare it out loud with your mouth
  2. Say it with faith in Jesus that He is the great forgiver and healer
  3. Listen to the Holy Spirit and receive what God wants to do in your life to heal you.

Great example of a Forgiveness prayer:

Heavenly Father, I choose of my own free will to forgive _______________(insert the person’s name) for hurting me by ________________(insert what the person did to you and it made you feel). I release and let it go to you. Holy Spirit come and heal my heart of all this pain and heal the pain in the memories. Come and tell me your truth about this situation. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Then Listen.

If you begin to have thoughts about another painful memory, that’s ok, it is God bringing up things that need forgiveness. Pray this prayer for each painful memory. That is God’s way of cleaning up the mess and yanking the bitter roots out.

If you are struggling to forgive read this previous post Can you forgive when the person that hurt you will never say “I’m sorry”?

Be blessed today as you go on your journey to living a forgiving lifestyle!

 

***BibleHub is my website of choice to look up Bible verses! All verses posted on this site come from here. Happy studying!

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Can you forgive when the person that hurt you will never say “I’m sorry”?

imsorryYou may be hurting because of what someone did to you and there is no way that person will ever apologize. Maybe that person died. Maybe that person is long gone from your life and for good reasons. Maybe it’s best you never hear from that person again. Maybe a heartfelt conversation is impossible.

What do you do when you they will never say “I’m sorry I hurt you”?

An apology has such power to begin the healing process in your heart and mind. However, when it’s not possible what do you do?

Have you every heard this? or thought this?

“When he/she apologizes I will forgive.”

Does that mean you can never move past this hurt and pain?

No. You can move past this hurt and pain. It is possible.

  1. Why do we need to forgive?

You must first know why it is so important to forgive. Read this Why should you forgive someone that hurt you

Basically, NOT forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the person to die.

Unforgiveness only hurts you. It has been proven that it can cause physical illness and emotional distress. It binds you to that person emotionally and chains you to those traumatic memories.

Forgiveness releases you from those chains. It begins a healing inside you.

Forgiveness is for you NOT the other person.

2. Do you need an apology?

As much as an apology is nice. And it’s great when it’s possible but sometimes it’s just not possible. Sometimes it causes more pain.

Consider this…

If seeing or hearing from that person will open up more wounds or cause new wounds don’t do it.

If asking or approaching for an apology will put you in danger-  don’t do it.

If asking or approaching for an apology will cause pain to the OTHER person – don’t do it.

 

An apology is not necessary.

3. You may be wondering by now, then HOW do you forgive without an apology.

There are many ways. I’m a believer in doing something with your hands and your heart when the pain is deep and traumatic.

Here’s some ideas…

Write a letter to the other person. Don’t mail it. Burn it or share it with a trusted relative, friend or counselor. If you have never told anyone about what hurt you DO IT!

For visual people or artsy people, Draw how it made you feel. Again, burn it or share it, or both.

Whether you choose one of these ideas or find one on your own the next step is critical.

You must actually forgive. Say it out loud and mean it. Even if it’s hard.

Remember, you are NOT condoning behavior by forgiving. You are releasing yourself from the link between that person and you.

Time is not a healer. As anyone that has every been wounded deeply knows the pain doesn’t go away with time. At best you learn to live with the daily onslaught of negative thoughts, harmful memories and hardened heart towards others. Actually, time only creates an incubator. Unforgiveness left to fester and grow into resentment and bitterness.

Hebrews 12:15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

A root of bitterness is not hard to detect when you know what to look for. It affects relationships, your ability to relate to others in a healthy way, it affects your thoughts and emotions. You will hear it in how you talk. You will feel it in the way you react to others and at your job. Many stress and anxiety disorders come from bitterness left untouched and festering. Like a sore left to heal on it’s own, it becomes infected.

Forgiveness is not dependent on the other person. It is your choice. It literally means ‘to let go’.

Are you ready to let go?

Here’s a simple but powerful prayer…

Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive _____________ (enter name) for ______________________(enter what that person did) that made me feel ___________(enter how it made you feel: lost, abandoned, scared, physically hurt, emotionally hurt, etc. Say it all, get it all out). 

I purpose and choose to forgive ____________(name) of my own free will. I let it go and give it to you. Father, I ask you to heal my heart. Heal all memories of this incident so they will not play over and over and cause me pain. Heal my emotions as related to this incident. Fill me with your love and peace. 

I ask you to show me any false belief systems I created based on this incident or this person. And tell me your truth about this. Amen. 

Now, sit quietly and listen for the voice of the Heavenly Father speak to your heart. You may feel peace. You may feel love. He speaks in so many various ways. Just let him heal your heart. Crying is healing.

If you think of another memory that causes pain. Forgive again. Forgive for each individual memory until all the pain begins to go away and you begin to feel free. I promise it is possible to be free from the pain and only God can heal the wounds. Not time, not hurting the other person. Only God.

 

 

 

Why should you forgive someone that hurt you?

poison 2

I once heard a quote “not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”.

