Do You Pass by on the Other Side?

Today, do Christ-followers have the Godly yearning to love our “enemies” as Christ loved us when we lived ungodly?  With our current attitudes, how do we fulfill the great commission which includes our local communities, the city we dwell, the state we live, the country of our nationality, and then the rest of the world community.  Will we be able to bring to fruition our calling while expressing haughty looks, separatist views, and derogatory attitudes? 

Jesus tells us in the great love verse that His wonderful salvation is available to the “whosoever’s” in this world.  John 3:16, “For God so loves the world, He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Who is going to tell these “whosoever’s” about Jesus?  If you guessed “you and me”, you are correct.  Are you available to do that or have you segmented yourself from “that crowd”? 

Jesus had an unbelievable discussion with a Jewish attorney who asked Him, “‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’  Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ 27 And the attorney answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ 28 And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live’” (Luke 10:26-28).  This Biblical passage should be the very heart of a Christ-follower. 

As Jesus continued the dialog (Luke 10:29-37), the lawyer asked Him, Who is my neighbor? 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”  Much like the Priest and Levite, I ignore the needs of others in our dark, hurting world and “pass by on the other side”.  Is your behavior like mine?

Isn’t the attitude of the Priest and the Levite nauseating?  It’s time for us to walk as the good Samaritan did on the side of the road where the hurting and disadvantage reside and be Jesus to them.  Let’s stop “passing by on the other side.”

If you have intentionally reached out to care, comfort, and share with a non-Christian, please register a comment on the Barnabas Man site, and I will pray for you.  Please do the same for me. 

Shrink Wrapped

Today, there are a number of gifted folks who are burned out with life, disappointed, discouraged, and marginalized to the sidelines no longer on the playing field.  Many have been deceived by something that was said or written by an ungodly or misinformed person.  Others have been falsely accused by a loved one or an associate with the mental/emotional impact similar to a devastating bullet tunneling within their mind.  Some have been bullied and maybe even humiliated by the insensitivity of personal agendas.  Often, manipulative people who candidly don’t care how you feel prey on your vulnerable mind. A number have lived in the world of depression seemingly without hope surviving one day at a time.  If you are bitter and defeated and have “shrink wrapped” your world and goals because of harsh, ever present anxieties, I am going to ask you to consider two things.

First, read Proverbs 18:1 and understand what this means for your life, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”  I spent 30 years in self-isolation from ministry and goal orientation ashamed of being buried in the darkness of depression not wanting anyone to know how bad off I was spiritually.  Living a “shrink wrapped” life severely reduced my effectiveness towards others by being mentally and emotionally enslaved. Those years were multiple cycles of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  Finally, I found hope versus the ever-present emotional and mental eclipse. A Life Group leader who had patiently earned my trust challenged me to get involved in a ministry mentoring young couples before they were married.  God started working in me and using me.  I came out of my self-imposed cave by B-E-L-I-E-V-I-N-G T-R-U-T-H and S-P-I-T-T-I-N-G O-U-T L-I-E-S and started to cut through “the strands of a mental/emotional spider web.” Once, I started breaking free from unsound self-judgment, I became enCOURAGED

Please start taking the steps to free yourself from self-isolation.  “Chew on” the following verses, and they will guide you.  Matthew 11:28-30 tenderly calls us, “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.”  You will never regret being yoked to Jesus!

Second, allow someone to help you to heal.  Galatians 6:1&2, “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness… Bear one another’s burdens.”  Romans 15:1&2, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”  Give a trusted Godly person the opportunity to support your restoration. Each of you need a patient, tender hand from someone who is healthy, whole, and real.  Be transparent. 1 Peter 5:6&7 is clear, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

“Shrink-wrapped” is diametrically opposite of what we should be experiencing in Christ.  Jesus declares to Christ-followers, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Paul the Apostle testifies about the enabling power of the Holy Spirt in your life, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” It’s time to get out of the dark cave of isolation.  Allow God who is patient and trustworthy to shine His light in the crevices of your soul cleaning up the debris from years in darkness.  Jesus tells us in John 8:32, “Abide in my Word, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Freedom based on the authoritative truths in the Word of God is powerful and liberating…no longer “shrink-wrapped!”

Do You Enjoy Being Lavished On?

