Emotions & Spiritual Warfare

Have you ever stepped back and listened to your thoughts? Have you been surprised by them and wondered where they were coming from? In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge wrote, “We are being lied to all the time. Yet, we never stop to say, “Wait a minute…Who else is speaking here? Where are those ideas coming from? Where are those feelings coming from?”

The Apostle Peter warned us “ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We have a real enemy, a cunning schemer, highly skilled in the art of combat whose chief goal is to destroy God’s children. But he is a crafty one, he knows if he were to show up as a dark, scary figure with a pitchfork we would immediately flee sensing danger. So instead, he is a master deceiver who uses our fears, hurts, and insecurities to influence our thought life. The enemy knows that if he can control our minds, he can control our emotions and behavior. His weapon is lies. When we believe Satan’s lies over God’s truth, it leads to faulty thinking and wrong behaviors that enslave our souls. Our defense is the truth of the inerrant word of God.

The Bible gives a detailed combat strategy for defeating the enemy. We are to pull down strongholds and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Simply put lies have become strongholds in our lives that speak death into our souls preventing us from walking in the fullness of Christ. Satan’s lies must be demolished and replaced with God truth. If your thoughts are telling you that you are not good enough, that you are unworthy, that you are ugly, that you will always live in fear, that you will never, heal, that you will always live in bondage, stop for one moment and ask yourself…”Whose voice am I hearing?” God’s word tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice and protects them from the thief who wants to destroy them. Our beloved Savior would never harm His sheep by speaking lies.

If you hearing that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

If you are hear that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

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Let Go of The Past

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.“ Phil 3:13

Many believers are able to let go of the past and live and thrive in the fullness of a new life in Christ. Sadly many cannot because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another. So instead of running the race with endurance – they limp along the way.

There are two types of emotionally wounded believers – The first turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms,-negative behaviors – addictions, immorality, anger, etc.

The second try to pull themselves up by the boot straps choosing to bury and rise about their past through self-efforts and busy themselves with many things including work, ministry, volunteer work, charities, always doing –  often out of a need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. The problem is they have never deal with the pain and believe that they are living free but are still living in bondage because deep inside they still believe the lies behind the pain.

Both are hurting, and both are in denial. They may have different coping mechanisms but one thing in common….they have never fully accepted the Grace of God into the deeply wounded areas of their hearts.

Both are hindered from living the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10

How do they move forward? The past must be dealt with in order to move forward. Burying it doesn’t work, stuffing doesn’t work, pretending it’s not there doesn’t work….sooner or later it unravels….the stuffing comes out in negative behaviors or even seemingly good behaviors, but at the root, there is something entirely different going on.

Give your hurts to Jesus. Stop running and hiding from the past. Let God heal your hurts and replace the lies with the truth of who you are in Jesus. Let go! Put the past behind, reach ahead and run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling on our life.

“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. “ Hebrews 12:1-2

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Child Verbal & Emotional Abuse

Think of a precious child. Maybe it’s your grandchild, a friend’s little boy, the little girl you teach at Sunday school which God leads you to lavish extra love on.  Now picture someone screaming  “You’ll never amount to anything!” “I wish you had never been born!” “You’re worthless!”  into their innocent little hearts. It’s unimaginable that people could hurt a child in such a way. Unfortunately, it happens every day in homes across America. And the wounds in the heart of that little child can last a lifetime. Maybe that child was you long ago.

Often because all the child knows is abuse they will be drawn to people in adulthood who will abuse them much in the same way where control is at the forefront of the abuse.  Angry threats like “If you leave me, I’ll kill you!” Or, “You and the kids won’t get a dime from me.” Both are examples of verbal and emotional abuse and are controlling tactics in abusive relationships

Abuse can also happen without a spoken word – it can be degrading looks, threatening stares, aggressive body language or other threatening behaviors. These actions are meant to inflict fear with great success leaving the person who is on the receiving end with emotional pain that stunts emotional growth.

In some circles even Christian ones, people don’t want to talk about emotions and when they are discussed the importance of emotional health and wholeness is minimized. Yet, we know that with deeply wounded people negative emotions are at the center of thinking, feeling actions, and poor choices.

Emotional abuse attacks at the core of a person’s value, crushing their confidence, and chips away at their self-worth, breaking their spirit in the process. God’s word says,

 

“A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries us the bones. “

(Proverbs 17:22)

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

(Proverbs 15:4)

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Emotional Healing

Many of God’s people are unaware that they have emotional wounds. Often they struggle with various negative behaviors such as excessive anger, addictions, feelings of rejection, the need to control situations, anxiety, and depression.  The struggles are symptoms of deeper rooted issues of emotional wounds and brokenness often causing people to put up walls between themselves, others and even God. Some even blame God or have difficulty believing that God loves them.