Those words are truer than you realize. Unforgiveness turns into resentment and grows into bitterness. It affects you physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is like poison. Unforgiveness toward one person or incident will affect your decisions, how you see yourself, and your relationships with others over your lifetime.

Forgiveness is Biblical. But secular scientists are discovering that illnesses and diseases can be caused or made worse by unforgiveness.

Most people choose NOT to forgive because they have a misunderstanding of what it is.

So what is Forgiveness?

It is an act of your will. Your choice. It is not a feeling. You must say “I forgive…” from your mouth and from your heart. Even when it is hard it must be said out loud.

Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus teaches us how to pray. The following verse is a key verse to our physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Matthew 6:12 (NLT) “…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us”

In the very next verse 13 He says “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” These two verses are connected. If you forgive you are also delivered from the “evil one” Satan, the accuser, that comes to steal, kill and destroy.

When you forgive you apply the blood of Jesus to your wounds, emotionally and spiritually. That blood of Jesus has the power to set you free from all power the enemy may try to plant bitterness in your heart.

Unforgiveness chains you to the one that hurt you. Forgiveness breaks those chains.

It is an act of obedience to God

God shows mercy to us. We must in turn show mercy. No one deserves mercy. We do not forgive because someone deserves it. It is not for us to decide who deserves mercy. It is simply for us to obey God and His commands to forgive every time and to every person. Let Him take care of the rest. When you walk in obedience you will walk in so much more freedom. Carrying around unforgiveness weighs YOU down. It doesn’t hurt anyone else but you.

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.

When you forgive someone that hurt you Jesus breaks those chains that bind you to that person spiritually. You lay the situation as His feet and He begins the healing process for you. He is the one that Judges, and will repay. You become free.

breaks chainsSo what is the process if you choose to NOT forgive?

I’m sure you have been through it a million times…I know I have. You are bombarded in your thoughts. You re-live the hurt over and over again. It may replay in your mind like a terrible movie. This causes you to be a victim over and over again, causing emotional pain, feelings of powerlessness.

 

Then resentment sets in. This becomes bitterness. You will say things against that person like “I hate…”, you will condemn, and every memory about that person will be discolored.

That person will “push your buttons” and anger you easily. This is sure sign you have unforgiveness toward that person.

You behavior and emotions become affected by that person. You may be happy until you think about that person or a memory affiliated with that person and suddenly you may be mad, sad or indifferent.

What do you do if you have these signs?

It’s time to forgive. Remember, forgiving doesn’t mean you allow that person to harm you anymore. You don’t even have to be friends with that person. You are not condoning bad behavior. You are letting go of any debt you feel someone owes you.

The amplified version of Matthew 6:12 says “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgive (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.”

Here’s how to pray to forgive…

Heavenly Father, I purpose and choose to forgive ____________ (name) for doing _____________ (fill in the blank). I choose to let go of that debt and let you handle it. I ask you to heal my heart and take away the pain of every memory associated with this. Tell me your truth about this situation. And tell me your truth about me. Amen.

Freedom Living is Possible

 

deliv 3We all have an ugly side. The ugly parts buried deep inside us that we allow never to escape are the parts Jesus came to heal and deliver.

Problem is those parts do surface into our everyday life…words, decisions, relationships, fears, anxieties, addictions…The UGLY doesn’t hide.

Most Christians live beneath their God-given purposes and gifts because the UGLY prevents those gifts and talents, annointings and dreams from manifesting fully.

Ever feel accused or like you don’t measure up? Fear preventing you from walking into your destiny?

How can you be truly free of all depression, anger, bitterness, addictions, lust, bad thoughts, fears, intimidation, anxiety?

Many new converts think that when they become a Christian all their addictions, habits and hang-ups will just go away. After many weeks or months they realize that most of it is not gone and they wonder if they are really a Christian. Or wonder “what is wrong with me all these other Christians look like they have it all together?” BUT do they really?

 

Truth is…we all have trash in our lives. Modern churches have left out a key ingredient to living a life of freedom as it was promised by Jesus. It’s called “Deliverance”. There is such a misunderstanding of what deliverance is and who it is for. Somehow over the last few decades this key given to believers has been removed from mainstream Christianity and the definition has been altered to mean something never attended by Jesus.

So, what is deliverance? (This will take more than one post to fully define so hang in there.) I will dispel the myths, clarify what it means for the Christian, and define the proper Biblical use.

Let’s look at what Jesus means when you are saved, delivered and healed…

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

  1. Who needs deliverance?

Freedom is a ministry of Jesus for everyone. I have’t met a person yet that cannot benefit from deliverance ministry.

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,

The word deliverance is used in many popular songs. Songs about chains broken and the blood of Jesus setting people free. However, if you ask most Christians if they need deliverance they will say no. Yet they sing about their chains and cry about their secret issues. Most don’t realize that not every thought that goes through our brains are not always our thoughts so they stand accused for actions not taken. Fear grips them and binds them from fulfilling their God-given purpose.

