Archive for January, 2014

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Let’s Go Fly A Kite! The sky is big enough for EVERYONE!

Mr. Banks sings the first verse of the song which goes like this.

With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Then Bert sings verse two and says it this way.

When you send it flyin’ up there
All at once you’re lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over ‘ouses and trees
With your first ‘olding tight
To the string of your kite

Everyone can sing the chorus whether they can sing or not because it’s just that kind of song. Whether i’m in key or not makes no difference.

Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Let’s go fly a kite!

Miss a word or two, oh well, it doesn’t matter. Rhythms impact me. If my heart is out of rhythm then i have difficulties in my whole body. Rhythms can speed me up or slow me down, they can make my foot tap as they did for Mrs.Travers. God speaks very specifically about rhythm.

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG.) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly

The sky is big enough for EVERYONE!

God is big enough for EVERYONE!

Let’s Go Fly A Kite and experience the unforced rhythms found while soaring in the presence of God. As Mr. banks says, i can have my own set of wings and while my feet are on the ground or in this world, i’m a bird in flight, in the heavenlies. When i enter into the presence of God “all at once i’m lighter than air” and i can dance to the very rhythms of His grace.

I would guess that for each of us there have been and remain to be seen many hard fought victories. In Saving Mr. Banks director John Lee Hancock has great fun with the clash of style and personality between Disney and Travers. One can only hope that the clash between God and i would be described as great fun.

Mr. Banks is the father in the story “Mary Poppins”. The point of the story is that Mary does not come to help the kids, she actually came to save Mr. Banks from a life that was destroying him and his relationship with his family. That was the story that Walt felt he needed to tell.

In closing… The story that i feel i need to tell is that God has come for me, to save me from a life that is or was destroying me and my relationships.

So come on… with our fist holding tight to the string of a kite, “Let’s Go Fly A Kite!” The sky is big enough for EVERYONE!

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imagesHA9VWFAC“Let’s Go Fly A Kite…” no… i’m not insinuating nor telling you to go fly a kite as in get lost and, nobody told me to do like wise. Several weeks ago i saw the movie “Saving Mr. Banks,” thus this series comes from my observations, inspirations and lessons learned from it. Actually i’m hoping to see it again before finishing with these posts.

Surely there is at least one who is already thinking that perhaps i should go fly a kite as there can’t be anything spiritual to be gained from posting about such an event. Further there is no mention of kite flying in the word so this must be one of those seeker friendly, or puffy posts that is supposed to be fun and not deep in the inspirational category. While you are entitled to your opinion, only time will tell and at this moment i maintain that you would be incorrect in your thinking.

According to Wikipedia “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” is a song from Walt Disney’s film Mary Poppins, composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The song is heard at the end of the film when the story’s protagonist, George Banks, realizes that his family is more important than his job. He mends his son’s kite and takes his family on a kite-flying outing. This is a metaphor. The mended kite being a symbol of the mended Banks family. i don’t know what i thought “Mary Poppins” was about but after watching it i didn’t walk away with any particular thoughts or a message. i still didn’t get the idea of the new movie title “Saving Mr. Banks” until i saw it or should i say experienced it.

i’m not going to get to deep into the movie as i don’t want to ruin it for anyone, i’ll share no more than i have to. As i think about these post it may turn out to be best described as a metaphor in themselves. There should probably be a warning with this post. If you choose to listen to the song or even just read it and imagine listening to it, it’s going to stick with you in the same way that “It’s A Small World” does. There, now i’ve done it, and i’m humming them both!

The following link takes you to the first scene that filled me with emotions, not because of the song but because P.L. Travers let’s go of just a small piece of herself and she is able to smile, tap her feet and dance to the rhythm of the song, all scriptural by the way. It’s not hard for me to imagine the release that she experiences within herself, even if only a small tiny morsel. So please watch the scene and see for yourself if you dare? For those who don’t care to watch I shared the words. Either way, listening or reading, use your imaginal cells, extend yourself, respond to the invitation of the lyrics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3-srL6C100

Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

Mr. Banks:
With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Bert:
When you send it flyin’ up there
All at once you’re lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over ‘ouses and trees
With your first ‘olding tight
To the string of your kite

Londoners:
Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Let’s go fly a kite!

