Is God in my day to day?

There are times when I need to take a step back and take a hard look at my day to day living strategies. We all have a strategy to how we live. For most of us, we don’t realize that we are living with a strategy, or if we do, we do not stick to a planned strategy.

I think that a lot of the time I live out of my sub-conscious mind rather than living in a conscious purposeful way. I allow the sub-conscious part of me to determine my responses to events in life. I know that is not healthy. A healthy way to live is to listen when my sub-conscious mind jumps in, but to temper and regulate what I actually dwell on and do with the thoughts.

I love the Lord. I want to do what is right. But sometimes, I find that I speak before I think. Well, actually that would be most of the time since I am never sure what I am thinking until I have said it. Every morning, I ask the Lord to help me hold my tongue until I can figure out what is going on inside; then to help me to have a godly response.

My desire is to respond to life from a godly perspective; through the grid of the fruits of the Spirit. That can only be accomplished of I regularly meet with the Lord and am open and honest with Him in the depths of my being, receiving truth from the only one who is Truth. Mind renewal is a daily lifestyle process where we engage with God intimately at the root of our belief systems allowing God to minister truth and expunge the incorrect beliefs we live by. It is a process that often involves battle against the evil spirits who do not want us to be free to live in the fullness of Christ. Battling against other human beings is like trying to defeat a monster by tickling him. Our battle in this life is against principalities and powers and etc. It is not a battle against humans even if they are involved. Therefore, it is a battle of the mind and heart. That is where we are so often defeated by the true enemy; in our belief systems.

Putting on the whole armor of God involves a daily strategy or battle plan. We need to think about the pieces of armor God gives us and what they do; what the symbolism is. We need to remember who we are in Christ and think on the things that help us to be more like Him. If we find that we are dwelling on things that do not honor God, repent immediately and change our thinking. We get to choose where we focus and what we think about after a thought pops into our heads. Take every thought captive so that we honor God. Only dwell on thoughts that are godly and appropriate. Stay plugged in to God so that we have the ability to do what is right. When we are triggered or act negatively, we become unplugged from God, our only source of freedom and peace.

God bless you each as you grow in Him.

Imojak

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Work Out Your Salvation???

Philippians 2:12-18 is a passage that gives a lot of people a challenge to understand; especially since other scriptures declare that our salvation is not gained by works. Yet, this passage tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (KJV). I believe the scriptures are inspired by God. God is truth. Therefore, there are no contradictions in the Bible. There are just what appear to be contradictions. If we look closer at scripture, we can begin to see how the above passage does not really contradict the rest of scripture. Always read the scriptures in context so that you can see what is really being said.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NET) says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”

The salvation that is being spoken of in Ephesians is about salvation from death into life. It is the salvation that you cannot work for because it is only through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and through His resurrection that our sins are forgiven and we have our names written in the book of life. This is a salvation that opens the throne room of God to us and allows us to go to heaven for eternity. All we have to do to gain this salvation is to accept the gift that God hands to us. That is, we admit we are sinners. We come to God and ask forgiveness for our sins through the finished work of Christ and His sacrifice for us. We believe in our hearts that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and that God has raised Him from the dead. We open our mouths and declare this belief to others. That is all it takes to be saved from an eternity in hell. However, that is not all there is to a life in Christ. That is just the birth into the family of God. We don’t want to remain as infants for the rest of out lives.

In order to grow in Christ and mature, we need to spend time studying the Bible, not just reading it. We need to learn everything that we can about what it means to be a true child of Christ. That is what the Bible teaches us. Then we need to learn how to apply what we learn from the scriptures. That is what the Holy Spirit teaches us. As we spend time with God, we begin to build relationship with Him. Have you noticed what happens when people spend a lot of time together? They begin to become more like each other. The same thing happens when we spend more and more time with God. We begin to love Him more and become more like Him. It is a learning process that takes time and choice.

This is where the Philippians passage comes in.

In Philippians 2:12-18 (NET) Paul says, “So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world by holding on to the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice together with all of you. And in the same way you also should be glad and rejoice together with me.”

This passage was sandwiched between a section about what Christ has done for us and His attitude, and a section about human models of ministry. So, what does it mean then, to work out our salvation if we are already saved? I think within this context, it means to exercise self discipline, having the same attitude as Christ had, which is a humble submission to God and love for people, so that we may grow and mature in Christ, thus being an example to others of what God’s desire is for us.

But we need to keep in mind that this is still not a works based effort. It is a submission to the work of the Holy Spirit in us. It says, “continue to work out your salvation” how? “with awe and reverence.” Why? “for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort– for the sake of his good pleasure — is God.” This tells me it is a process and we are to be fully engaged, humble and submitted before the Lord, but God is the one who makes it possible for us to grow and change. Now, some people do not like the word submit because that was misused and abused in our lives. However, God will not abuse us, nor will He misuse our humility and submission before Him. We will always be blessed in this process. It may be that we need to learn to trust Him in this, as a first step. But remember, that first step is ours to take. If we don’t take it, we will not grow as well or as quickly as we could.