Everyone needs deliverance. If you want to be fully engaged in your talents and gifts with nothing holding you back…The greatest leaders need it to lead. The greatest teachers need it to be a better teacher. The greatest pastors need it so they don’t get burned out.The lay-person needs it to survive. Let me assure you….everyone needs it.

2. Isn’t deliverance just for “demon-possessed” people?

NO. Deliverance is for those significantly affected by the demonic and those are that are not. If you are in ministry very long you will discover that people that are so bound by the demonic that they manifest frequently. You may “feel” it or you may see a change in their countenance. But you know something isn’t right. They also require deliverance.

Let’s clear up some HUUUUGGE misunderstandings of “demon-possessed” and what it really means

3.A Christian can’t be “demon-possessed” because God and Satan can’t inhabit the same space, right?

Good question…

Zechariah 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

Job 1:6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.

2 Chronicles 18:10 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “‘By what means?’ the LORD asked

Doesn’t seem like Satan has a problem standing before God. Looks like he is required at times.

Psalms 139: 7Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

God is everywhere. There is no place HE is not. So how far away does the enemy have to be? Some think the enemy “oppresses” a believer. Yes he does and he can. But wouldn’t that be very close? They believe demons can be outside but not inside. Does it really matter? You are still in need of freedom.

However, think about this…if you have a mouse in your house does the mouse own the house? or possess it? No, they are a nuisance and must be removed. Even Jesus spoke about a person as a HOUSE. And the demons were in the house.

Matthew 12:43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44″Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.…

Christians can’t be “possessed” by the enemy, right?

The description “demon-possessed” is not an accurate translation. The word used in original Greek should be translated in today’s language as afflicted by a demon or affected by a demon. Our language understands the word “possessed” denoting ownership. However, the devil already owns you if you do not belong to God through Jesus Christ. If you belong to God you cannot be possessed or owned by anything else. However, you can still be afflicted or affected to the point that devilish behavior is manifested in your life. More on this in a minute.

Interesting that when the writers wrote the letters in the Bible they were not surprised by demons afflicting people. Even believers in God were afflicted. In other countries, it is common knowledge that demons afflict people. We tend to ignore that fact in the Western world. People who come out of witchcraft can explain a lot that ordinary Christians have never run into and have no clue about. The lack of knowledge of how our enemy works has been crippling to the church.

Those were some good questions. Now let me ask you a question…

4.  What degree can someone be afflicted by the enemy?

The Bible gives many examples of them and all are varying degrees of manifestations or affliction.

Luke 13:16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

She was sick and it was caused by an evil spirit. (This doesn’t mean that evil spirits cause every sickness. But some can be.) She was perfectly normal except for her illness causing her to be stooped over. Obviously, Jesus saw her as a godly woman that just needed to be set free.

Mark 9:21And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22″It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”…

This boy was most likely normal except when the evil spirit was trying to kill him. Notice, the people understood it was the evil spirit causing the boy to jump in fires and into water. They realized the boy was not trying to commit suicide just on his own. Just from these two accounts we see that believers and children can all be afflicted to some degree.

Think of it as a scale from 1 to 10. To the degree every aspect of their lives are affected. The demonaic in Geserenes could be a 10 or 11. The boy may only have been a 6 or 7.He may be perfectly normal in all other areas except those times.  The woman maybe a 2 or 3. The enemy affects everyone and Jesus prepared a way to be set free.

5. What other ways can Christians be affected by the enemy and in need of deliverance?

The most common way is mentioned here (among many other places)…

Ephesians 4:30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,

Bitterness, anger, lying, slandering others are all examples of how the enemy afflicts us and uses us to hurt others. The writers are talking to Christians. If you look at Christians today they are not much different. If you look at yourself you don’t even do all the things you know you should do and do many things you wish you didn’t do.

This is where deliverance comes in for the believer and applies the Word of God to bring freedom to our hearts and minds.

Now we can talk about what deliverance is…

I bet you have bitterness somewhere. I haven’t met a person yet that didn’t hold some grudge or been hurt so badly by someone they hated. You have someone in your life you don’t want to see or just hearing their voice grades on your last nerve. Bitterness is unforgiveness fully grown into a root in your heart. Bitterness flows out of your mouth. Ever say something that was so ugly and you wonder “where did that come from?”

Deliverance is taking away the right the enemy thinks it has over your life through forgiveness and repentance. You apply the work of the cross to your life.

You may ask…I thought it was applied automatically when I accepted Jesus as my Saviour?

Yes it was! But now you have to appropriate it to your life. Some things were taken care of that very minute other things are a process of applying the Word, renewing your mind, forgiving others and repenting (applying the blood to the issues of the past when necessary).

We are saved and we are “being” saved. It is a process. The verb tense is very important and is not correctly translated in KJV and some other versions.

Deliverance is that process.

You can call it discipleship. You can call it “He’s still working on me”… but it is a process that you can and should by Jesus’ example and teaching apply to yourself.

You must be a believer for this process to work. A house divided against itself cannot stand. You cannot cast the enemy or tell it to go or stop it’s work in your life until you belong to Jesus. Then Jesus does HIS ministry to you. Go back up and look at Luke 4:18 again.