All of us love to be lavished on.  It may be a verbal thing that occurs when someone embellishes us with praise and accolades.  Some of us may greatly enjoy being lavished on with riches.  Others plan our year around luxury cruises or exotic locations whose staff is focused on lavishing us with comfort and food abundantly above our needs.  I won a five day awards trip to a seven star hotel called Burj Al Dubai.  Pam and I were lavished on 24X7.  She loved every minute of it, whereas I felt smothered.  Their staff was attentive down the smallest details.  My dear wife relished this experience!

Here are some words associated with lavishgenerous, bountiful, excessive, posh, sumptuous, gorgeous, lush, swanky, luxurious, extravagant, grand, ritzy, exuberant, plush.  The flesh part of our being loves to be lavished.

So does the spiritual part of our being…Jesus’ love and grace are described as “lavish”:

·       1 John 3 1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  We are the children of God.  He has put us in a position by His Son’s death on the cross to know Him personally and be lavished on by His “great love.”

·       Ephesians 1 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ…In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”  This passage says that we have been:

o   Redeemed through His blood

o   Blessed with every spiritual blessing

o   Forgiven of sins

o   Lavished on by the riches of God’s grace.

However, many of us have “gone mental” dealing with the triple H’s (habits, hang-ups, and hurts) along with FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) allowing thought negativity to drag us down.  Others of us are caught up with climbing the corporate ladder driven to grow personal stature willing to sacrifice our family spending days and days away from them feeding personal egos. Many are caught up with addictions whether it be substance or porn.  We are letting the things of this world dominate us.  1 John 2:16 spells it out, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life come not from the Father but of this world.” 

 We have been duped by the master masquerader, the devil himself leaving an abundance of blessings unclaimed.  Hebrews 12:1&2 tells us exactly what to do, “let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

 God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).  He wants to “lavish on” you. Will you let Him?

“Deny Yourself”, a Harsh or a Compassionate Demand?

Seemingly, Luke 9:23&24 are harsh words, “Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”  Let’s look at these verses from the back to the front. 

“Gain(ing) the whole world” seems awesome to us…right?  You may highlight the memorial ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II, “Global recognition with such pomp and reverence.  Who wouldn’t want to have that level of status!?” No disrespect to the former Queen and the good deeds that she performed during her life, but 1 John 5:19 paints another story, “the whole world (and its system) is under the control of the evil one.”  Here’s the deal.  She died at 96…nothing in this world is permanent.  Behind the doors where she lived, there has been a “royal family” full of strife, divorce, and hypocrisy in a world of hatred, fear, distrust, anger, selfishness, and narcissism…man hating and killing man for their own glory. Why is this? The devil dominates this world with a goal “to steal, kill and destroy” John 10:10.

Recognizing the personal anxiety, confusion, and strife that we constantly experience in our crazy, messy, egotistical world, Jesus demands us in the verses above to deny (yourself) and take up your cross daily and follow me.”  His words seem to be so harsh and unfair! What an audacious request! But is it?  On the surface, these words seem incredibly unjust.  Actually, they are compassionate, insightful words.  Jesus is not saying for us deny things to ourselves.  He is telling is to die to self and live for Him.  Christ is crying out to us to deliver us from this world with its hollow agenda.  Wholeheartedly, follow Him as Lord (“lose your life for me that it will be saved). His desire for each of us is to live a life of permanence, peace, purpose, love, and unselfishness focused on Jesus.

When you bottom line the vast differences between the world in the domain of the devil versus eternal life in the kingdom of God, it becomes crystal clear why Jesus is so demanding.  Let’s look at the contrast:

Galatians 5:19-21 lists for us the things found in this world, The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”  Ugly but so true!

Now, look at Galatians 5:22&23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”  Life in the fullness of the Spirit.

The contrasts between what this world offers, and the “fruit” delivered by the Holy Spirit are worlds apart!  The devil is such a master deceiver!  When Jesus says for us to “deny ourselves, and take up His cross daily,” please realize that He is enabling and guiding us towards eternal life in the sphere of His love delivering us out of this temporary world of sin.

