15/03/2019

The Devil Made Me Do It

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:32 pm by The Water Bearer

Have you ever reached a point of anger that has become uncontrollable? Has it made you act in ways you never thought you would?

Have you ever felt so much pain and fear that defensive protection mechanisms caused you to say terrible and hurtful things to people you love?

I sure have.

I do understand how powerful emotions can make us want to lash out. I lived it for the first 20 years of my own life. I blamed everyone around me for my own feelings of disappointment and anger, I accused people of being unloving if they failed to meet my ideals of what love should look like. I called people I love names like “F’ing Asshole” and “F’ing bitch” and pointed out all their failings with nastiness, and then I shared all of their misgivings with anyone who would listen. I wrote letters outlining all the reasons I felt mistreated, all the reasons they were wrong and I was right.

Worst of all, I believed I was justified. I believed my emotions were valid. I believed my behaviour was not as bad as what they had caused me to feel. I believed that they had asked for it, that they deserved it. I took zero responsibility for my emotional outbursts, and in return I expected and longed for close happy relationships.

The real trouble with blaming, accusing, name calling, put downs, backstabbing etc is that once they leave our mouths or are written and sent, they break the precious trust that is needed to be close in that relationship.

Each time we say these things we feel, and they are directed at someone as a personal attack, more trust is broken. Broken trust creates distance, division, stress, triggers, defensiveness and many mental health problems like anxiety, depression etc.

The only way to repair that broken trust is to own up to the nasty things said and done and truly apologise, to feel the remorse of having said and done these things to someone cared for. Truly feeling the remorse of becoming untrustworthy and not being as close as before, and to promise to try not to do it anymore, while accepting that they get to choose whether or not to give another chance. Then to do everything possible to alter feelings and behaviours so that the pattern stops happening.

It is very hard to break patterns of emotion like this but it is possible, with time, therapy, faith and techniques that build self-awareness. This whole blog Inner Angels and Enemies, is dedicated to empowering us to succeed.

Being held hostage by powerful emotions that push us to treat the people we love that way, is not how I wanted to live my life. I saw this pattern in myself and my family and I desperately refused to pass the curse onto my daughters. And for the last 20 years I’ve been working hard to break this cycle.

I had to realise that not all my emotions are valid, and there is a devil who can create emotions within me, I was his puppet and emotions were his strings. Then I would be his weapon against people and all I had to say was “its not my fault its how I feel”. But what we say and how we act is our responsibility, and yes there is more than enough grace to cover all our failings, yet God can’t forgive based on the excuses that our ’emotions made us do it’, which really means ‘the devil made me do it’.

However God mercifully forgives our confessions, which is when we’ve taken responsibility and showed true remorse.

It is the devil at play, but we can overcome the devil through Christ’s example and He will help us change and break the devil’s hold. So then it is possible to gain control over our emotions more and more. Its a constant war. This is the spiritual war. This is what its ALL about.

“These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures” Galatians 5:17

The constant battle within each of us between the devils powerful emotions, and God’s forgiveness and power over those emotions. So we can move into Freedom from all the devil’s games and find real lasting unity with others.

Selah!

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10/08/2018

Giving The Devil His Dues

Posted in Finding Faith, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:24 pm by The Water Bearer


We’ve believed for too long that evil lingers only in the shadows of the world and in wicked people, when the truth is far more difficult to accept.

My favourite quote from my favourite movie, The Italian Job, goes like this,

“I trust everyone, I just don’t trust the devil inside them” – Donald Sutherland.

This is my absolute favourite quote because it sums up so simply the hidden location of the enemy of God. A fact I’ve been intent on exposing ever since I can remember.

Whether we have figured it out yet or not, everyone has elements of divine righteousness within the fabric of their being, at the same time, everyone has elements of the exact opposite. Its in facing these elements within ourselves that we discover the problem with the world and the source of the solution. We can then direct the focus of our efforts in faith to the frontline of the war, instead of losing the war to ignorance and going about business as usual.

No longer can we sit by and point our finger out into the world, at the media, the terrorists, the dictators and the criminals and say “That’s the Devil”. It’s far too easy, and quite frankly its a cop out. Yes there is evil ‘out there’ but it’s in here too. Ignoring it, having a tantrum or complaining about it isn’t going to change the state of reality.