Freedom for the prisoners-prisoners did things to be put into prison by their own behavior.

To set the oppressed free-these had things done to them, it was not their own behavior.

Jesus came for both: the things you did that hurt others or yourself and the things done to you…to set you FREE.

Think of some examples: a woman is raped, then her behavior changes, she has low self worth, she may even contemplate suicide. She needs to be set free from the trauma she endured. On the flip side the person that raped her also deserves to be set free from the prison inside his heart that incites him to behave in such destructive ways.

Both these examples need deliverance…the process of healing and applying God’s truth to our lives.

More posts to come…

My goal is to bring deliverance to the forefront of the church world as necessary and biblical solution to our lives.

Deliverance = Application of God’s Word to our lives

Please comment if you have any questions or email me.

 

 

The House that SELF Built

photoI just read a quote from a man, Jack Deere “If I let out what I was feeling now, I might destroy the self I had worked so long and hard to build.”

This author made this statement when God began to get all up in his business and began to deal with the hidden areas of his life. It may be time to let God tear down the SELF that we build and re-build into the HOUSE built on the ROCK

 

 

 

 

God has a way of doing that when we are open to Him. God reads our mail.He knows every hair on your head, every thought…everything!

Yes…He can read our mail and He has an opinion about it…however, when we don’t want to listen we don’t hear and thus we don’t learn or grow.

Jack Deere was the typical religious traditionalist, very skeptical if God will actually speak to people in present times especially through a prophet or through a person by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The statement above was made as a prophet told him everything he had been through in life and what God was planning to do in his life. After it was over he left without saying or acknowledging that any of it was correct. Afterwards a friend asked him about it and Jack said it was all right on.  Sounds great right?

Most people are waiting for a prophet to come and tell them what they need to do, say, etc. God can use prophets and other people to help us along but He will speak to you if you will ask Him and turn on your ears.

Back to the “Sounds great right?”….Look at what he says…”destroy the self I had worked so long and hard to build”.

We all build a SELF. We have an identity that we “created” in our minds, or was created for us by the opinions of others.

Finish this sentence with at least 10 statements about yourself– “I am ….”

What did you say? Many people start off with superficial statements like I am blond or I am a man or I am a great fisherman…

But as they talk longer and if you had to say 100 statements about yourself you might say things like ” I am strong. I am honest. I am opinionated. I am outspoken. I am shy. I am quiet. I am smart. I am ugly. I am worthless. I am unloveable. I am a sinner.  I am not pure. I am a terrible husband…wife…mother…father. I am fat. I can’t do anything right. I am not as good as..

I am ………………………………………………….

My realization is this…I am what GOD says I am.

Does what YOU say match what GOD says?

The Bible compares us to a house and a temple. We are being built up as we go through our life. What is doing the building in your life? Is it the opinions of others? Is it the negative, hateful thoughts?
Or, is it the WORD of God and His Holy Spirit that is building your opinions of yourself and your attitudes of your heart.

What is so wrong with building yourself?

 

I am speaking of the incorrect assumptions we make of ourselves that become our present and affect our future.

One example is a young woman who was abused by a neighbor. She grew up in a religious home. She never told anyone what happened because she (wrongly) believed it was her fault and that no one would believe her. As she aged and the thoughts of shame, resentment, anger, hurt, all came back and she struggled with relationships. At times she would say to herself…You are strong, just live with it that’s what good Christians do.

So she held it inside instead of talked about it.

If the self YOU build hides pain, carries un-forgiveness, harbors resentment, lives with bitterness or pushes hurtful memories away, you will find that the SELF you built is a hollow shell of the YOU God is trying to transform and heal.

God has an interesting method of healing that requires LIGHT to shine and uncover the yucky, the bad and the hurtful. As His light shines on those hidden and try-to forget areas of our life healing happens. Transformation happens. A hard heart is turned soft. A bitter person becomes loving.

Those 100 Statements can shine a light on what is hidden in your heart. Each statement that does not line up with the Word of God represents an area that SELF built. Allow God to show you those areas. Allow Him to heal those places. Allow Him into your HOUSE you will not regret it.

Proverbs 24:3 By wisdom a house is built,

and through understanding it is established;

4through knowledge its rooms are filled

with rare and beautiful treasures.

Warning:

You may feel a bit….un-built….for a time. As the broken becomes apparent and you see the brokenness in your life I promise it won’t last long as you submit to His Spirit. Healing comes so gently into your life.

1. Spend time talking to God and asking Him to show you these things that are broken

2. Spend time reading the Bible and find scriptures that speak to your life.

3. Forgive quickly, repent when necessary

4. Find a godly mentor, Bible study, pastor, etc that can help you. You are created to be in community with Jesus followers to love you and pray with you.

Proverbs 3:5Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord and shun evil.