1 John 4:9, This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

The One-legged Apostle with the Other Foot Always in His Mouth

Dr. Neil Anderson, in his September 5th “Daily in Christ” devotional gave the following summation: There are three options how you respond with your emotions. You can choose to suppress your emotions ( cover over them, ignore them, or stifle them), respond by thoughtlessly lashing out called an indiscriminate expression, or you can peer inside to see what’s going on. That’s called acknowledgment.  On September 6th, 7th, and 8th, Dr. Anderson details each of these responses.  Below are the remarks he makes regarding the “indiscriminate expression”:

James 1:19&20, Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God

An unhealthy way to respond to emotions is to thoughtlessly let it all hang out, to tell anybody and everybody exactly how you feel. The apostle Peter is a great example of indiscriminate expression. Peter was the John Wayne of the New Testament–a real door slammer. He had no problem telling anyone what was on his mind or how he felt. I like to refer to him as the one-legged apostle because he always had one foot in his mouth.

Peter’s impulsive nature got him into trouble more than once. In one setting, he was the spokesperson for God, and Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). Then moments later he spoke for Satan, and Jesus had to rebuke him: “Get behind me, Satan!” (verses 22, 23).

It was Peter who missed the point on the Mount of Transfiguration by suggesting that they build three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah and the Master. It was Peter who impulsively whacked off the ear of Caiaphas’ servant during Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane. And it was Peter who promised to follow Jesus anywhere, even to the death, then swearing only hours later that he never knew Him. The fact that Peter became a leader in the New Testament church is evidence of the powerful transformation effected by the Holy Spirit.

Indiscriminate expression of emotions may be somewhat healthy for you, but it may be unhealthy for others. “There, I’m glad I got that off my chest,” you may say after an outburst. But in the process, you just destroyed your wife, husband, or children. Paul admonished: “Be angry, and yet do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). If you wish to be angry and not sin, then be angry the way Christ was: Be angry at sin. He turned over the tables, not the money changers.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me to express myself in a gracious way so I don’t hurt others especially those closest to me as I seek emotional release.

Jesus Infrequently Gets Invited to Your Daily Mental Parties

Multitudes of us surrender daily to ungodly, spiritual strongholds that have overpowered our emotions. Frequently, many of these strongholds have influenced our behavior for years.  We become so familiar that we end up cozying up to them.  Erroneously, we give in to these strongholds and pronounce “that’s just who I am.”  

Don’t ever personalize the stronghold that has overpowered you by using 1st person possessive “my…” (i.e. my depression, my porn…).  When you do, it solidifies and integrates the stronghold as part of your identity. These horrible, untruthful thoughts become your daily companions.  Truth never prevails in your mind!  Jesus, the Father of Truth, infrequently gets invited into your daily mental parties as you host anxiety, depression, and demonic thoughts.  The more familial your condition becomes, the less the possibility that healing ever occurs.

Often, other people label individuals by their stronghold.  “Rick’s a depressive person.”  “Girls beware, Billy has one thing in mind, S-E-X.”  Daily, he snuggles up to his stronghold by feeding his daily porn addiction. Folks realize that Suzie’s a pathological liar even though she cannot or will not admit to it.  Sally is a negative, dark person.  Others don’t realize that she carries guilt from sexual promiscuity earlier in her life. Becky and Bob are much like Sally.  Their noticeable “heaviness” comes from grimy sexual abuse they experienced when overpowered as youngsters by a family member and a neighbor, terrorized if they ever admitted it.  Folks observe Becky and Bob’s poor self-images not realizing that they have not been able to forgive their assailants and feel dirty and weak to this very day.  Frank and Mandy are drunks and continue to feed their stronghold because they “need it”.  People observe Rebecca’s overbearing bitterness and the accompanying vitriolic behavior. Be careful with labels you place on others.  They become very hurtful and unhealthy.

Please, don’t give up or give in to “your” stronghold.   Jesus is able to take every dark thought in your mind and bring deliverance.  2 Corinthians, 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Colossians 2:15 and the prior verses declare how Jesus at the cross makes your victory clear, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”

Don’t hesitate to attend a recovery ministry.  You don’t get well by yourself.  Discover other people have issues as dark and ugly as your very own.  I suggest ReGen.  If ReGen is not hosted in a church nearby, search for Celebrate Recovery.  You need a community of people who are recovering themselves.  They will hold you accountable, and you will do likewise for them without judgment or criticism.  If you are able, locate a Godly Professional Counselor. They will shorten the length of your recovery. 

