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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Rejection And Trusting God’s Love

People who grew up in a home where the seed of rejection was planted have a difficult time trusting God.  They transfer the negative characteristics of their caregivers unto God believing that they will never measure up, are not worthy to be loved, and are convinced that God would never approve of them.

If their earthly father rejected them, or if their mother was untrustworthy, if people in authority who were supposed to love and protect them hurt them, then God will reject them and is untrustworthy. That is a lie. God wants to replace the lies that were planted and replant the word of truth into your soul.

Get to know God’s character and His immense love for you through His word. Claim God’s promises for your life. The heart of your Heavenly Father is for you to know the truth so that you will be set free.

 

“ I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

Jeremiah 31:3

 

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”

1 John 3:1

 

“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.”

Leviticus 26:11

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

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Physical Effects of Negative Emotions

Just like our bodies can get physically sick and impair our physical functions, our minds can also get sick and can alter our feelings such as anxiety, depression, etc. Sadly, we live in a culture that labels everything a physical disorder because then we can apply physical healing by medicating. So often the symptom is treated without getting to the root. Physical conditions are real but more often than not are an effect and not the cause of the underlining problem. Modern medicine fails to recognize that often physical symptoms can be linked to negative emotions. When a person becomes spiritually and emotionally healthy, these issues often go away.

Dr. Carolyn Lear author of “Who Switched Off My Brain” has found correlations between our thought life and physical and emotional illness. When you feel sad, afraid, angry or hopeful, your brain releases different types of chemicals. Depending on whether or not these emotions are toxic to your body, the chemicals will either help you or harm you. If they are harmful, they create conditions for a host of health problems that will manifest in both the body and the mind.

Emotions that regularly release a torrent of destructive chemicals that will be the most damaging over time – unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, depression, worry, anxiety, frustration, fear, excessive grief, and guilt.  Research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% of the diet, genetics, and environment. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections, and allergies, just to name a few. Some Examples:

Joy

When you are at peace, chances are you are experiencing joy – your body produces endorphins, serotonin – these are the feel-good chemicals. These produce pleasure. This is conducive to an overall system of well-being, vitality, and health. This is positive.

Anxiety & Fear

These destructive emotions will cause the body to release harmful chemicals such as the stress hormone CRH and ACTH. These hormones race to the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline which cause extreme physical symptoms, heart palpitations, and breathing difficulties. Serotonin and endorphin levels can deplete which cause severe depression

All these emotions primarily begin with a thought, which if not taken captive can lead to negative and toxic thinking resulting in the release of the negative chemicals which in turn can result in a host of physical ailments.  That’s why it is essential to rid ourselves of the contaminated belief systems that may have taken root throughout our life affecting our emotional life and relationships. Faulty belief systems are strongholds that have built up in our minds that must be demolished. How do we do that? We go to war against them. God’s word says….

”For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Every negative thought, belief system, and lie must be replaced with truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)  We do not have to live in bondage to a hurtful past or negative emotional life.  No matter our past experiences we can live a life of abundance in Christ. Give your burdens to Jesus. He is faithful to heal you from the inside out and give you rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30)

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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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Prayer for Emotional Healing

Holy and Heavenly Father God,
I pray that today and every day You will partner with me in a thorough examination and cleansing of my heart…reveal, heal and deliver me of all the strongholds I am bound by in my life.

LORD, please expose with Your Truth and Light all the pain, fear, shame, guilt and sorrow that is hidden within dark places of my heart…all the things that prevent me from living a life of freedom, peace and joy that come from a transparent relationship with You.

Father, please show me how to come before You in faith, trust, obedience and submission …and in this exchange, please reveal to me all the lies I have received and believed in my life…partner with me in replacing my deformed belief system with Your Word and Your Truth, which is infallible and endures forever.

Teach me Your Ways, LORD, and show me how to find freedom in forgiveness of self and others…to embrace myself as a new creation…to put away the former things and live each day in the way You designed and ordained long ago…and to see myself through Your eyes, as Your precious child and joint heir with Christ in Your Kingdom of Heaven.

Show me, LORD, how to receive Your Fatherly Forgiveness, Great Grace, Limitless Love and Marvelous Mercy…lead me to bathe in the peaceful, still waters of renewal and sanctification…anoint me with Your Holy Spirit until my cup runs over.