8This will bring health to your body

and nourishment to your bones.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, un-build me. Show me the areas of my life that needs your touch. Reveal the areas of my heart that require your healing. I submit to your Spirit to speak to me and I will answer with repentance when required and with forgiveness when needed. I yeild completely to you. Re-build me with your Word. Re-build my life according to your guidance and love.

I know you love me and have a purpose and plan for my life. Purge the ugly, the bad and the sin out of my heart so I can be a vessel of honor to be used in your Kingdom to reach others.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self – control. 

Matthew 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

 

 

 

 

Self-Deception Trap

large__5827143430I just read a quote from a man, Jack Deere “If I let out what I was feeling now, I might destroy the self I had worked so long and hard to build.”

Sometimes I can’t put everything I’m thinking into words. That sounds weird because we think in words. Right?

Not exactly, maybe I think in feelings? Not sure.

 

It’s really cool when I read an article or a book that explains exactly what I’m thinking but in words.

After reading the above quote the other day, I then read this article today:

Do You Have Spiritual Blind Spots?
http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-leadership/personal-character/20908-do-you-have-spiritual-blind-spots

He put it best “Spiritual Blind Spots”. We all have these self concepts. I enjoy hearing people describe themselves. Silently, I compare each description to the Word of God and what HE says they are.

You wouldn’t believe the things that we say about ourselves that were never meant for God’s children. And yet we not only accept them but we take ownership of them and brag about them.

Here are common examples. I’m sure you can add many more…

I Can’t

I don’t

I’m not good at…

I was born this way

My parent was this way

It’s just the way it is

That’s life

I’m not loved, or liked

I’m not fun

No one wants to be around me

My sickness/My disease is…

I can never catch a break

I’m not important

People would be better off if I wasn’t here

I’m no good

I’ve done too much wrong

I’m stupid

I deserve bad

Most people don’t say these things too often out loud. But if you listen real close you can hear how they perceive themselves.

Reality and perception are two very different things. Then to complicate it more, spiritual reality (what God says) is very different then physical reality (how we see things).

Here’s a quote “And lest you think I’m being judgmental, let me just say–I’m absolutely convinced that I have spiritual blind spots. I would tell you what they are…but I don’t know them! Sometimes my wife tries to point out my blind spots to me, but she’s always wrong about them–so I’m still not sure! Sometimes my closest staff tries to hint at what’s wrong but they never fully understand!” John Burke

HERE’S YOUR SIGN: He has a great list of signs you may have a self perception problem at the above link.

Now back to the first quote…the self we build…

Over time we build a “self”. It is a hollow shell. Every evil thing that ever befell us. That horrible tragedy, that hurtful word, that terrible experience that we pushed into a very deep, dark part of our “selves”. That part we never talk about because it brings back bad memories or feelings. Since we don’t like to cry because that could make us seem weak, we just grin and bear it. Like it never happened. But it did. Now what.

There is only one solution. Let God deal with it. Yes, as abstract an answer that is it really works.

Let it out, stop pushing it down when it rises up within you. Tell God about it like you are telling your closest friend your deepest, darkest secrets. Let out the cry, let out the yell. Forgive people that did it. Forgive yourself. Repent if needed. And let him heal your wounds.

It’s amazing the scars we carry and we were never intended to. But we believe the lies we tell ourselves. We are a prisoner of our own device when we hold onto it and call it “mine”.

This blog is part of a ministry that helps people with these problems. You are not alone. There is help.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I can’t do it by myself anymore. I give it to you. Shine your truth into my hurt and pain. Show me your ways. I ask you to heal this wound and tell me your truth about this situation. In Jesus name, Amen

Today, it’s time to start…

Here are some past posts that could help you take this further.

Thoughts Reveal Your Heart

Lesson: Identity 

Identity Theft

 

 

photo credit: ABBones via photopin cc

photo credit: ABBones via photopin cc

Fits of Rage

angerFeelings 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.

 

For Wives Only

Promotional art for Superman vol. 2, #204 (April 2004) by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Wikipedia)

Promotional art for
Superman vol. 2, #204 (April 2004)
by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Wikipedia)

Kryptonite and Superman

(adapted from Peacefulwife.com and Daniel Robertson “God’s Help for Marriage”)

“You NEVER…!”

“You ALWAYS do that!”

“I can’t believe you…!”

“What were you thinking?”

“I don’t think you can do….Don’t we need to call…..?”

“Just ask for directions!”

Patronizing “Wow, you took out the trash. I’m so proud of you!”

Nagging (constant reminders because you think he isn’t doing something on your time frame.)

Insults (destroy trust and demoralize)

Cutting Sarcasm: How many kids do you have? “3 if you count my husband.”

Would you ever say these things to Superman? But Lois Lane did to Clark Kent. 

Do you treat your husband like Lois Lane treated Clark Kent? Or like  Lois Lane treated Superman? There was a big difference in how she perceived each one. Maybe you are like me..I just want to yell at the TV screen “They are the same person! Why can’t you see that!”