Get up and get going!  It’s time for deliverance from the strongholds in your life…

Stop the Insanity and Start the Journey…

We all know the street level definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  Pam and I see insanity almost every day in personal lives, marriages, and families.  We see the same behavior and habits practiced day after day, and people have the insane idea that things will change for the better.  Ain’t happening!  Things won’t change without something fundamentally occurring in lives to change the insane loop they are on.

We see a depressing example of “insanity” in John 5:1-5, “Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.”  In this story, a crowd of handicap people daily made their way to a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda with the superstitious belief that an angel periodically would stir the water.  Once stirred, the first person in the water would supposedly be healed.  Let’s face it, it was a discouraging place for a community of disabled to hang out day after day without hope of being healed…insanity

One of the “pool dwellers” helplessly had been sick for thirty-eight years.  This man was incapable.  Even if the superstition came true, it was physically impossible for him to be the first one in the pool.  Insanity, and he does this daily! 

H-O-W-E-V-E-R, something or should I say, “Someone”, changes the narrative.  Verse 6 tells us what happens, When Jesus saw (the invalid of 38 years) lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  Jesus does what He almost always does.  In a crowd, He encounters an individual personally.  Often these people are hopeless, helpless, and broken-hearted, impossible to help themselves.  Learning from others about the man’s physical condition of thirty-eight years, Jesus engages this man, “Do you want to get well? Sir,’ the invalid replied (in verse 7), ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”’  For 38 years, he desires healing without any hope of getting into the water first…I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y!  “Then (in verses 8&9) Jesus says to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.’” Desiring to be healed, he responds immediately to the command of Jesus and starting walking.

Do you feel like the invalid of 38 years above?  Day after day you live a life of drudgery with little hope.  If so, the good news for you is Jesus loves the broken-hearted, the depressed, and the helpless.  Psalm 34:18 declares, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  He will heal you. Stop the insanity and start the journey with Jesus today.

Spoken Words Measure the Condition of Your Heart

Man, I would pay hundreds of dollars to have some of my spoken words back. If you are like me, there are a number of relationships that have been damaged by your words.  Often, I think that I am being funny but have discovered from others that I’m not!  I have hurt my wife, my kids, even my sweet grandkids, family, dear friends, and people who may have become close friends if not for my insensitive words.  Perhaps, you identify with me regarding upsetting, unkind, malicious, hurtful, offensive spoken words.

Jesus made some staggering comments about the origin of words in Matthew 12:33-37,  33 Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

  • It becomes obvious that the condition of your heart determines the value of your words.  Verse 34 states, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  Then, verse 35 emphasizes this by stating, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”  If you speak hateful, malicious, lying words, it is because your heart is evil and in need of repair.  Spoken words are an accurate acid test of the shape of your heart.
  • Jesus throws a verbal punch that is flooring in verses 36 and 37, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  OUCH! Your spoken words are eternally impacting. 
  • Verse 33 gives you a summary that each of you must heed and understand, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” 

The “heart” of Christianity is all about relationships…loving God and having compassion for and sensitivity to others.  The impact of your spoken words to those around you measures the condition of your heart.

Proverbs 4:23&24 describes what’s required from you, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.”  If is essential for each of us to keep our heart pure and good.  How do we do that?  Proverbs 4:20-22 tells us how, My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.”  Marinate your heart with God’s Word. His Word becomes a healing scalpel that makes you whole.  Once this is done, your words become a blessing to God and others.

Cleaning Up the Debris Left by the Rings of Your Life

I have heard and seen the following illustration used twice.  Once, in a sermon by Mike Breaux who spoke in our church, and the below in italics, taken from a book entitled Healing Damaged Emotions by David A. Seamands.  If you visit the western United States, you will see the beautiful giant sequoia and redwood trees.  In most of the parks, the naturalists can show you a cross section of a tree they have cut, and they will point out that the rings of the trees reveal the developmental history, year by year.  Here’s a ring that represents a year when there was a terrible drought.  Here are a couple of rings from years when there was too much rain.  Here’s where the tree was struck by lightning.  Here are some normal years of growth.  This ring reveals a forest fire that almost destroyed the tree.  Here’s another of savage blight and disease.  All of this lies embedded in the heart of the tree, representing the autobiography of its growth.

That’s the way it is with you.  Just a few thin layers beneath the protective bark, the concealing and protective cover, are the recorded rings of your life

Lying within you is the “rings of life” which reside in your unconscious mind.  They are mental and emotional recordings from experiences that produce hurt, fear, shame, guilt, emotional damage, rejection, failure, abandonment, abuse, physical injury, addictions, mutilation, etc. and can be excruciating memories. 

