Archive for February, 2015

Dealing with Lies : Progress Not Perfection

February 2nd, 2015

Saturday’s post was about how Satan often takes what you desire most and promises to fulfill it if you reject God and ignore His word and set out to fulfill your desires on your own rather than in a way that aligns with God’s Word. In yesterday’s post, we talked about 4 ways we often […]

 

Saturday’s post was about how Satan often takes what you desire most and promises to fulfill it if you reject God and ignore His word and set out to fulfill your desires on your own rather than in a way that aligns with God’s Word. In yesterday’s post, we talked about 4 ways we often cooperate and take the bait – giving those lies power and effectiveness. When we are caught up in a whirlwind lifestyle of believing and living accordingly to lies and we come to recognize our destructive thinking and bad or sinful habits, we can often feel guilty and shameful. But, as Beth Moore explains God’s intent in her book Breaking Free, He never sheds light on our weaknesses or shortcomings for the sake of condemnation (Romans 8:1). God makes us aware of hindrances so He can set us free!” Knowing the right way to discern the mixed feelings that accompany recognition  of these weaknesses/shortcomings is so important. You will be faced with both more of Satan’s lies and God’s truth.

As Beth Moore put it in So Long Insecurity, “The enemy of our souls has more to gain by our setbacks than by our succumbing to an initial assault. An initial assault catches us by surprise…setbacks, on the other hand, just make us feel weak and stupid. I should have conquered this by now. They steal our hope and make us want to quit…we will never be so secure that we will never be shaken…in order to grow and move forward with God something has to happen to make me want to leave where I am. Even when you are frustrated with moving 3 steps forward and 2 steps back – isn’t that still 1 step forward? Some pretty big progress as we run against the hurricane winds of a godless culture? “

The key is to focus on Progress, not Perfection. 

It is very important when recognizing you’ve believed a lie and messed up to learn to recognize Jesus’s voice by knowing His character (through studying it in His word) so that you can sort His voice from that of the accuser (aka Satan) so that Satan will not have a second victory. This is just one more way Satan will try to block out God’s voice and healing truth and try to kick you while you are already down. Satan’s lies are always condemning, questioning, and confusing – He is our accuser. His accusations lead to shame. But Jesus’s conviction will be loving and specific. He will reveal a sinful action or attitude and show us what to do to right our wrong. This is what leads us to life-changing repentance.

Take for example the adulterous woman in the John 8:1-11 (Oh I love this story!).

She was found, “caught in the act of adultery”. Imagine that humiliation. The men around wanted to stone her. They humiliated her and were full of accusations, condemnation, and shame-inflicting intentions towards her. Jesus steps in says “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”  Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (As some suggest,  I’d like to think He wrote the 10 commandments, so that it was apparent to all of them that not one of them was righteous.) 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

LOVING, SPECIFIC CONVICTION WITH CLEAR DIRECTION. 

That is the God of the Bible. That is our God. :)

 

While full of mercy and forgiveness, don’t be mistaken – Jesus didn’t beat around the bush telling her to knock it off. So whatever God convicts your heart on, I would knock it off! But the forgiveness of those who seek God’s mercy is a life-changing forgiveness and small step in breaking free and changing your destiny. There are always consequences that accompany poor choices, but I encourage you that if you have recognized an area like this in your life, God is wanting to do a mighty thing in your heart. His love for you and desire for you to come to Him never wavered regardless of any choices you have made. So be strong and patient. Take responsibility and endure whatever consequences come, because by seeking Him and His mercy and forgiveness with a repentant heart, you will see how God can truly work all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). One of the most impactful scriptures that show how to cling to God in the midst of a personal failure is –

Micah 7:7-9

7 As for me, I look to the Lord for help.
I wait confidently for God to save me,
and my God will certainly hear me.
8 Do not gloat over me, my enemies!
For though I fall, I will rise again.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.
9 I will be patient as the Lord punishes me,
for I have sinned against him.
But after that, he will take up my case
and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies.
The Lord will bring me into the light,
and I will see his righteousness.

(I have no clue where they’re from, but these quotes are in my journal and I love them)-

“Guilt leads us to performance, but conviction leads us to repentance (a changed heart and mind).”

“Guilt is a ball and chain, but conviction is a gift that keeps us close to Him when Satan tries to use our feelings of guilt and shame to distance us from God.”

“But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.” Hebrews 10:39

“Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,” Ephesians 6:14

I want to encourage you to keep seeking truth and Jesus.

“Keep asking,[a] and it will be given to you. Keep searching,[b] and you will find. Keep knocking,[c] and the door[d] will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door[e] will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

I Love this song below and the reminder it is that He has new Mercy for us every day! :)


****This material is from my notes, quotes and paraphrasing of the Bible and the books I love on the Resource Page…primarily Lies Young Women Believe for this blog series.****

 

breaker

Baited

February 1st, 2015

In yesterday’s post, we talked about lies in our life effecting how we live and how Satan intends to bait us and get us to cooperate to let our own sin destroy us. Today is focused on 4 ways we cooperate with lies we face by looking at Eve as our example. (This post is […]

 

In yesterday’s post, we talked about lies in our life effecting how we live and how Satan intends to bait us and get us to cooperate to let our own sin destroy us. Today is focused on 4 ways we cooperate with lies we face by looking at Eve as our example. (This post is a collaboration from my thoughts including notes and quotes from the study Lies Young Women Believe and Believing God, along with other quotes I’ve connected to its theme of what I’ve been learning along the way.)

