Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Happy Ending - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 14

As I close this series, we are in the days where we ponder the last days of Christ before His death...and return to life...

I have come across a verse in Scripture that has been quite perplexing.  It says,

But we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2:16b (ESV)

What does this mean?  I found this explanation from Joyce Meyer* quite interesting:

Tulips of White
If we have His mind, we will think positive thoughts. We will think about how blessed we are--how good God has been to us.
Jesus was positive, in spite of being lied about, lonely, misunderstood, and a multitude of other negative things. He was deserted by His disciples when He needed them most, yet He remained positive--always able to offer an uplifting, encouraging word. Just being in His presence would suggest that all fear, negative thoughts, and discouraging hopelessness would evaporate into thin air.

The mind of Christ in us is positive. So when we fall for the opportunity to be negative about something, we should instantly discern that we are not operating with the mind of Christ. God wants us to be lifted up. It's the enemy of our soul who wants us pressed down--depressed. We have many opportunities to think negative thoughts, but that's not the mind of Christ at work in us. We don't have to accept those thoughts. They are not ours!
*This does not mean the owner of this blog agrees with every theological position of this author.

Three Milk Maids

But between the impact of watching The Bible this month, going through this study, and an experience last night...I have had a personal revelation.

Last night, Edster and I went to a Good Friday service to hear Alexander Adelson and his wife, Svetlana, Messianic Jewish missionaries to Tel Aviv, Israel.  Alexander was born in Russia; his wife born in Ukraine.   They serve through the organization of Jews for Jesus.  They believe the Lord called them to Israel as 1.2 million Jews from the former Soviet Union live there now.

White Chiffon

He demonstrated how the Passover feast points to Jesus...with great symbolism and a wealth of history of each element.  I saw how at the Last Supper, recorded in Scripture, we see only one part of the Passover meal...but after learning of the entire Passover ceremony, I was humbled at the meaning of the cup of the wine and bread...and the brokenness of the Passover Lamb on my behalf.

If a God would send His precious Son...who uplifted, healed, encouraged and truly understood those He came to be broken, be abused, endure character annihilation, be redeem ransom such a can I be anything less than deeply valued and precious? convinced that God must see me through His eyes is incredible...forgiven, clean, and ransomed...can I entertain any thoughts or ruminations that say otherwise?

Thank you, Jesus, for deeming me worthy of Your sacrifice, Your vulnerability, Your love, Your passion, Your compassion, Your forgiveness.

Help me to be victorious in this battlefield of the mind...

Remind me of Whose I am...

And may my behavior and thought life be indicative that I truly do have the mind of Christ.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cynical Love - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 13

Have you paid attention to the ever-expanding rhetoric in our culture these days that drips of cynicism and sarcasm?  (Turn on a cable news channel or watch a sit-com, if you doubt it.)  How everyone is suspect of having their own agenda or revealing only half-truths?  That everything is a scam or pyramid scandal or ponzi scheme?  Someone wants to get the upper hand in their position, their popularity, their standing at your expense?

Essence of Love

And while I do not believe God wants us to be naive...actually He wants us to be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16) be aware, with eyes wide-open, to be discerning...but in that same verse Jesus talks about also being harmless as doves.  In other words, don't handle the insight you have been given carelessly and thereby hurting others.

In the battlefield of our mind...the enemy can twist our thoughts about others in a way that matches our culture...being suspicious, cynical, sarcastic...even paranoid.  Ever walk into a room that gets quiet and you are sure they were talking about you?  Well, do you know that they were?  Or innocent, inadvertent oversights by others...your mind creates scenarios that something innocent was part of a deliberate slight or slam against you...and without empirical evidence, the mind creates an offense against the innocent, and a root of bitterness evolves, and the next thing you know you are harboring unjustified grievances against this person.

Jesus says, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:35.

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,
hope all things, endures all things.

I Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

If love is to be our trademark, we must guard against the culture that wars against this battlefield of our minds before our love for God and each other is no longer recognizable.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Goals Gone Wild - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 12

It's that time of year again...time for my annual review...time to see how the past year went.