Once born again spiritually, you are forgiven from all your past, present, and future experiences and are made brand new spiritually.  2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, “If anyone is in Christ, s/he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  You become a new person spiritually. God invades your life in the spiritual part of your being gaining access to your heart, the very core of your being.

This does not mean that He reprograms your mind.  Your past hurts, brokenness, addiction, and wounds are housed in your unconscious mind remain alive and active. Even though forgiven, these experiences have a mind of their own and continue to squawk, scream, moan, worry, lust, fear, and cry.

In Philippians 2:12-13a, Paul the Apostle tells us, “My dear friends, as you have always obeyed, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”  “Working out your salvation” is obeying the Lord permitting Him to clean up the debris from the rings of life that still reside within you.

Here is the good news.  God has not left you alone.  He lives in your heart to heal, comfort, and resolve the hurts from the “rings of life.”  The Holy Spirit, called by Jesus “The Comforter”, takes residence in your heart. Step by step he begins the meticulous process of helping you work out and disentangle “anxious thoughts” as He goes. Romans 12:2 states it this way, “Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 

Acts 1:8 says that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”  The Greek word translated “power” is the word dunamis, the origin of our word, dynamite.  In other words, the power you have from the Holy Spirit can blow up the negative, hurtful emotional, mental, demonic strongholds in your life.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us that “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.”   Demolishing arguments and pretensions clean up the “rings of life” that give you problems.

Two quick things. 

  • Read, memorize, and mediate on scripture daily.  Spiritual dynamite resides in these pages.
  • Never hesitate to consult a Christian Counselor.  Most of these folks can give you wise, liberating and most importantly, truthful guidance.

Time to clean up the debris left by the rings of your life.

Let Truth Drive the Bus not Deceitful Perceptions

The mindshare for today’s devotional came from Dr. Neil Anderson.  His thoughts are in italics.  I hope that God will grow and/or sort you out as you read.

Proverbs 23:7, “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”

Telling someone that they shouldn’t feel the way they do is a subtle form of rejection. They can do little about how they feel. The real problem is that they have a wrong perception of their situation which is making them feel the way they do. You can’t change how you feel, but you can change what you think.

For example, I had a crazy schedule which forced me to work all day on Saturday…the very day my college football team played against my dreaded rival.  Being a GA Tech grad, my “hated” rivalry is University of Georgia.  Sting those Dawgs!  What if after finishing my work at the office, I received a call from a friend who stated Tech got beat again 28-14.  Candidly, I would be depressed with another poor performance from my alma mater.  In matter of moments, my emotions would take me to the bottom!  I decided not to check my voicemail or receive phone calls…no need to get into a deeper level of despair.  I had already become discouraged on my own…I didn’t need others piling on with glum comments. Because of my negative emotions, I stewed all the way home in depression.

As soon as I opened the door at home, Pam shouted out with great excitement, “CONGRATULATIONS!  WHAT A WIN FOR THE YELLOW JACKETS.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT YELLOW JACKETS BEAT THE DAWGS 28-14?!  GO TECH!!”  Wait a minute, you mean that I have been despondent over the last couple of hours for nothing.  I emotionally perceived that we lost again.  As truth became my reality, I shouted in truth and victory.

What I initially believed didn’t reflect truth, so what I felt didn’t reflect reality.

Never forget, let truth drive your bus not deceitful perceptions.  Perceptions often falsely and unhealthily communicate lies to your emotions driving you into depression!  However, if you believe truth, you walk in peace and victory.  

John in his gospel, 8:31-32&44 reveal the TRUTH of the matter:

  • “31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
  •  “44 Your father…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  Lies from the devil (negative perceptions) are deceitful and hurtful (“a murderer”).  Yet, emotionally we build sick, dark, scarring strongholds over and over again within us which have become our false reality.

The order of Scripture is to know the truth, believe it, walk according to it, and let your emotions be a product of your obedience. When you believe what you feel instead of the truth, how will your walk be? As inconsistent as your feelings. But when you believe and act on the truth, your feelings will reflect reality. Jesus said, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:17).

Prayer: Lord, I commit myself to follow Your Word and do right. I want to enjoy the positive emotions that come from obedience.

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