Sometimes that’s how I feel about my husband.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Words are Kryptonite

Prov 18:21 The tongue holds the power of life and death

Speaking life                                                   Speaking death

Praise                                                          Negativity             Criticism

Bless                                                           Complaining          Sarcasm

Judgmental

 

 

What can I say?

Stages of changing your words and thoughts.

  1. Surprised: Realization that most of what comes out of your mouth and thoughts in your head is disrespectful, negative and hurtful.
  2. Quite Mode: Can’t say anything at all. Every thought and every word seems disrespectful. Especially when you can’t think of anything good to say.
  3. Searching: Questioning God, reading the Bible, asking others, reading books trying to find out what respectful words sound like.
  4. Awkward: Saying all those good things when you don’t feel like it seems strange and abnormal.
  5. Filter: Begin to filter words before you say them. Begin to process what words are good and what is not.
  6. Comfortable: Saying positive things and not negative things becomes normal and the usual. Still mess up sometimes but able to recognize it quickly. Still make the decision to say it though.
  7. (Not there yet)

 “The more time you spend with God, the more you take on His character and His thoughts about what matters.  True selflessness is a reflection of God’s character and comes only as a result of time spent with Him.” From Nina Roesner in The Respect Dare:

Learn to filter with discretion and wisdom
Proverbs 18:2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
Proverbs 18:1  An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Proverbs 6:22 Anyone who has understanding is a fountain of life, but foolishness brings punishment to fools.
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:18  A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Proverbs 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife: but he that puts his trust in the LORD shall be prospered.

Proverbs 25:15  By patience a prince shall be appeased, and a soft tongue shall break hardness.

Luke 6:45 – NKJV)A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Emotionally Fueled Words

You CAN express your emotions – but keep in mind that when you are responding to a situation where it could be easy to jump to conclusions, or if you are communicating something important to your husband that you really want him to hear – he will be better able to hear you with fewer words and less emotion.

And when you do share your emotions, if you can share them in a non-blaming, fairly calm way – that allows your husband to hear your heart much more accurately.  That’s why I like Laura Doyle’s method (The Surrendered Wife) of speaking our desires and feelings very simply.  Less words and less emotions actually get our message across many times much more effectively with men:

  • “I want X”
  • “I don’t want Y.”
  • “I feel sad.”  ”I feel afraid.”  ”I feel nervous.”  ”I feel upset.”  ”I feel lonely.”

ie: “I feel lonely. Would you please hold me for a  few minutes?”  or “I feel lonely.  I’d love/I want to cuddle for a few minutes, please”  work MUCH better than, “You never spend any time with me!  You obviously don’t love me at all!”

And, remember to share your positive emotions, too! Your emotions are VERY POWERFUL to your husband.  Using them in a constructive way will help you bond and become even closer.   I like to share all of my emotions with my husband – that helps him know me better and understand my heart more.

  • “I’m so happy being here with you!”
  • “I feel very safe with you.”
  • “I’m so glad we got to do X!”
  • “I really appreciate all you have done for me.”
  • “Thank you!!!!!!!!!”    *“I’m so full of joy!”

 

Positive Words:

Humbleness is a virtue. Refusing to say these words just because you are right or feel validated only makes things worse.

 “I love you.” Should be said daily and sincerely.

“I’m sorry.” Sometimes even when you still feel mad or hurt. It soothes the wounds.

”I really appreciate…”Gratitude does a lot to put both in a good mood. Motivates more than nagging.

“Thank you” Almost as good as the previous one.

“What can I do to help?” It’s all about serving your partner. Serve him=serving God.

“How are we?” for a quick marriage checkup or not so quick if your spouse feels like venting. Don’t ask if you aren’t prepared to listen.

“Let’s pray{ about that}” Be careful if your husband is not a believer. Don’t say things like this if it makes you sound more spiritual or could sound like you’re putting him down.

“Do you want a back rub/foot massage/etc?” Who doesn’t like that!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for speaking words of death over my husband and our lives together. I choose now to speak words of blessing and life to my husband and about him and our marriage. Help me to speak truth with grace and mercy. Give me the wisdom to speak when necessary and a guard over my mouth when I should be quiet. Holy Spirit, I ask you to help me discipline my will over my tongue. Give me more understanding about respectful words that can be healing to my husband’s heart.

The Comparison Trap: Marriage

comparison 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Land of “Er”

“If I was pretty-er..”                   “If I was thin-er…”                         “If I was rich-er…”    

“If I had  more-er.”                   “If I was lucky-er..”                        “If I was smart-er..”

…I would be…Happy-er…Fun-er…Bett-er………..

I was recently listening to Andy Stanley. He preached a great lesson on the comparison trap and the Land of Er. While listening to this I realized there was a great connection for marriages. Read on as I share the connection and how your marriage can be healed.

Here’s a link to Andy Stanley’s messages: http://northpoint.org/messages/comparison-trap

Who do you compare yourself to?

Why do we compare ourselves to anyone?

Down deep inside is a part of us that needs to feel successful, accepted, and okay.