Every year we set some goals for achievement...and they just get kind of lost throughout the year...for a variety of reasons. I know this year that an opportunity came along unforeseen that put some of those things on the back burner.  Flexibility can be a good thing.

The Journey

I found an article that makes some good points. I totally LOVED the title: Goals Gone Wild...

Basically...if viewed in a Christian context...goals (good, wholesome, moral) can be part of the arsenal the enemy uses in the battlefield of the mind. How?

Well-Lived Life

1. Goals that are too specific, create a narrow focus, that we are not looking at any other issues going on in our lives that aren't related to our goal. If I am so focused on my ambition with writing or photography, but fail to see some negligence in the areas of Christian fellowship or my marriage, than I have failed some priorities God has declared to be in my life.

Life's Purpose

2. Goals that have a specific quota within a certain timeframe can either be too high or too low. Too high and unrealistic, I can become discouraged and the work becomes unsustainable. Too low and I can miss potential that God has given me. (There was a great example of a study in 1997 where cabs in New York City tended to disappear early on rainy days because people did not want to walk in the rain, so the drivers met their quotas early and went home.)

Radical Amazement

3. Goals that are highly-specific and ambitious can result in risky practices. Early in my social work career, I worked in an arena where billable hour productivity had to be attained to remain an employee. Even if you went on vacation for a week, you had to meet that week's productivity you actually had to be ahead of your goal to get a break. As a result, there was a temptation to provide only what you could bill for, as opposed to a holistic, best-practice approach, that really was in conflict with doing what is best for your client.

Purpose vs. Lifestyle

4. A major pitfall of ambitious goals is unethical, sinful behavior to meet them. This is the greatest issue. How many Christian leaders or those in ministry have good and purposeful goals, only to fall and fail others, because their goal became their focus instead of God's plan and purpose?

Heaven on Earth

Do you know the Bible speaks on this, as well?

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and
 will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? 
Your life is like the morning fog—
it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 
What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, 
we will live and do this or that.” 
Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans...for all boasting is sin.

- James 4:13-16 (NLT) not let your plans become a ploy the enemy can use to get your focus of God's ultimate goal for us: to do His will and be totally dependent on Him.

(Oh...and my review is April 4...I'll let you know how it goes...)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ooooooohh...Shiny! - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 11

Wow, 3 days left...this series has been a daily commitment...but I've grown through it.

Now...if I've made you think that following Christ is one battle after another...I've mislead you.  It is not...for one thing, would want to deal with that...The other, that would make the strategy of the enemy way too obvious and expected...

When I was little, my mother and I would often be in a store shopping. She loved the "five and dime" stores like Grant's, Kresge's, or Woolworth. I'd be walking along next to her, enjoying her company, enjoying being near her...when something else would get my attention...

Red and Green

(oooooh, shiny!). And after giving that "something" my full attention, I'd look up and my mom was gone!

Panicked, I would go up and down the aisles of the HUGE store (always huge when your a first grader) trying to catch a glimpse of her...THERE SHE the fabric. And that peace would come back and I wanted to be even closer...hold her hand.

Supper Time

We can be going along the way in our green pastures and still waters...thinking all is right with the world...


and then look up only to not be able to see our Shepherd. We were distracted and failed to follow. And alone...we become vulnerable.


But thank God for the boundaries He has provided to keep us from things that might devour big, ugly Bruno dogs...


And for Christian friends who help us along the way...especially girlfriends.  But we DO have a good Shepherd that loves and cares for us, and watches over us, along the way!

Casting the whole of your care...all your anxieties...
your worries...your concerns..., once and for all on Him,
for He cares for your affectionately 
and cares about you watchfully.

I Peter 5:7 (AMP)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Oh be Careful Little Mind - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 10

Our minds are mental greenhouses where unlawful thoughts, once planted, are nurtured and watered before being transplanted into the real world of unlawful actions... These actions are savored in the mind long before they are enjoyed in reality. The thought life, then, is our first line of defense in the battle of self-control.
~Jerry Bridges
Are you a puddle jumper???????