The awe and reverence we are to have toward God and the process He uses in us, is a respect that we owe Him. He is God, creator of the universe and of us. We need to be mindful of who He is and His holiness. But He wants relationship with us. He wants to draw us close to experience His holy and pure love. In life and relationship there is always our part to do, God’s part to do and others’ parts to do. The only part we are responsible for is our own part.

In this passage of Philippians, it talks about doing everything without grumbling or arguing. That is about putting on the attitude that Christ has. That is not easy to do, and without the Holy Spirit’s help, it is impossible. You see, the attitude is about the heart, not about a mask that we put on so that we become actors, imitating Christ. Christ does not want an imitation of Himself. He wants a genuine change of heart. The work of the Holy Spirit in us is not just to teach us, but to lead/guide us into all truth. John 16:13

We cannot be led or guided unless we are actively moving and following. That means we need to be engaged in the process and the experience of following where the Holy Spirit leads us and engaging in the relationship process so that we can receive the truth. This is just simple mind renewal. But it is so powerful in making us more like Christ and making life easier to handle especially in difficult times.

Ultimately, this is not about works. This is about us choosing to follow the Holy Spirit into the places in our own hearts that we so often avoid, and humbly submitting to Him as he removes lies and replaces them with truth. This is about relationship with the creator of the universe. This is about transforming power; power that matures us and purifies us from the power and bondage that false belief systems place us under. This is the most awesome journey that anyone can engage in.

We do not like pain, but this process that the Holy Spirit takes us through, will walk us right through the middle of our pain so that we can be set free from it. The end result is peace and more peace as we continue to follow Him where he leads us.

May we all grow and mature into the people that God wants us to be, thus, glorifying our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May our heart attitudes, even in the places no one else sees, be such that others see Christ in us.

God bless you and keep you and be glorified in you!

Imojak

 

Brain Trauma

There have often been days when I just struggle to get out of bed. Function? That is more difficult some days than it is other days. I am sure there are many reasons for that. But one reason is because of the trauma to my brain that I received at various times in my life. As a child I was beaten about the head by a perpetrator. I have been in auto accidents that resulted in damage. I lived a rough life that invited damage to the head. All of these things have contributed to brain damage that has progressively made it more and more difficult for me to function cognitively.

In what ways did all that trauma affect me? My close friends know how frustrated I have been over the loss of ability to hold a thought long enough to do anything about it. I closed my computer repair business because it got to the point where it took so long to complete tasks that I just did not feel like it was fair to charge for my work. I am forgetful to the point that I need to call someone to remind me of why I went to the store or what I was doing on the computer. If my friends do not hear someone ask me for something that I cannot do on the spot, it just does not get done because I need a reminder. I have been told “Make a list.” I do. Then I cannot find the list. I don’t remember where I put things and they get lost, sometimes for years. That is a very frustrating way to live. I often get frustrated, angry and depressed because I am so helpless to change any of it. I have even gotten angry with God for allowing these things to happen to me. But God is always patient with me. When I can remember to ask Him for help to find things that I have lost, He has been faithful to remind me as to where those things are. He is understanding about my emotional upheaval when things do not go smoothly. But, He always reminds me that He did not cause the trauma to my brain and He will walk with me through it all.

This year a friend discovered a treatment that she thought might help me. It is called LENS (light energy neuro-feedback system) from Ochs Labs. I have been going for treatments weekly. I am excited about it because I am already seeing progress on the charts and in my daily life. I am able to curb my tongue better. I don’t get as angry or frustrated. The depression and helplessness have lifted. I am calmer overall and do not feel like I have to fight to get each thought to where I can reach it. My memory is beginning to improve…just beginning. What is most amazing to me is that I occasionally recognize a thought that I have not spoken. I do not ever remember a time when I knew what I was thinking without speaking it out or reading it first. I was obviously thinking, but it was all on the subconscious level until I spoke it out and heard the words being spoken. The brain trauma prevented me from accessing my own thoughts.

The way the brain works, according to the brain research studies, is as follows:

  1. All input from our 5 senses begins to be processed at the back of the brain, moves to the right side as experiential knowledge and then across to the left side for cognitive processing.
  2. Everything from our environment must enter through the initial processing center at the back of the brain. When it does that, it gives our brains 1/6 of a second to determine if it is safe or not and if not, to then enter into fight, flight or freeze mode.
  3. If it is safe, or after it becomes safe again, the information is sent to the right brain to be stored as experiential knowledge. The right brain does not have words, just pictures and emotion connected to those pictures.
  4. Once the right brain has the information, it is shared with the left brain. The left brain then tries to put it all into words and to make it functionally usable.