We just want to know we are OK. And how do we know we are OK? We compare ourselves to people around us that seem OK or not oK and we say “well I’m not as OK as that person, but I’m better than that person. So I am OK.” Because there is always someone better and always someone worse off.

And we compare everyone in our lives to other people too. We compare our children to everyone else’s children. “My children aren’t as smart as her kids.” “My children act better than her kids.” “My children can’t play sports like those kids.” “My son is…My daughter is…compared to….” “MY baby is prettier than all other babies!”

Who do the perfect parents compare their kids to?

Who does God compare you to? As his kid. He compares us to no one. He loves and accepts us just the way we are. You are not compared to sister so & so in the front pew. Your holiness or lack thereof or shortcomings are not compared to anyone.

When your child does something wrong you don’t love him less. When you correct him you do it for his own good. To help him live a better life as he grows up. You don’t expect him to know it all. You teach him and he develops good habits and such over time.

The Garden of Life

garden

I picture my life as a beautiful garden.

Each lesson that we learn is to pluck out the roots that cause the ugliness in our lives. Roots are being plucked out: Bitterness, unforgiveness, traumas, etc.

Think of your life as a garden. Do you want ugly weeds in your garden?

The light has to shine on it. Show that it’s there. Then we can deal with it with God’s help and healing.

We all want our Garden of Life to be beautiful-filled with joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, goodness, purity, beauty, etc.

So is there one more root that has to come out?

Comparison

 

Parable of the Talents (money bags)

Matthew 25:14

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,a each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21“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!’

22“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23“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!’

24“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  • 1.    Each servant was distributed his portion to care for. Entrusted “his wealth”

2.    Each servant had to answer for his actions.

3.    Only one servant placed blame.

           a.       He was called “wicked and lazy”.

           b.     Can we be that way sometimes in our marriage? It’s easier to complain and criticize and compare than to do something positive?

4. Suffer the Consequences

           a.  Not living the way God intended results in frustration, fear, and torment.

           b.  And results in no peace.

How does this apply to marriage?

1.    God entrusted one of his most precious treasures to us–our spouse. God’s creation. Beautifully and wonderfully made. To love, honor and cherish. God’s Treasure.

2.    In the most holy bond on earth-husband and wife united as one.

3.    How we respond to what was “entrusted” is up to us. The blame is not on God if we feel we got a bad lot. We can’t say…if only my spouse was like ….. or…if only my spouse was this or that…

               a.    The 3rd servant blames the master for his actions. “If you had given me more I could have done more with it. I didn’t have the 5 or even the two.

                You gave me just one, how am  I to make that into something great?” With God all things are possible and maybe what you look at as a “bad lot” and less than ideal                   may be the best you could ever imagine if you changed your perspective. Sometimes it is our perspective that is off not God handing you a bad situation. Sometimes                its our own sin and mess ups we pay for. But even our own mess-ups can be made into something great if we fully rely on God to so something with it. 

4.    We compare our “lot” or “spouse” to others just like we do our house, car, job, money and our children.

            a.    We say “if my husband acted better I would act better” “If my wife was..” “If he acted like so & so…” “if wasn’t as lazy as…” or “if he would just do this …”

5.    Sometimes we contributed to the way our spouses respond to us through our own disrespect, dishonor, superiority, criticism.

Living in the Land of Comparison “ER” is dangerous. The grass is NEVER greener on the other side. That is a lie. 

How do we move out of the land of “Er”?

  1. Be thankful. Recognize that God gave you that husband. (and everything else you have). His precious treasure that he shares with you.
  2. Ask God to show you what you can learn with your spouse. There is always a lesson. God is developing something in you. Look for it. Learn it. Live it.

Peace will be found when you move out of the land of “Er”. That is what we seek. PEACE

The Christian life was never meant to be just a get out of Hell free card. Jesus didn’t just give his life for that. He gave his life so we could live free and abundantly. With peace and joy. In whatever situation it is.

Don’t just say “Oh, I can be thankful because my spouse could be a lot worse.”

Instead “I am thankful because my spouse is…” Be specific. If you can’t think of anything then because “he/she is loved by God and God will save him, renew him, etc.”

Don’t let the bitterness cause you to resent your marriage. Or cause you to blame God for everything wrong in your life or marriage.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for not treasuring my spouse, for not honoring him/her in my thoughts and actions. I repent for every blame I have ever put on you Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to be thankful for my spouse. Help me to praise him for things he does. Help me to recognize the gift and talents you have put in him. I repent for any resentment I may have. I trust in you Sovereign God that you give good things to your children and you do good for us all our days. I trust that my spouse is your Best for me. I will start to look at him/her in that way. I am willing to learn from him/her the lessons you want to teach me. Holy Spirit, show me what you will have me to learn.

If he/she is not saved I ask you to open his eyes and show him/her your truth. Help him/her to walk in your ways. Turn his/her heart to you. You change the heart of a man from stone to flesh. Change it Lord. Send someone to him/her to minister. Help me be the light that will shine for you and point to your grace and mercy every day.

I pray blessings over my spouse. That he/she is strong in you, that he/she is highly favored. That he/she hears your voice and follows you. That you protect him/her everywhere he/she goes. 