“Let’s Go Fly A Kite” an extension of me. At one end of the string my feet are planted firmly on the ground, but, at the other end i have let go, and as the song says, “i’m “soaring to the highest height, Up through the atmosphere. Up where the air is clear.” Above my circumstances, my fears, my hurts and woundedness, where my Heavenly Father meets with me, where nothing matters but Him and once His presence touches me i become light. Isaiah 60:1-5 says it this way, “Arise ed[from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine  ed (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for ed your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness [all] peoples, but the Lord shall arise upon you ed, and His glory shall be seen on you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. ed Lift up your eyes round about you and see! They all gather themselves together, they come to you. Your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried and nursed in the arms. Then ed you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and tremble with joy and be enlarged;

“Let’s Go Fly A Kite…” An Extension Of Me!

i can’t help but imagine that many people just like me, would enjoy the pleasures and fellowship that are to be found at the end of a kite line. Sharing with you today seems to make the fun and joy even greater. Thank You!

God’s S.R.U. …

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Guest Hosts, Podcasts

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I have this favorite TV show called Flashpoint. Some of you may have heard of it, it was only on television for about 5 seasons. But something about this show captivated me. I believe it was not only the way they diffused situations, but their ability to profile their suspects at the same time. They had this unique way of seeing more than what was in front of them.

In every situation, even if their own life was threatened, they knew there was more than just a suspect holding a gun or someone being held hostage. The person they were dealing at some point reached their breaking point and it was their job to figure out why. I will never forget this one episode when their Sergeant said to a reporter, “when we show up, we are meeting people on the worse day of their lives, we don’t know the details that pushed them there, but it’s our job to bring them hope.”

Can you imagine being one of those team members? The patience that they must possess and the love for their job to put their lives on the line everyday for total strangers.  I’m not sure what you’re thinking, but all I could think is nope not me..I wouldn’t be cut out for a job like that. Or at least I thought so until yesterday.

If you remember I shared with you a big teaching moment for me. An area in my life which I had the opportunity to go from being a fool to becoming a wise person. The Lord brought me to Proverbs 29:11 which states that a fool vents his anger but the wise hold it in. After talking with the Lord, I realized holding in my anger hasn’t been one of my strongest points in my life. I was under the impression if someone made me angry, especially my husband or kids; they deserved to receive a piece of my mind.

Never did I think in one of those moments of anger with the cashier who had the bad attitude, or the waitress that kept getting my order wrong, or the customer service person on the phone that was being rude, or even my husband who came home from a long day’s work in a bad mood did it ever cross my mind that I could be meeting a person on the worse day of their life and God called me, one of his SRU (Strategic Response Unit) members, to help bring hope to their lives. It could be that very day I decide to act the fool and vent my anger, that I could be pushing this person to their breaking point. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a consequence I want on my shoulders.

Therefore, I began processing with the Lord that I’m not qualified to do something like that and what does “that” really look like. So he took me to the dictionary to define what “breaking point” even means, a point in which physical, mental, or emotional strength give way (collapses or becomes critical) under stress. At which point, he took me back to the night of January 7th of this year.

John was on his way home from work that day and we just hung up the phone. There had been a lot going on that past week and I for one was looking for his attention. However, my conversation with him didn’t leave me looking forward to him coming home. He seemed distant, tired, and almost uninterested in talking with me. Now mind you, the word “tired” had become a norm for him. Even though he had every reason to be because he would leave at 4:30am in the morning and not come home until 6:30pm at night. Plus he worked in a warehouse that had no air conditioning or heat so he was exposed to all the elements. But I was tired of hearing about him being tired.