Careless Days of Childhood

or do you just plunge in and get drenched in the water of God's word?


There is a verse in Psalms 1 that talks about being a tree along the river, flourishing, always green, bearing fruit...ALWAYS the envy of other wilty, withering trees...


They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.

...but if the wilting trees would just read the verse above they would find the key:

But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.

I can read a little perpetual verse-a-day calendar on my desk each day...or a lengthy passage.  But if I don't ask God to reveal the depths of this treasure and meditate on it throughout my makes no difference.  And I will be all wilty and withery...and surely fall prey and be defeated in this battlefield of the mind.

This is a song I sang as a little child which still remains so true...especially the last two verses:

I am grateful for a defense strategy given to me by God for this daily battle.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When Trust Seems Absurd - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 9

By the time it was 5:00 p.m. on September 11, 2001...when people were arriving back home from the workday...a nation was numbed, in shock, speechless, traumatized over the deplorable acts witnessed LIVE, either in person or on television, that occurred in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I know for my generation, and those younger, it was a face of evil never seen before.

Ghosts from September

As the days trickled on, more and more details came known about the personal stories and circumstances...faces of people who never came home...children, some unborn, whose fathers, mothers are gone forever. I even learned a colleague of mine was on her way to San Francisco from Newark, New Jersey on Flight 93.

I don't know why I see children suffer and die from cancer, accidental trauma, and various forms of abuse regularly. I don't know why children are born with horrible conditions, sometimes incompatible with life itself. I don't know why my precious, only son, was born with severe autism and has never said my name and lives a life totally dependent on others for everything. I don't know why a woman who served Christ all her life, and was my best friend, is now enduring her 13th year with Alzheimer's. And I may never know.

But that is when everything and everything around you, as well as the thoughts within you, scream of such absurdity to trust in God...and that's when you must trust Him the most!

I used to sing this song by Twila Paris years ago...and the words still resonate:

Sometimes my little heart can't understand
What's in Your will what's in Your plan
So many times I'm tempted to ask You why
But I can never forget it for long
Lord what You do could not be wrong
So I believe You even when I must cry

Do I trust You Lord does the robin sing
Do I trust You Lord does it rain in Spring
You can see my heart You can read my mind
And You've got to know I would rather die
Than to lose my faith in the One I love
Do I trust You Lord

I know the answers I've given them all
But suddenly now I feel so small
Shaken down to the cavity in my soul
I know the doctrine and theology
But right now they don't mean much to me
This time there's only one thing I've got to know

Chorus 2:
Do I trust You Lord does the river flow
Do I trust You Lord does the North wind blow
You can see my heart You can read my mind
And You've got to know I would rather die
Than to lose my faith in the One I love
Do I trust You Lord

Chorus 3:
I will trust You Lord when I don't know why
I will trust You Lord 'til the day I die
I will trust You Lord when I'm blind with pain
You were God before and You'll never change
Do I trust You, do I trust You, do I trust You
I will trust You, I will trust You Lord
I will trust You Lord

I am grateful for a God I can trust even to others it seems absurd.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Trust and Grace - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 8

This is one of my favorite passages...and such a good reminder:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)


Have any of you been watching the mini-series on the History Channel, The Bible?  Wow...I don't know about you, but those times seem SO brutal!  Trust ... it was a life or death proposition.  Daniel.  David.  Moses.  And God's chosen people, those they led, were so reliant on God for everything.

And what about the trust required of 5 young men who obeyed God who, in the mid-1950s, went to Ecuador to go to reach an indingenous isolated and hostile tribe known as the "Aucas," which when translated means "savage."  They not only went, but took their young wives, and their children would be born there.  Believing the promise that God had sent them.  Yet...after much prayer, efforts of successful engagement with these people...these men, Jim Eliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Pete Flemming, and Ed McCully were speared to death on January 8, 1956.  Five women were now widows and 8 children were fatherless.  But their faith never wavered.  You can find the actual Life magazine feature article here, starting on page 10, with lots of photographs. But I'll tell you the rest of the story at the end of my post.