Thoughts Reveal Your Heart

As a leader by occupation, in authority of over 70 women, I strive to realistically evaluate my strengths and weaknesses frequently. I ask myself everyday “what could I do differently to be more effective or efficient”. “How are my actions affecting the results and do they benefit the overall goals?”

I don’t see this thoughtful investigation happening daily in the lives of most Christians regarding their walk with Christ. Instead, and myself included, I see excuses, blame, disregard or just plain denial. We hide behind the fear of people seeing the real us. The human side. The side God forgives but other people don’t. Just be real. If we are real with ourselves God can conform and transform our inner man (heart). But it’s our lack of authenticity that hinders Christ’s work in our lives. We would rather sit in our own mess than realize we stink and allow God to help.

Are we truly aware of the depths of our heart (inner man) and all things lurking around in there?
How do you know what is truly in your heart? We all like to believe we are good. The truth is that the Bible is the only standard by which we must be measured.
Are we delivered from every wrong sin in our heart at salvation? Or are we being delivered? A constant, continual growth as we mature in Christ?

Imagine an old fashion water well. To draw water requires a bucket tied to the end of a rope. The water is far below the surface. You can’t see the water. Is it good? Is it bitter? Let down the bucket and draw up some water from the well. What did you get?

Prov 23:7 (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

That is the same as the well of your “heart”. Your thoughts come from your heart. They guide your actions and your words. Is it good? Or bitter?

What determines the out-flow of your heart?

1. What you put in is what you get out. What is put in the water determines how it will taste.

I see people who have deep hurts and unforgiveness lurking in their hearts. For whatever reason they pretend it’s not there or don’t realize it’s there. Large walls are built up around their heart. The walls hide what is deep inside. You know what is inside by your thoughts and actions.

Here is a simplistic view: If the thoughts are hurtful you are hurt. If the thoughts are unforgiving you have not forgiven. If the thoughts are bitter you have a root of bitterness which stems from unforgiveness. If the thoughts are impatient you are impatient in your heart. If your thoughts are sinful your carnal self needs to be sacrificed a little more. James 1:19-20 “…slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires” So if your thoughts and words are anger that does not please God. James 1:21 says to “get rid of moral filth” so anger is moral filth and evil.

Verse 22 says “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

On the flip side: if your thoughts are loving you have love in your heart. If your thoughts are patient you have patience, etc. Will your thoughts always be perfect? Probably not. But we should always be striving to have the mind of Christ.

2. What you allow to stay will poison your heart. Cleanse your heart by renewing your mind with the Word of God.

Rom 12:12 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

2 Cor 4:16 “our inner man is being renewed day by day”

Col. 3:10 – “the new man is being renewed to a true knowledge…”

Titus 3:5 – “renewing by the Holy Spirit”

How is it that we have the bad thoughts and then in the moments later have good thoughts? Paul said:

Romans 7:21-23 (NIV) So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

Blindly, I lived for years completely deceived. I didn’t out-right sin (as we would label sin) but I had bitterness, unforgiveness, regret, pride, severe insecurities, selfishness, self-reliance, anger, hate, greed, envy, strife, judgemental, critical, vanity ….the list was long. I am still dealing with some of these. Remember, we are being saved, formed, tried like silver. This is not an immediate, microwave experience.

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

All that junk was in my heart, so it came out. It was evident in my conversation. My self opinions. My interactions with others. My interactions with God.

I judged. I would say “I forgive” but hold long lists in my head of past wrongs. Some people can never get over harmful actions of others. God can heal all things. Even deep-rooted, long time hurt and pain.

1st step is always forgiveness

Don’t underestimate the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness applies the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed just for you. Applied to your heart and your circumstance it heals the pain, covers the wound and stops the enemy’s work.

Many times deep hurt or long term regret can poison a heart. Forgiveness as Jesus commands is the only answer. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Accept forgiveness because it is freely given to you.

True forgiveness is evident when the event no longer haunts you in your thoughts. When you can think of the incident with no remorse, anger or bitterness indicates forgiveness.

How do you forgive when it’s just too hard?

1. Confess before God “I choose to forgive, work it in my heart until it is complete.” “I choose to forgive myself and  ______(fill in the blank)”

2. “I ask forgiveness for not forgiving as you have commanded me to”

3. “I accept the work of forgiveness in my heart”

2nd step is to ask God for help

Please pray and allow the Holy Spirit to show you the “issues” of your heart. Start by listening to your thoughts and the words you use. If they do not line up with the examples of godly living and speech exemplified in the Bible then know you just found an issue. Congratulations!

Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal your own darkness in your heart and it’s root cause.

2. Think on what, who or where it started.

3. Forgive yourself and others out loud in prayer for each issue revealed.

4. Pray for strength and wisdom to guard your heart – “keep your heart with diligence”

5. Don’t beat yourself up for every slip. Your Heavenly Father will not. Just be quick to repent and be careful to watch the cause of the slip up.

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