There are many causes for emotional wounds. Whether it be betrayal, a loss of a loved one, childhood abuse, abandonment, divorce, physical or emotional abuse, or a broken relationship. In order to heal, the pain must be acknowledged and dealt with.

Deep wounds can also affect relationships and choice of a marriage partner. They also distort and skew our natural God given gifts and abilities –

Truth distorted becomes deception.

Love distorted becomes codependency.

Passion distorted becomes obsession.

Hard working becomes workaholic.

Strong leaderships becomes controlling.

Excellence becomes perfectionism.

These traits will poison relationships, marriages and affect how children are raised.

The question is “Do you want to heal?”

You are not without hope. Never forget that our God is Jehovah Rapha – The God who heals. He restores what is broken, is able to change your destructive thought patterns, and give you an amazing life filled with hope, joy, and the abundant life Jesus came to give.

All you have to do is stop running from the pain of emotional wounds and start seeking the wound healer.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

 

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Ministry Happenings

I got to spend all day with these beautiful hearts at Beachside Summerfest 2017 this past Saturday in Huntington Beach.

It was a great time of ministry, fellowship, and outreach sharing the hope of healing the wounded heart through the love of Jesus, the TRUE COUNSELOR.  So blessed and thankful for the privilege to get to serve with these precious ladies who have a passion and compassion to minister to God’s hurting children. Love you ladies.

“I pray that out of our Father’s glorious riches he may continue to strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. “ (Ephesian 3:16-19)

 

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The Root of Negative Behavior

People even in the church can behave in very unloving and ungodly ways. They can act out in pride and holier than thou attitudes or lash out in anger, addictions, slander and malice towards others grieving the Holy Spirit in whom we were sealed. It’s easier to judge the sinful attitudes and behaviors on the surface without taking a step back and gain God’s perspective on the matter. But doesn’t Scripture tell us that God judges the heart and not the outward?

People don’t wake one morning with a hardened heart. What could have happened to an individual who acts out so negatively, rudely and hurts self and others? What kind of hurts are they carrying around inside? Please understand that whatever hurts are buried deep inside a hardened heart does not excuse the sinful behavior. God hates sin, and we are allowed to hate it too. Nevertheless, by peering into the heart of God and seeing things through His eyes, it will help us understand the reasons why people act out and will help us gain compassion and not personalize the sinful behaviors of others.

Painful wounds in our hearts can always be traced back to the effects of sin, whether our own or someone else’s. Disguising pain with either good or bad habits, or addictions create a vicious cycle of guilt and shame. Whatever the coping mechanism, until the root of the hurt is dealt with the wound will continue to fester allowing sinful negative behaviors to continue. God wants to heal your broken heart. No matter what you have been through, God is bigger than anything you have experienced or are experiencing now. No matter where you’ve been, what you have done or what has been done to you … the Master Healer, Jehovah Rapha, can transform your innermost hurts into conduits of His blessings. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can heal and restore you. He only asks one thing…”Do you want to be made well?” Healing is a choice.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.…”

Ephesians 4:30-32

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Healthy Love

People in love engage in healthy mutually satisfying give and take relationships. They want the best for each other and bring out the best in each other. They know that love requires sacrifice from time to time and they know what it means to die to self. They don’t expect the other person to fulfill all their needs because they understand that no human being is even capable of doing that only God can. Only His love truly satisfies. People in love are emotionally healthy individuals who find their value and worth in Christ alone not looking to others for self-worth and identity. True love brings forth life and grows deeper and stronger with time.

People in need operate out of a brokenness not wholeness. They attach themselves to unhealthy people who they think have the power to meet their desperate need for love, security, and significance. But because brokenness attracts brokenness they tend to draw emotionally unavailable people, who are often abusive, struggling with addictions or have an array of other issues, who do more taking than giving and are incapable of meeting even the basic of needs required for a healthy relationship. This causes a lot of pain and heartache and brings forth death and destruction resulting in extremely toxic and unhealthy relationships that only get worse with time. And yes! Even Christians can operate out of need instead of love. The church is full of hurting people involved in unhealthy relationships.