So...most days we are not facing such tests or trials...and yet why is trusting God so hard at times?

All is Grace

1.  First, God gives us the grace we need for each day.  As Charles Spurgeon said, "[God] isn't going to give you Monday's grace on a Sunday, nor Tuesday's grace on a Monday."  Deuteronomy 33:25 says, "as your days, so shall your strength be." (ESV)  We will not receive the grace to face anything until we need it...but it will be sufficient for us to trust.

2.  Along those same lines, I believe the greater the grace, the greater the battle in our minds.  I'm sure these great examples of faith else could they have developed such faith...only through stress and resistance...remember?

3. In that light, I also believe that in these days, the enemy uses complacency, rationalization, and busyness to keep us out of God's word and away from His people, tools to counter the landmines we come across subtly...and daily.

So, those missionaries in Ecuador, believed God had a plan and trusted, threw all they had on His voice.  Only to end in tragedy?  Oh no, some of the wives returned, as did Steve Saint, the son of Nate Saint, who was only 4 when his father was killed.

If you don't think God has ALWAYS has a the murderer of Steve's father, Mincaye, and Steve himself, during an interview in 2007...about 5 minues.

Today I am grateful despite the battle in my mind, I NEVER have to rely on my own understanding of God's plan...just believe there always is one.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taking a Break for Simple Beauty

I thought on this freezing rain Monday I would take a break from my devotional series (one more week) and put up a couple of examples of my "homework" from my year-long class with Kim Klassen.  This is my second year with her...and life just wouldn't be the same if she and my groupies weren't together!

This layout/mosaic was "theoretically" to be done in Photoshop Elements 11...but the easy peasy method Kim showed us just doesn't quite add up in Windows (vs. a Mac program).  But we're going to continue to dig to work our away around it.

Simple Beauty

Instead, I used a technique in the Print module of Lightroom 4...still good, still fun!

The other technique for this week was how to accomplish a matte, misty finish in Lightroom 4.  What photo to use...

Today the weather is a little discouraging in northeast Ohio this close to the first day of I thought we all could use a little HOPE...

Hope, Joy and Peace

That's it for today...thank you for letting me share my photos...and my joy!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Discernment - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 7

Today...I have a freebie for you.  A college friend of mine posted this list on Facebook.

When I saw the list, I, what a great tool...a way to discern who I'm listening to.

I also thought this would be a good use of the chalkboard method I practiced here.

God's Voice - What it is and What it isn't

Feel free to download this from my Flickr account here for your personal use.

As I looked over the was obvious to me that the whole point of this battlefield of the mind is so that we become pre-occupied with ourselves...on us...instead of the God who has made us and onto others.  And as the enemy's abuse chips away our sense of self in Christ...we lose our joy, our focus, and our ability to enjoy the multiple gifts each day for which we should be exuberantly grateful.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Just In...The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 6

I hate to break it to you...but...the term, "no pain, no gain" is true...


I'm no expert on physical training, but I do know that the only way to build muscle is by pushing through resistance...


Ever start to work out and the next day you are S-O-R-E? Through persevering through the resistance, the muscle fibers are torn, and through the healing process the muscle is stronger than before.


In the early 1990s, the most expensive experimental failure known as Biosphere 2. Eight individuals were to live 24 months (September 26, 1991 - September 26, 1993) in an enclosed controlled mini-earth including a rain forest, an ocean, a coral reef, a fog desert, a savannah grassland, a mangrove wetland, human habitat, and an area for agriculture.

Cranberry Glades Wilderness

They found that the plants and trees grew faster, but they bent over; the wood was softer than they would if they were in their regular environment. WHY? No resistance...resulting in weak and immature trees. 

I Peter 5:10 (NLT) reads:

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

In our minds, when things become tiring, chaotic, even catastrophic...we are so vulnerable to the enemy and can be tested severely. We can become negative, complaining and ungrateful.

What I need to remember is that God uses all things for MY good and for HIS purpose. He is more interested in my refinement than my comfort.