So when he arrived, I quickly asked him again what was wrong and got the typical response, I’m tired. All evening the Holy Spirit kept cautioning me not to bombard him with questions, roll my eyes or get mad because I wanted his attention. And so glad I did.

Later that evening we went for a walk and he proceeded to tell me he was laid off from work that day. This was huge considering we had been in foreclosure for the past four years and just seven days earlier we had just gotten our house finally out of foreclosure. It was in that moment that the Lord showed me I was meeting my husband on one of the worse days his life. He felt defeated, he felt like a failure, he was angry, etc. and my attitude before he told me or my very next response to him after the news was critical.  There was an opportunity to bring him hope or push him to his breaking point. And thank God I listened to the Holy Spirit and kept my mouth shut and spoke only what the Holy Spirit wanted me to say.

God showed me that I don’t need to be on a SWAT team or have special skilled training in dealing with difficult people or who I think are being difficult. All I need to do is be willing to put myself aside and ask the Holy Spirit for his perspective on the situation and the discernment in how to respond. Proverbs 15:1 says it best, a gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. So the next time you are faced with someone making you angry ask the Holy Spirit for his help and respond accordingly, it could be the difference of bringing someone Hope or pushing them to their breaking point.

A Fools Moment…

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Guest Hosts, Podcasts

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Today’s guest host is Theresa Villazon.

I woke up this morning with a million things on my mind, as I’m sure many of us do. I quickly thought there’s no time to sit with the Lord and talk with him about these things on my heart since today was Sunday and we were headed to church in less than an hour. So I jumped out of bed to get ready while my mind continued to run in a million different directions.

Instead of going to the Lord for his perspective about this stuff, I had a better idea! I decided I would go straight to the source of who I thought was part of my problem, my husband! Now ladies, I know you have never thought for one moment that your husbands were ever part of any of your problems, so for a few minutes try not to judge me and listen with an open mind. So I began processing all this stuff with him, hoping secretively that he would somehow pick up on the things that he was doing or not doing and provide me some solutions. Needless to say, I found out quickly I was not receiving the responses that I so graciously wanted and found myself getting even more irritated at him.

So we went to church and put on the happy little couple smile, all the while I was thinking…Lord, hit him over the head with whatever sermon is being preached today so maybe he will get it! Again, I know I’m alone in this thought process, but hang in there with me. By the time we got home, I went from irritated to…he needs to know what he’s doing wrong and he needs to know that I’m angry about it!

Now as marriage ministry leaders, I would not suggest any wife taking this approach. We do not recommend this course of action to other couples, but I just assumed that didn’t apply to me. Let’s just say the conversation could have turned in a wrong direction very quickly but it didn’t. Thank you Father for your grace!

Later that evening I was pondering on what to blog about when I ran across Proverbs 29:11 that states, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” Ouch!! I had to let that sit there for a moment. Isn’t that what I just did this afternoon? Was I being a fool? Nah!! I couldn’t be a fool, he needed to hear everything I had to say. Or at least so I thought! In those few moments the Lord began to show me, more times than I like to recall, where I felt it necessary to vent out my anger such as on my kids, my parents, my spouse, the driver in front of me, the customer service person on the phone, the waitress, the sales clerk, etc.

So I quickly reached for the dictionary to look up the word “fool.” It said a fool means a person who lacks good sense or judgment: or a stupid person. But that wasn’t all; it stated a person who enjoys something very much. Well that’s not me; I don’t like venting my anger. To which the Lord kindly responded, “You must get some satisfaction if you continue to do it over and over again.” Suddenly it sunk in; I have been playing a fool! I could no longer sit and pretend that I didn’t know it was wrong.  I did know but I didn’t care! All I cared about was the self satisfaction of letting them know how I felt. See a fool is not just someone who lacks good sense or judgment; he often times knows what is right and doesn’t care.