We live in a fallen world, and yes the enemy is doing everything he can to steer us into destruction, but since when have you been able to change the state of the entire world? So, why would God give us promises throughout the whole of scripture that we can overcome the enemy, if evil’s ‘out there’ and uncontrollable? Why would there be scripture’s reminding us that we can use the weapons available to us found in the Word to stand in victory and righteousness, if we are simply forced to be neighbours with ‘evil’ for our entire lives?

Fair enough, for those who haven’t found the gems of truth in the Word, I guess its easy to say “Its all a load of rot” and be done with it and go back to feeling helpless in an evil world.

However for those who have really experienced the amazing truth that God is trustworthy to fulfil His Word, then we have to stop passing the buck of evil onto others and finally give the devil his dues.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) 

That urge to control others instead of yourself, that’s him. That desire to decide for yourself what you would do if you were God, him again! That decision based entirely on selfish motives, that’s him too. The idea that we can pretty up our outsides with rituals and religiosity to be seen as righteous, that is his allure. That whisper of bitterness that focuses on the faults in others instead of asking what our role in the saga might have been, that’s got his name all over it. That fear that tells you you’re not worthy, or the arrogance that tells you you’re worth more than others, that’s his calling card. And the presumption of knowing enough scripture to then condemn and manipulate others, that is his ace card.

Scripture is the scalpel, it will reveal the hidden intentions of your heart and mine, but it is a deeply private affair. Facing up to our motives takes more courage than I can muster. The awareness of my own inner enemies is what keeps me thirsting for truth, grace and strength at the feet of my Saviour. In spite of the evil within, I can think of no better place to be.

 

 

26/11/2016

Spiritual Hacking

Posted in Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:59 am by The Water Bearer

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BREAKING NEWS….

We’ve all been spiritually hacked!!  

Check your protection software!

In my last post, I shared some thoughts on the need to perform a Spiritual Audit regularly, a self-assessment as to the condition of our hearts, our thoughts, our behaviour, and our relationship with God. This is especially valuable during times of suffering, because it supports our willingness to trust that God is using our suffering for our spiritual success and not as some form of twisted vengeance. Just as we give our computer a scan when it shows signs of not working correctly.

Are we afraid of the judgemental eye of the technician, wondering what we have been up to cause a virus to access our computer? Do we just ignore the virus out of fear of discovery?

Usually we see the technician not as someone to fear, but rather someone to detect the problem and give us the solution. Much in the same way as God can for us, through our spiritual audits.

Similar again to computers, a spiritual audit is required regularly, no matter how long we have been believers, and regardless whether we have had our sins cleansed once, or perhaps many times in the past. The reason for such scrutiny is because as long as we walk this earth we are exposed to sin. Sin has a viral effect upon the condition of the world through us, and the weakness of our flesh. We become exposed to sin, which creeps in between the cracks in our protective armour, makes itself at home and begins poisoning us from within. Just as the internet similarly carries maladies, sneaking under our radar, finding loopholes in our antivirus software.

The origin of sin is in our hearts and minds. Our minds are extremely clever at adopting thoughts, behaviours and habits into our subconscious nervous system, so that we need not have awareness of every single function. Scientific research shows that approximately 95% of our day-to-day functioning is directed by our subconscious rather than in our scope of awareness. That is a scary thought! For we are not as in control as we may like to think. This is a major reason as to why the spiritual audit is so vital.

Who remembers being told as a child “you are who you hang with”. This common saying has been a way for parents to warn children for many generations. Warning us that those we spend time with can influence us to think and behave like our friends do.

In order to understand how we have becomes spiritually hacked, and how these Inner Enemies of sin creep in, we can consider Brain Entrainment. “Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principles of entrainment appear in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, and more.” (Neuro programmer 3). Entrainment is a method utilised in group meditation, as our brainwaves settle into Alpha and Theta frequencies during meditation. These frequencies are transmitted among the group, syncing up with the brainwaves of all, and helping those who usually have trouble meditating on their own, to calm their mind and reach that highly sought after relaxed state.

Lets consider the enemies of sin whirring all around us, in the shows we watch, on the radio, on social media, in the music we listen to, the environment around us, and even in the behaviours and thoughts of the company we keep. Through entrainment our brainwaves pick up these rhythmic cycles and our brain chemicals can actually change to synchronize with them. We begin to have thoughts and beliefs we didn’t have previously, or begin to mimic behaviours without our conscious consent. We see evidence of this when women’s cycles sync up, or when we witness a hearty and contagious yawn.