If ever anyone had the mother of all battles of the mind in the Old Testament, it was Job, who God allowed him lose everything and gave Satan full reign to tempt him to curse God. But what did Job say?

But He knows the way that I take; when I have been tested, I shall come forth as gold.
Job 23:10 (NIV)

While I may be writing this to you, I am saying this to I so need to hear it.

Nothing comes into my life that does not sift through His hands first.

I am grateful for that assurance...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Choose Life - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 5

If you've been reading my blog for have read about our new addition to our family...Arthur! This 5-month old (today actually) started obedience school. What a trip! Arthur's not a small dog...he just has short legs. (SMILE)  That's true about all Pembroke Welsh Corgis!

That Face...

What I learned that first night is that it takes 42 days for a new habit to be developed...and it also depends on the breed. For humans it is 21 days. But for man or his best friend, it takes consistency, constant repetition, and practice-practice-practice.

When it comes to the thoughts that naturally come into our takes the developing of a habit to do otherwise. And, of course, it is the negative and blaming thoughts that slip right in. But we have a choice (I don't think if I were God that I would have been brave enough to give humans the capability to choose...I'm too insecure). However, we have been lavishly afforded the ability to choose. And with that power to choose, comes responsibility.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him for he is your life.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a

So we can choose to develop the habit of thoughts that are in line with God's character and what His word assures us...but part of that daily habit is reading His love letter to us on a regular basis...(and if you're REALLY serious, in addition to the above, you can add a rubberband to your wrist and smack it every time you are aware that you've just fell prey to your thoughts...laugh but this has been a technique used by therapists...)


And you part of loving my Arthur is training and socializing him. Part of loving him is ensuring that he follows me, so I can keep him safe...although as a herding dog, he is wired to drive and lead cattle and sheep. And so, what if, he leaves me a little gift on the carpet or occasionally doesn't respond when I say come (only looks at me with those big round black eyes)...he's learning, he's in training, he's maturing, he's growing...and none of that affects my deep love and commitment to him.

How much more does God love and embrace (there's my OLW) us?

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Nudge vs. A Club - The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 4

Let me show you what I learned this week in Beyond Beyond...  Chalkboard Art with photography!  Kim is so amazing and giving in sharing with us her wealth of knowledge.

So, I chose a quote to coincide with the Bible Study I've been sharing about this week:

Savour of Content

I know at times, more often than I care to disclose, I am tempted to throw in the towel, because all I can see are my failures as a Christian. I resolve to do something...and then I don't follow through...(you know the Gutter Ball illustration). And there goes the spiral...

Kind of like a lawn mower (non-riding, of course), the enemy pulls the cord to get the thoughts going...then I do the rest of the damage running things over and over.  I allow him a foothold just by giving him access to the rip cord!

Galatians 6:9 pleads with us:

Do not be weary in well doing, for in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (ESV).

That is the Spirit cheering us on...throwing us a towel or bottled water from the sidelines as He runs this marathon with us.

If ever you feel or sense that abusive tone of condemnation, of belittling, of gaslighting, of bantering, of accusing...THAT is the enemy's club attacking you in the battlefield of the mind. The Bible calls him the Accuser...I also like to add that he is the Abuser!!!!

How can this be the Spirit who says, "So now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." (Romans 8:1 - NLT)

And the same One who says:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you." (Isaiah 43:1b-2 - ESV)

So how do I discern between the two influences in my mind and heart? Go into an indepth study of the schemes of the dark side? No...remember Philippians 4:8 that says what we should be embracing and focusing our thoughts on? That which is good, right, pure, reputable, et al.

If I spend my time studying Who God is and His character...I will be able to identify when the voice I hear does not compute with the God I know and love. God persistently, but tenderly, nudges when he convicts one of His own...he loves us too much to not keep His commitment in Philippians 1:6.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

As I Think, I Am...(I think?) - Battlefield of the Mind - Day 3

Well, I used this verse in this post two days ago, but it has surfaced once again...