Not only did I not care but I wasn’t being obedient to what the Word said to do which is, a “wise” person quietly holds back their anger. See, the dictionary defines “wise” as someone who shows good sense or judgment but also shows wisdom usually caused from a learning experience. Obviously like the one I’m learning now in how before running my mouth, I need to ask God for His perspective on things (like the part I skipped this morning). If I would have just taken the time this morning, He would have shown me that there were parts that I wasn’t seeing, things He was doing that I could have easily made worse or delayed due to my foolish behavior.

Remember doing the right thing won’t always “FEEL” like the right thing; however, it could mean all the difference in the outcome. So now it’s time for me to eat so humble pie and go apologize to my husband and ask him and the Lord to forgive me for playing the fool.

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There are lots of voices in my ear with many words attempting to convince my mind to go this way or that. But God… with patience, will reveal the right path that i am to take as i enter into His presence. It will become absolutely clear!

It’s said that if i want to lead an orchestra i’ll have to turn my back on the crowd. If i want to orchestrate heavens symphony i must be willing to turn my back on the earth. Sometimes God allows me, His disciple, to separate from the crowds. It is a place where i go into my own wilderness so i can find Gods voice. This in spite of the fact that i may be standing in the middle of crowd of people.

It takes courage to believe in my own music, the symphony i hear, and to be faithful to write it out accurately so that others can hear it.

When i am true to the one thing that i alone was created to do, i am able to reach into an inner strength, a “knowing in my gut” that i am doing the right thing, even when nobody in my circle understands.

Here’s what i know… –i am DESIGNED for PURPOSE and DRIVEN by PASSION.

Designed: made or done intentionally; intended; planned.

Purpose: the reason for which something exists or is done, made,

Driven: to send, expel, or otherwise cause to move by force or compulsion.

Passion: any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling,

If i’m driven by purpose without passion my work will be mediocre and never the best. If i’m driven by passion without purpose, i’m a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. If driven by both, i am a creative force in God’s creation which is waiting to cooperate with me.

Steve Jobs lamented that in most people’s vocabularies “design” means veneer. “It’s a word used for interior decorating”…the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. “But to me,” Jobs said, “nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”  He said, “To design something you really have to get it! Be passionately committed to thoroughly understand something. The design of the Mac was not in how it looked…it was how it worked.”

i have at times, been guilty of paying way more attention to how i looked instead of how i worked, more specifically how i responded to God, His word and His call. A hospital delivery room is ugly – but the baby is beautiful.

i am officially turning my back on the unresolved issues of my past. The music i am about to conduct will change everything in my future.

Cristina Marrero “Normal is over rated, and so is spelling.You want perfection? Go out and buy a spell check, but know this: Spellcheck won’t keep you warm at night or love you unconditionally. I will stick to being abnormal and a bad speller. Makes life more interesting. After all, what fun is there in being normal or perfect?”

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Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

So i figured that it would be a good idea to use the three tools i suggested in yesterday’s post and then share today how that worked for me. Well i’ll let you be the judge.

The first thing i found out in being aware was that it made no difference whether i was sitting, standing or laying down. There was also no noticeable effect determined by whether i was walking, pacing, running or motionless. There was no noticeable variation between morning, afternoon, evening or night. Regardless of any of the above my mind was fully capable of engaging on a number of subjects.

As for goals, well let me share a few of them. First i wrote a thank you letter to someone who has blessed me for the past year as they provided thousands of dollars in labor and material for my dental work, something i’d been trying to do the entire time. i called about seven people just to see how they were doing and what God was doing in their lives. i emailed out scripture verses to a couple dozen people who i’d gotten for them while i was praying for them. i repaired the leak under our kitchen sink. i tore out the bathroom tile in our guest bathroom and removed the sink cabinet, mirror and lighting. i did not get to replace it, yet. i planned the entire catering menu for Onething Campus for the next 30 days. i laid out a complete financial plan and guidelines to accomplish what i wanted for the next 90 days. i arranged for Ann Marie and i to take a trip to Key West for a week. i determined a schedule of how to replace the carpet and tile in our home and replace it with wood flooring. Some heavy pieces of furniture to maneuver so timing is crucial. i found a new position of employment and spent some time planning the best way to begin that. i found someone to trade my sprint iphone 4s for one that i could use on my tmobile service and was able to give it to my grandson for his 13th birthday tomorrow. Then there were probably six to twelve other things that i disregarded.