Write a new story on my heart, LORD…one born of The Holy Spirit and guided by the power of Your redemption and restoration…please bless and comfort me with a holy wholeness of healing that is only possible through You, Jehovah-Rapha, my LORD Who Heals.

Abba Father, I praise You for all that You Are, yesterday, today and tomorrow, and pray all these things in the Name of my Savior, Jesus Christ…

Amen.

“Be of good cheer. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”  (Luke 8:48)

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Family God’s Design

The family is of monumental importance to God and extremely influential in shaping the hearts and minds of children.

When a home has genuine Godly characteristics, and the foundation is built on Jesus Christ, the byproduct is going to be love, grace, identity, security, and significance. However, when a family is built on anything other, it’s going to be unstable and unsafe and will produce shame, fear, guilt, neglect, and abuse: unmet needs that cripple children emotionally, into adulthood.

What is poured into the soil of our hearts, then, determines the health of our roots; or, our beliefs; which affects how we view ourselves and the world around us.

The nourishment we receive is going to have a huge impact on our tree of life. If we are nourished in God’s light, we will receive the breath of life and believe that we are precious, valued children of the living God; but, if all we receive is darkness, we are going to believe what darkness breaths: lies about ourselves and others.

Despite your background or the family heritage you received, you can be the one who applies faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ that brings healing to the hurts that have plagued your family. Choose life! Plant seeds that produce a legacy built on the redemptive love of Jesus.

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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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Do You Want To Be Made Well?

It’s easier to stuff pain inside, wear a painted smile and pretend that everything is okay, but masking issues of the heart only perpetuates our hurts.

Eventually, undealt issues spring up and defile all areas of our lives including relationships. Inwardly our souls are crying out to be healed. At some point, we may grudgingly seek help. However, it is essential to understand that in order to be healed we must be willing to be healed no matter how painful and difficult the journey.

Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 “Do you want to be made well?” This is the pivotal question for every person seeking healing for emotional wounds. The simple truth is that not everyone wants to be made well. They may start off eager with the best intentions, emotionally feeling that they cannot go on another day, but at the end of the day, do not want to be made well, and those who do not want to get well are not going to get well.

Why would I not want to walk in the freedom from the bondage that Christ set me free from? F-E-A-R! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of what may be uprooted and exposed, fear of pain, fear that we may have to give up (someone or something); Or we may not be desperate enough yet.

Perhaps we have grown comfortable in our dysfunction and are comfortable in a victim role. We may not have reached a breaking point yet where we face losing someone we love, such as a spouse, or a relationship, maybe even a job, our freedom, and in our minds – we tell ourselves as bad as our current situation is – “it’s not as bad as so and so’s”, or at least we know how to respond, or how to continue to do life and even serve in ministry. However, we are putting on the painted smile while living in a prison in our own mind. But make no mistake…It is never God’s fault. If we do not want to embark on the journey and “be made well” – we won’t get well. Healing is a choice.

If you are in a place where you are desperate enough to get help and want to be made well, then I pray that nothing will hinder you from getting the healing that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

DO YOU WANT TO BE MADE WELL?

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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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The Ripple Effects of Bitterness

“Bitterness is like a rock thrown into a placid pond; After its initial splash it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with.” (Pastor & Dr. Chuck Lynch)

People hurt, mistreat, abuse, abandon and betray us.

God sees and validates our pain. But he also tells us to pursue peace so that we do not fall short of His grace and let bitterness take root to defile us.

Bitterness comes when we hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. It affects everything around us and causes us to have a hardened heart. We can even take on a victim mentality where we feel constantly wronged by others. It will pollute our overall view of the world and affects how we treat people.

No matter what we are not entitled to our sinful responses to how others have hurt us. Doing so only causes separation between God, ourselves and others. We can’t change people or make them see the error of their ways but God can. But we can take our wounded hearts, bitterness, and unforgiveness to the one who has shown us how to love mercy instead of demanding justice.

Bitterness hinders repentance and forgiveness in relationships. The cure for bitterness starts with our hearts. It’s not something we do flippantly or dismissively without considering the cost of the sin committed against us, its effects and the wounds left behind.

Ask Jesus to help you process the hurts and choose to forgive. You will then have a beautiful gift to offer others – true forgiveness from the heart. A heart that says what you did to me hurt me deeply, but I choose to forgive you and release you from a debt you cannot repay just as my precious Jesus forgave me and released me from mine.

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