 Genesis 2:15-25, and 3:1-6

There are four things Eve did to cooperate with Satan’s deception:

  1. She Listened, when she should have run. Eve knew she was free to eat from any tree – but that one – so what was she doing hanging around it? The same is true with us. Sometimes we know what situations or what pastimes easily suck us into believing lies thus making poor choices, but we don’t have to hang around it. In fact, when possible, if we would “Flee the evil desires…and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace…”(2 Tim 2:22) instead, we would probably never be around the lies long enough to have them mess with our minds.  If you have a relationship through which you hope to help someone, great. Just take time to step back and make sure you know who is influencing whom.
  2. Eve chose to dwell on Satan’s lies. By entertaining a conversation with the serpent showing that she was considering what he said. Before long, she was doubting that God’s restrictions were reasonable and assuming that he was withholding something good from them. (Gen 3:2-3) The truth was that God is a generous God. He gave them all the other trees in the garden, except one. When we allow our minds to dwell on what God commands we must not do rather than what He abundantly gives us, we lose sight that God intended His laws for our blessing and benefit. “The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.”(Deuteronomy 6:24)

***Side Note***Does it ever feel like God’s “rules” are stupid?

The thing is, we are free to choose how to chase fulfilling our deepest desires. We can try to do it our own way, but it will result time and again in two outcomes (among others I’m sure) – A.) – It will gratify us for a moment only to leave us unsatisfied still craving the next “fix” to fill our desire, and B.) – It is not pleasing to God who has so lovingly given us direction in the true way to find the abundant fulfilled life that is available to us.

“Freedom does not mean that right to do whatever we please,
but rather to do as we ought.” – Fulton J. Sheen

I don’t know exactly when the light bulb illuminated, but at some point during college it dawned on me that my parents weren’t strict and protective to make my life boring and miserable – but they wanted to protect me in hopes that I wouldn’t have to face the emotional and physical consequences that were likely from making poor choices. They could see further down the road of my life than I was looking. It is the same with God. His commands are not to restrict us. God’s commands are for our own good to free us from the consequences He knows will follow from living any other way. As a mentor once explained – imagine a chain-link fenced yard with a child playing with a kickball. The child might feel like it is unfair and want more room to play, but the truth is the yard has plenty of room to play and is the best place for him to play, and if there were no boundaries to stay inside, the child might run out into the road to get his stray ball and get hit by a car. God’s commandments are the same way…just without the fence therefore with the freedom to choose – because He wants to teach us to choose to trust. The same is true in marriage for example. When God commands a husband and wife to be faithful to each other, He knows that this is the purest and best love possible in the harsh imperfect world we live in, and He wants His children to be able to experience the BEST love possible as He intended rather than a version of love tarnished by mistrust, doubt, insecurity, anger, and heartache. He wants the BEST for his kids. The key is to FOCUS on God’s blessings, not what is forbidden.

3.  Eve believed Satan’s lies & mis-remembered what God said. She told the Serpent that God said they can’t eat “or even touch it”. God never said not to touch the tree. This is so so SO important. In Believing God by Beth Moore, she says that the majority of Christians, or even America, doesn’t have a problem with believing in God – the Bible says even the demons believe and shudder (James 2:19) – so Satan does the next best thing. He doesn’t care if we believe in God if he can manage to get us not to believe God, and what He has said. But knowing, believing, and trusting in God’s word is an essential part of our Armor against Satan. We can’t be surprised that we are believing lies when we don’t know the truth, but when we take time to study scripture continually we will be armed and ready. (“I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11).

Sometimes falling prey to living your life trying to fulfill your desires on your own (and thus believing the empty promises the world and the lies of the enemy offer) seems so routine and like such a bad habit it feels like we will never be able to change. Temptation is the “invitation to meet my needs outside the will of God.” While it gratifies you temporarily on the outside, God’s provision satisfies the soul (Phil 4:19).  Jesus defeated Satan’s temptations in the desert by quoting scripture. Let Him be our example and encourager, for He said “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Like Jesus when tempted in Matthew 4, we must know God’s word and be able to speak it accurately to combat anything or anyone parroting Satan’s lies in our lives. Most of the deceitful fronts of attack we will talk about boil down to these five promises in God’s Word:

  • God is who He says He is.
  • God can do what He says He can do.
  • I am who God says I am.
  • I can do all things through Christ.
  • God’s Word is alive and active in me.

If you aren’t filling your mind with truth, it is inevitable that you will believe lies. And what you believe will determine the way you live.

 

       4.Eve acted on Satan’s lies. She ate the fruit.
So what fruits are you eating? What baited hooks keep tricking you into a rat race of empty promises? If you aren’t sure, check out this book that was so beneficial to me – Lies Young Women Believe. It is geared towards the youth, but as I led a study with middle schoolers it was reaffirming that the lies still trip me up and it helped me nail down what I struggle with most and how to break free from incorrect thinking.
If you can clearly see a lie that you have been believing and the way you are acting because of it – evaluate how it is working for you. Every sin in your life begins with a lie. We listen, dwell, believe, and act. Eventually the sinful natures become a pattern in our lives and we find ourselves in bondage where we feel like we will never be able to stop. What can we do to overcome the lies putting us in bondage? Believe God, and seek the truth.

When we are caught up in a whirlwind of lies and come to recognize our destructive thinking and bad, or sinful, habits, we often feel guilty and shameful. Knowing the right way to discern those feelings is so important. And that is what we will talk about tomorrow! But for now – a song I love –