So, sounds pretty productive right? Impressive as well, right? NOT! You see, all of that was talking to myself, self talk, mind chatter, whatever i want to call it. They say the poof is in the pudding so we’ll just see how many of my goals become reality today as my awareness is on high alert. Yesterday i shared about over-thinking things to the point of not actually getting anything done and here i am as the proof in my pudding.

In closing let me share the thoughts of some well-known men.

Abraham Lincoln – “When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.”

George Carlin – I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me – they’re cramming for their final exam.
Winston Churchill – Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.
Lastly, C. S. Lewis – Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.

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“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”  Terry Pratchett

It’s a golden rule to think before you speak, but i can run into trouble when i think so much that i fail to act, or think myself into a state of uncontrollable anxiety.

What is stopping me from getting the results i want? i’m coming to believe that one of the reasons is a self-imposed roadblock. It’s identity is thinking too much.

For many this may be one the problem that draws people to books and websites on self-help and one of the things that keeps them from achieving what they want even after they have gained a lot of helpful advice.

After having read a few books, i think… and then plan… and then i think a little more. Often i get lost in my thinking. Being an over-thinker and getting my hands on personal development information becomes just another way for me to creatively procrastinate. But then i can call it making progress.

Stop… i’m not saying that educating myself or thinking is something bad. But overdoing it won’t help me either. Why not? Well for one thinking can’t take the place of action.

Wishing that if i just think enough i can find some easy way to get what i want without having to actually do something.

Without taking action it’s likely that I won’t get what i want. Thinking is seldom as scary or uncertain as taking the leap into the unknown and taking action.

The second problem with over-thinking is that it may over-complicate things.

Seriously, aren’t things complicated enough? But is it possible that it’s me who’s making them more so?

By over thinking things i make things more and more complicated… in your mind. In a short period of time i can turn something fairly simple into really complicated.

A problem here is that when what i’m doing is complicated i begin to think that it must be important. And so i feel important. i derive a sense of importance from making things into big struggles. Much of my struggle is in my head. There is some surprise and even relief to find out that I have been making my life more complicated than it needs to be.

Another pitfall of over thinking things is that I may not perform at my best.

If i over think things i may become nervous and start to second guess myself all the time. It also becomes harder to focus on doing something when i have a habit of thinking a lot. i may slip into future scenarios in my mind instead focusing on what i’m doing right now.

All of this can cripple my performance and produce results that are worse than they could have or should have been.

So how do I stop thinking so much or in fact get myself to shut up?

I’ll settle for a steady flow of progress so here are three things i’m going to use to cultivate the habit of not over thinking things.

Awareness…

The most important thing is to be aware that i tend to over think. And to keep being aware of that in my everyday life. A practical application for this may be the use of post-it notes that say “Don’t overthink things.”

Goals…

Instead of thinking about something for days, i tell myself that i have – for example – 30 minutes to think. Then i will make a decision.

The Now…

Focus on what’s in front of me instead of drifting off to the past or future for long periods of time. It would serve me better to stay in the present and let the right actions naturally arise.

In Closing… “Just because I liked something at one point in time doesn’t mean I’ll always like it, or that I have to go on liking it at all points in time as an unthinking act of loyalty to who I am as a person, based solely on who I was as a person. To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think. The only thing I am for sure is unsure, and this means I’m growing, and not stagnant or shrinking.”  Jarod Kintz

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Some might think that strongholds have nothing to do with my original subject of talking to myself, but they have everything to do with it. Much of the talking to myself is based on things that have become strongholds over the years. But, now that i’m trying to live life intentionally and based solely on truth, these strongholds are being exposed.