These prolific enemies are not just aimless wandering entities of sin, these are determined villans, adversaries of God. Malicious and intentional. Our ignorance only encourages and empowers them. Infiltrating us and the world round us.

Self-awareness and the willingness to Spiritually audit ourselves, a close relationship with our Messiah through the Word, and the integrity of the armour of God, are our best form of antivirus! By developing the armour of God we can obtain the Helmet of Salvation and protect our precious minds from adopting the sinful influences of the world around us. In this way we do not need to avoid the world, nor withdraw from it and the abundance of sin, we can overcome it! Amen!

 

helmet-of-salvation

 

 

 

22/07/2012

Why So Fragile?**

Posted in Encouragement, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by The Water Bearer

A few years ago I read this statement by Author Lysa Terkerst and have tried to refer to it ever since.

“Don’t let the compliments of others go to your head, or their criticisms to your heart”

I failed to adhere to this advise recently, and it has become the foundation of a new level of perspective.

Having had a very successful couple of months of blogging, I have become somewhat ‘hyper-enthusiastic’, it has been so wonderful to see people all over the world reading my stuff, then even ‘liking’ some and giving such wonderful compliments. Yet I have fallen into a trap set for me by my inner enemies, I confess that I have come to rely on my ‘blog stats’ to verify the success of my calling. I can hear all the horrified ‘GASPS’ of shock. (*Wink) I imagine this is pretty common.

Unfortunately it is not as trivial as it may seem, nothing ever is with me!

This is dangerous territory, treading way too close to pride than I like to get. By no means can I take any credit for any of this success, I completely acknowledge all glory goes to the Lord for any ability He has given me to write. Besides people always like His stuff much better than anything I try to come up with on my own 🙂 I suppose it is simply that I have become overly animated by the evidence that He can use me.

A big element of my personality is an addiction to WORDS. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a very busy mind, often have many thoughts, words and ideas buzzing around inside my head and I am drawn into sharing these with others. Sometimes expressing them and seeing them more clearly brings tremendous benefit to my chaotic state of mind, other times I become manic and fear that my testimony may be damaged as I ramble on in a state lacking control.

I am also compulsive by nature and harbor much nervous energy. I used to smoke irregularly when my busy mind found an empty moment to kill, when I quit smoking I took up Facebooking, filling the spaces by automatically checking for notifications using the app on my phone. On a bad or slow day this simple act can get out of hand, so I knew I needed to once again take action. When I quit Facebook, I took up blogging. You see a pattern here? I am now constantly tempted to check to see – Who has viewed? Where were they? Did they ‘Like’ it?  “Does someone want to share ‘words’ with me?” All stemming from these long standing traits.

A month into blogging, this pattern began emerging (again) so as usual I went on a 3 day Fast. I didn’t go onto my blog site at all, didn’t check my ‘stats’, was determined not to read any comments or reply for 3 whole days! (Luckily God didn’t allow me to be tempted by comments during those three days, as my blog received none, He knows! Lol)

I have come to find that fasting something for 3 days, is extremely beneficial to our development of faith and victory in overcoming the habitual temptations of life. In times when either breaking a habit, or preventing one from forming, or simply going without something we enjoy for God, is a symbol of recognition that we need Him in our situation more. This is because 3 days is fairly achievable, and therefore we are less likely to break our promise and become self-condemning. 3 days is also long and difficult enough to need help to reach the promised goal. Every time the tempting thought pops up during this time, we can  acknowledge the promise we made, and ask God for Help, this breaks up the automatic train of thought. It invites Him into the situation and an army of angels are dispatched to our aid.

So even though I have fasted blogging a couple of times, I must admit that due to all the new experiences it has brought me, my state of mind has become even more excitable than usual and I have allowed the compliments of others to somewhat go to my head (or perhaps rather my hands).

Compulsive nature can be easy fodder for our inner enemy to form habits, dangerous ones that try to to push us off the narrow path. It brings a whole other side to the coined phrase “Idle Hands are the Devil’s plaything”.