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7 
Misty Morning Cuppa thoughts, if dwelled upon, will become a self-fulfilling prophesy.  If I think about how overwhelmed I am at work, then I will feel overwhelmed, and then act that way with my tail draggin'.  If I keep dwelling on the time change and the gray, gloomy skies in northeast Ohio today, I will start feeling tired and then my behavior will be yawn, after yawn, after yawn.  If I dwell incessantly on the things I cannot control, I will become anxious and my behavior will be reactive to the developing anxiety that I've allowed to flood me.

Colour of My Thoughts

I love this example...if I start obsessing on ice cream, I will start craving ice thing I know, I'm in the car in my jammies off to Dairy Queen for a cone.

You laugh...but I actually did this once!  And I was at a stop light, with my prized ice cream cone, enjoying it...and my foot slipped off the brake and I rolled into the car in front of me.  OF COURSE...the lady had a brand new car and there was a little scratch on it.  I wrote her a check for $300 and was on my way.  That was one EXPENSIVE ice cream cone.

A Cuppa for your Thoughts
But...on the other side of the coin...the same is true.  And we all KNOW this, don't we?  And yet, we always end up in the negative end of the pool, if we are not vigilant with this battlefield between our ears.
I will admit...I am NOT a bowler.  (Although the first time I went bowling, I picked up a 7-10 split, and I fell on me bum...I did not even know that something like that was hard to do...)  But sometimes I view this path we travel like a narrow bowling lane with huge gutters on each side.
I start out great...
           the ball is going perfectly...
                   and then before I know it...
                             it gets close to the side....
                                         and you can guess the rest...
GUTTER BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I remember early October 2011...Edster and I spent 10 days in the grandeur of autumnal appalachia...Canaan Valley, West Virginia.  No schedule.  No pressures.  We like to read a book together on our vacations.  This one was One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
It was transforming!  The premise:  We are lavished every single moment of the day with amazing gifts from God that we fail to see because we fail to anticipate...and therefore do not meditate upon.
The theme of this blog comes from the line in the old hymn, "Morning by morning new mercies I see..." that comes from Lamentations 3:22-23:
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
So, just as that bowling ball...I was gung ho...searching daily...moment-by-moment...for things to add to my list of One Thousand Gifts and dwelling on continual gratitude was creating a noticeable difference in me that others observed.
But like that bowling ball...unless it is a continual discipline in our lives...even with our best intentions...even with how it starts out...without God's grace, well, I'll speak for me...I go back to being a GUTTER BALL...  And so I know this list MUST be a spiritual discipline.
Lord, may your Spirit be a citadel over this battlefield...and may I continue to see your new mercies every moment of every day and receive them with a grateful heart.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Battlefield of the Mind - Day 2 - True Freedom

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31b-32 (ESV)

This is not something I haven't read before...I have heard it all my life. But in the battlefield of the mind, it is the best weapon I know.

Bridge to Paradise

Jesus, in John 8, declares the keys to freedom:

1. Abide in Him. (now we don't use the word "abide" anymore in regular English venacular so what else can we use?) Let's try "reside" in Him or "stay" in Him. Hang out. Be joined at the hip with.  I love how the Message says it, "If you stick this out, living out what I tell you..."

2. Know the truth. Wow, that's a toughy. The truth, not versions of the truth. Have you listened to cable news. You'd think we were living in different countries when you compare network news to MSNBC, CNN, and Fox. The source of truth is living and active in God's word.

3. The truth will set you free. Freedom from all that binds me today will I hang out with God and read (and apply) His word.

This has a transforming effect...but it must be a daily discipline in my life.

I know in my own life, as a highly sensitive person, I do play a repertoire of negative tapes in my head that often feel like truth...first it is my voice parroting the tapes, then my parents, and then sometimes I hear God's voice parroting the same things...

This is not truth...but landmines in my battlefield. God only seeks to build us up and encourage us, even if it is in words of conviction. Our enemy desires to belittle and verbally abuse us, to the point that we are chipped away to nothing of any use...unless  we picking up God's word...the sword of the Spirit...and let Him defend me through it.

Help me today, Lord, to know the difference.