Geraldine Vermaak says, “The harder and deeper we can forgive the affliction caused upon us; by other people’s weaknesses; the more we move into our Christ-like identity; where all the power, strongholds, grip and enslaving bonds of the enemy over us is loosened.”

The enemies third weapon is the most dangerous. This particular weapon is virtually unknown to the average Christian. It is neither active nor passive, but dormant. It’s like an underwater mine, it gets planted and then left undetected, waiting for the ideal moment to be activated. Because it’s dormant, it’s easy for the enemy to conceal it from me. i usually don’t find out about it until i look back at the destruction it has caused.

This destructive weapon is called “strongholds” and it brings me back to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. “For though i walk (live) in the flesh, I am not carrying on my warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of my warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,”

Strongholds allow the enemy to control me and influence me do things that bring damage to myself and others. Strongholds expose severe inconsistencies between who i say i am and what i believe.

Revelation 12:9 further reveals the enemy. “And the huge dragon was cast down and out—that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over;”

There’s a story i read of somebody who went around opening and shutting his hands in an obvious attempt to catch something that remained elusive. When someone asked what he was doing, he said, “I ‘m trying to catch a chiripitiflautico.” His questioner was perplexed. He had never heard of a chiripitiflautico before. So he asked, “What does it look like?” To this the prospective catcher replied, “I don’t know. I haven’t caught one yet!”

So what do strongholds look like?

James describes them as “double mind.” The consequence of a double mind is instability “in all his ways” (Jas. 1:8). This instability is what prevents me from dealing with those things i know that run contrary to God’s will. When i’m convicted about it, i bail out by using rationalizations and speculations to avoid acting on them. Something like, “i know what the Bible says, but there is a definite difference of opinion among scholars about what this passage really means. After all, we are removed by almost 2,000 years from the original writers.” Or i may make my way through  a list of counselors, hoping to have my rationalizations validated by one of them.

i go to church, hear the Word and honestly believe it. i share the word and declare what the will of God is and support it with Bible references. However, later on, as i walk to my car, my mind leaves the word, truth and references and repositioning it self into the overwhelming problems which are ready to challenge me again. As i think about them, i begin to talk to myself, speculating how to deal with them, using my own resources, forgetting what i have just heard or declared. How can i honestly believe some thing one moment and something different the next? Because i have a double mind (see Jas. 1:8).

It is futile for me to attempt to live life intentionally without identifying and destroying the strongholds in my mind.

In closing, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or fault-finding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].

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It seems as though i have hit upon a topic of interest regarding “talking to myself” and where that can lead to. Yesterday i shared about an obsticale to renewing my mind called strongholds.

Is it possible for me to be blind and not know it? To be miserably poor and believe otherwise? To think in all honesty that i am dressed and to walk around naked? Yes, it is entirely possible. It happens every day. Where? In the lives of believers and in the church. In fact, the problem is so serious that the Jesus Himself sent a letter to a particular church, confronting it.

The letter is recorded in Revelation 3:14-22, “Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see. The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God! Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors! Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

The situation was so serious that Jesus told them, “You think you have gathered in My name, but I have been left out” (Rev. 3:20).

Revelation 12:11, holds the answer or the directions for me to be victorious over strongholds and the enemy. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Three elements… the blood of the Lamb, my testimony and my willingness to die. Two of the three are variable while one is absolute and constant. The blood of the lamb is the constant because it represents the perfect sacrifice. But, my testimony and my willingness to die for Jesus, if necessary, is very much subject to change. This is where the enemy, the accuser, targets his attack.