Next came phase two, when I received a couple of blunt criticisms which I let go straight to my heart, deeply. I reacted badly, defended, felt guilty, then that old familiar fear began to rise up from the depths of my soul, pressing hard on my heart, it began to choke me, forming a lump in my throat, and by the time this fear got to my head I was lost and consumed by it.

The main focus of these criticisms:- my unruly mouth. A negative response to the easy and common temptation to think too much and share every thought in my head, especially during a bout of psychological ‘mania’. I am aware of this, I have been all my life, it has brought me great shame, I have prayed and confessed about this more than anything else. While I have seen much improvement during the years God has been changing and developing me, this is the one area of weakness that I experience the most regular and regrettable backward slips. Old habits do die hard!

Often the desire to force being different from the reality of who I am causes severe bouts of depression.

When I get attacked with a bout of depression like this a few things commonly happen. I doubt and condemn myself and confess it all to God, I believe the words of people I care about and respect so much that I ask God to help me become what they think I should be. At the same time I try to remind myself that this is how God made me, I need to love and accept myself, and that I need to work with Him to bring about any changes He is guiding me to make. It can become quite a confusing mixture of thoughts as I try to determine which ones I should listen to.

This inner to and fro can lead to thoughts of insanity which creep to the threshold of my mind, leaving me unable to trust a thought in my own head. Battling these types of psychological conditions causes mental fatigue, I refer to this as an emotional hangover’ , a few wasted days spent heavy and extremely sensitive. After this it is common to want to make up for lost time and I can become manic and go into overdrive to catch up and get ‘on top’ of things, only to fall short of my own expectations.

It is common to want to reach out to someone, needing them to help clear away some of the self-condemnation, however often human misunderstanding of spiritual or psychological systems can lead to badly timed good intentions which can clumsily handle a fragile heart. Now while I personally have found much support through professional therapists, they can not cover all the bases these situations require. Only God and His word know how to properly handle this type of vulnerability, so we need to reach out for Him in prayer.

These attacks soften the heart, making it fragile as it prepares to receive the new level of perspective and to break off old unwanted strongholds. Forcing a new level of complete submission to God, depending on Him for every thought and every action, begging Him to take the wheel and drive.

As usual I prayed for clarity and for sanity, I prayed for Him to keep a tight reign on my lips, I prayed for freedom and self-acceptance, I cried bitter tears of remorse, I asked for forgiveness, and I begged Him to meet me in my pit and rescue me.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”. Psalms 51:17 (ASV)

Within a few minutes of intense prayer at the time my heart was at it’s most fragile, I was sent comfort. First I received a pleasant surprise to distract me from my thoughts, a little later an unexpected, warm, lingering embrace and a confession of Love. The next day a special family evening, spent sharing ‘words’ with those I love and cherish most on this earth. Then a days break, a day alone to listen to soothing music and allow me to begin to collect my thoughts. Hallelujah!

Since all this has really taken it out of me I have taken some much needed R&R, which you may have read about in my recent post A Fragile Heart.

When we obey and make steps to fulfill our calling we open ourselves up to the inner enemies attacks to try and put us off track. This may come in obvious ways  through physical circumstances such as a verbal attack from someone unexpected, perhaps burning your hand or cutting a finger while cooking dinner, or disturbed sleep from petty annoyances, perhaps just an unruly household with everyone in a ‘mood’, rubbing each other in the worst ways. Sometimes the enemies attacks can come through more subtle ways, through temptation, or creating a fearful mindset, through psychological weakness, or a moment of confusion at the expense of your faith. These are his scare tactics, hoping we will not follow through in obedience, and you can be sure that if we do continue on the obedient path we will see some of these attacks result afterwards as well. This is the enemies backlash in retaliation to any ground we may have made toward God.

Yet this is the war we are in, and when we are obeying the Almighty and keeping our hearts open to Him, He gives us comfort through faith by knowing He will be victorious. We are on the winning side even if the evidence all around may appear bleak. Depend on His strength when you are weak, find comfort in knowing you are Loved no matter what lies the enemy or the world tells you. And be prepared to suffer and to grow, and to rest and to fight again and to succeed, then suffer and grow, then rest and then fight and then succeed ……..and so on and so on….. Until this war and life as we know it ends, and we are finally free from this battle, changed by Him forever. When the enemy loses all influence and Righteousness Reigns into ETERNITY!

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