Are you in love or are you in need? If you are in the latter, understand that relationships will not work until you start operation out love. Sadly many Christians don’t truly understand what love is because they have never been modeled it, never have experienced it. They don’t know their value and worth as a precious child of God because their basic human need for love was not met growing up. So they take matters into their own hands and like the song says go searching for love in all the wrong places and settle for the counterfeit version that never satisfies.
Oswald Chambers wrote – “No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.” The love of God has the power to change us from the inside out. But there is a marked difference between knowing about the love of God and receiving it into our hearts. It is only when we truly encounter and accept the authentic, undefiled Agape love of our Savior that we are then able to “Love the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and love others as ourselves.” (Mark 12:30). This is the key to engaging in healthy mutually satisfying relationships. It’s the biblical formula that has the power to heal and transform and empower us to engage in love based not need based relationships.

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The Snare of Rejection

It’s been said that if you live for the acceptance of others, you will die from their rejection. If your sense of self-worth is based on the approval of others, your value is at the mercy of what others think about you. Your identity, who you are, how you see yourself is determined by how others see you and respond to you.

In our brokenness, we tend to give people a lot of power. People on the outside control my thoughts, feelings, and my will. They own me. I don’t know who I am, and I live in fear of failing to meet their approval and being rejected.

Only God is allowed to have control over our lives. We need to give our fear of rejection over to the Lord. He created us and established our worth. When we let His love pour into us, we learn to trust Him, and He will turn our fear into faith, and we will find full acceptance in the arms of our precious Savior.

If you believe that you may be living for the approval of others, evaluate the following statements and see if you identify with any of them.

”I am not good enough.”

“I have to try harder.”

“I have to earn love.’

“I flatter people so they will like me.”

“I have to be perfect.”

“I always feel less than.”

“I know what I think is not important.”

“I know that I am not likable.”

“I never feel like I belong.”

“I don’t measure up.”

If you can relate to any of the above chances are that there is a deep root of rejection driving your need for approval and acceptance from others. Please understand that just because you have been rejected in the past, you don’t have to walk in fear that you will be rejected again by others. We can be so crippled by the fear of being rejected that without realizing it we can push others away, or create situations where we will be rejected fulfilling a self-imposed prophecy which causes us to continue to believe lies about ourselves and feel alone and rejected.

 

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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence inflicts damaging effects not only on the abused but the children who witness it. They learn that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict and affects the family generation upon generation unless the cycle is stopped. Have you been affected by domestic violence? Please know this is never okay. If this is taking place right now, remove yourself and your children from the home and go to a safe place. There are many Christian and Non-Christian organizations that can assist you in leaving a violent home.

While the abuser is acting out on hurts of the past and needs God’s love and redemption, you are precious and valued, and you were not put on this earth to be abused. Pray your loved one gets the help they need and leave the door open for healing, restoration, and reconciliation. If they refuse to get help and choose to continue to engage in abusive and violent behavior, impose healthy boundaries to protect yourself and seek God. He will show you the next step. If you are truly seeking His heart and not your own personal desires or worldly advice, He will direct you.

Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by the opinion of others even well-intentioned Christian brothers and sisters, who quite often counsel abused women to submit to abusive husbands quoting verses on submission. You are not called to submit to sin. Seek the whole counsel of God …

“Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

” Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” (Colossians 3:19)

“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)

“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;  for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

“Love does no harm to its neighbor.” (Romans 13:10)

To submit to violence and put yourself and children in harm’s way is to go against the will of God because God’s will never goes against His Word.

Have you or are you engaged in a physically abusive relationship? Please get help and rest assured that you are not alone. Your faithful Father will never leave you and forsake you. There is help for your hurting heart.

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Christ Centered Counseling

There are a plethora of self-help books available offering various theories and approaches to dealing with the rooted issues of negative emotions and behaviors.

Modern day psychology is valuable in understanding the soul (mind, emotions, and will). This is the area that gets sick. The rooted systems in our life can make our souls extremely sick. A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer

A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer solution. However, since the solution offered is rooted in humanism and, therefore, manmade, there is no true long term healing that can occur. At best it can help change behavior, and give you tools for self-discipline, or positive thinking. That is not freedom.

There is no lasting victory because it does not deal with sin. It does not allow for the blood of Christ to cleanse us and change us. It merely puts a band-aid over symptoms. It may address anxiety, depression, outward manifestations and symptoms of deeper issues – but often the first solution offered is medication and never gets to the root. So people are not getting the true healing they are seeking.

As Christians, we know that only God has the power to heal us from the inside out and set us free. That is true victory. He doesn’t just change behaviors; He transforms, renews, restores, redeems and breaks the chains of bondage. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Isaiah also tells us that God is the “Wonderful Counselor.” John 14:6 says “the Holy Spirit is the Counselor.” Therefore, true freedom is found only by applying biblical truths to the wounds of our heart. Jesus is the balm of Gilead. He is the ointment that heals the wounds of God’s hurting children.

 

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