The enemy has three main weapons. The big one and most obvious is sin. In Matthew 4:3 Satan is exposed as the tempter. “And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread.” The enemy has an expertise with which he uses this particular weapon. Sin is an active weapon. It’s like a heat seeking, guided missile, it finds me. When it hits me, i know it immediately. Romans 6:23 “For the wages which sin pays is death…”

The second weapon is a passive one. Like a trap, it’s set for me to fall into. It is called “accusations.” In Revelation 12:10 the enemy is identified. “…for the accuser of our brethren, he who keeps bringing before our God charges against them day and night, has been cast out! Day and night, before the throne of God. That strikes me…, if he has the courage to do that before God, imagine what is he capable of doing to me. In spite of being forgiven, he reminds me of every sin i have committed, and then, for effect, he adds every other sin i could have committed. Hebrews 13:5 promises me that, “…He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5, NIV), he uses the problems and challenges i face every day as a weapon to blind me to the absoluteness of that promise. “God has left you,” he screams in my ear.

For the most part i have been aware of these two weapons. Adequate Bible teaching helps me to deal with their effect and gives me some direction as to how I can defend against them. The fact that the consequences suffered by me are visible—death and spiritual paralysis—acts as a motivator for me to seek help.

In the next post and podcast i’ll share about the third and most dangerous weapon of the enemy.

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There have been a few times in my life when someone accused me of something that was not true? There have also been times when i have accused myself of something that was not true?

Regardless, whether from myself or someone else, any false accusation made against me can turn into a stronghold in my mind that will spiritually hinder me.

strongholdWhat exactly is a stronghold? “A stronghold is a mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something that he/she knows is contrary to the will of God.”

Truth be told, i am susceptible to false accusations that control our minds. Yes, i am susceptible to strongholds.

There are recurring thought patterns, if left unchecked, will become the dominating thoughts and guidelines of my mind. i have found over the years that often i run so hard away from something that i actually run right into it and the danger is that i may become what the accusation says i am.

So let me get back to the word and the original direction of this series of posts and podcasts.

For the weapons of my warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. i destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

A woman named Donna was someone bound by fear. Some called it insecurity. He insecurities caused her mind to be preoccupied by the thoughts that raced through her head.

The controlling ideas and actions of her youth became a stronghold that could not be broken. Even though she knew God’s opinion of her and that it should be the dominating thoughts of her mind, it was not.

She had learned early in life that performing for others was the way to be accepted. Her father taught her this by his passive parenting model and in the brief moments when he did say something, it was generally discouraging.

This helped to shape her as a people-pleaser. She was motivated to not disappoint others. She became all things to all people with the hope of being accepted.

In time, she became what others expected her to be. Though her early years with Christ were filled with fulfillment, eventually the old thought patterns came back. The stronghold was never broken.

According to the word Donna never learned how to take every thought captive. She learned how to be saved, which she was, but she never learned how to grow into a new creation. Her life, was corrupt through her deceptive desires to be liked, which still had control of her mind.

Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. (Ephesians 4:22-23)

You might say she was an unbelieving believer–a Christian who still lives according to an un-Christian quality of life. Ephesians 4:24 says, i am “to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Donna was experiencing warfare in her mind. According to Paul, this was more than just a person being attacked by the negativity of another person. That was true, but it was so much more than that. i live in a spiritual world where there are real demonic forces who are out to destroy the knowledge of Christ that resides in me.

The evil spiritual world cannot totally destroy me because Satan is not God’s evil equal. None the less there are demonic forces who would enjoy nothing more than to distract me from making God’s name known.

It is so important for me to know and understand where the battle comes from before i go to war. 2 Corinthians 10:3 spells it out for me. “For though i walk in the flesh, i am not waging war according to the flesh.

Getting free…

First, i recognize and believe that there is a relentless spiritual battle happening in this world and i’m an active part of it?

Secondly, i am aware that there are weapons to fight these spiritual battles—weapons that are divinely empowered? i further believe that these weapons are specifically created with the power to destroy the strongholds in my mind?

Thirdly, i do not believe that there is something wrong with me. Also I know that just speaking about my faith and living as a new creation in Christ are nice theological words but without action and experience have no effect on everyday life. Rather than getting wrapped up in my fleshly thoughts, I need to know how to live in the freedom and good of God’s Word.

In closing… Elisabeth Elliot says, “Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.”