The problem comes when any of the process is interrupted at any point. Damage to the back of the brain creates a brain storm that scatters information as it comes in preventing the information from being able to move on to the right brain. None of us receives 100% of the information our environment presents to us. Some of it is filtered out as being irrelevant or unnecessary. So all of us will have incomplete information to pass to the picture/emotion/experience dependent right brain. But if there is trauma to the back of the head, that makes data even more incomplete because information is being prevented from getting through the storm. As my brain treatment tech explained, it is like the information is hitting a fan that scatters the information so it cannot stick. So much for the short term memories. That capacity is mostly disabled. Any information that can get through is then moved to the right brain. Incomplete as it is, the right brain still tries to process it and store what it receives and understand it. Because it is incomplete information, it cannot make sense and can create emotional reactions and misinterpretations. In other words, I might believe someone said one thing when in fact they said something else. This can create relational misunderstandings. It can make it difficult to learn and can stir up a lot of emotional distress.

What happens if there is right brain trauma as well? There will be a similar storm in the right brain as our brain compensates for the damaged area. More information gets lost in that storm so there is even less to process. Right brain has too many gaps in experiential information which stirs up more emotional reaction.What is left of the information gets sent on to the left brain. The left brain cannot make sense out of what it receives. The left brain deals with words and logic. It has nothing to hang onto if the information does not make sense. It must then interpret what it receives and use that to function. Left brain and the frontal lobe are struggling with the lack of information that can get through. Lets add trauma to the frontal lobe of the brain. That makes it very difficult to do daily functions.

I am thankful that I am able to think, even if it is out loud leaving me with no private life. I am thankful that God is willing to guide me through each day making life tolerable. I am grateful for friends who patiently help me when I struggle. I am thankful that it is not worse than it could be. Twenty years ago I would not have had the words to explain what I was going through. I felt alone and like nobody could possibly understand. I have been through a lot in my life. The most difficult thing I have had to deal with is the fact that I have to pay the consequences for other people’s sins. But I have learned that God will deal with the perpetrators and He will redeem my past experiences and the consequences of what I went through. He has made it possible for me to receive this LENS therapy and begin the healing process for the physical consequences I live with.

Life could have been a lot worse for me. But it wasn’t and isn’t and I am grateful. I have forgiven my perpetrators for their actions against me. That sets me free. I have been in process for 16 years healing the emotional scars. Now I am beginning the healing process for my physical trauma and I am at peace. God is using my life to help others begin their healing process. That does not mean all my issues are resolved. I will be in this process of mind renewal until the day I see Jesus face to face. What it does mean is that I am now at a place where I will no longer keep myself in a place of bondage by unforgiveness and anger.

I believe that God means it when He says, “If you will not forgive, God in heaven will not forgive you.” Mark 11:26 Unforgiveness not only keeps us in bondage, it sets us up to being our own god and judge. God will not tolerate idol worship. Forgiveness is a much better path. Unforgiveness makes us the slave of those whom we will not forgive. It is hard to forgive when we are so deeply wounded because we want the other person to get punished for what they did to us. My question is, do you want to be forever the slave of your perpetrator always bowing to their will? If not, forgiveness will free you from them. Receiving truth from God in the inner places of hurt will make it easier to forgive. God will deal with your perpetrators. He can think up punishments worthy of their sins.

A very important point to remember is that people are not our enemies. The scripture teaches us that the real enemies are the principalities and powers of darkness, the evil spirits who rule this world, Ephesians 6:12. How do those evil spirits rule this world? Through the lies and misconceptions we all believe. Satan controls us when we have lies, hatred and malice in our hearts. We serve him with our unforgiving hearts. He uses our faulty belief systems to destroy us. Those same faulty belief systems are what drive people to be perpetrators. Our enemy is in the spiritual realm. If we focus on making people our enemies, we join Satan in his attacks on humanity.

Brain damage, even if it is so slight that it is not noticed, can make us vulnerable to believing lies because we do not have enough information getting through to make the kinds of interpretations that promote peace in our own hearts. All of us have faulty belief systems in place in our right brain. We don’t have to have brain trauma for that to be an issue. Ask God to guide you to each place where you have a faulty belief system set in place and ask Him for the truth that will set you free.

Praising God for you! Blessings!

Imojak

Codependency

Do you like your life? Do you like you? Most of us like neither of those things. We can know that Jesus loves us no matter what. No one can be the perfect person that we have envisioned that we should be.

We are made in the image of God. But, all our lives people have been trying to make us in their image. We take on beliefs that color how we look at ourselves and others. If someone does not do things the way we think they should, we try to remake them into people that we think they should be. We try to make them in our image. As a result, we develop codependent relationships, fully entangled with trying to fix each other. And the cycle continues. We do that to children, spouses, friends and anyone else who makes us feel uncomfortable with who we are. We have a standard that no one can keep without losing themselves.

We cannot fix other people. We want to be accepted for who we are, but when other people behave out of who they are, we are very uncomfortable and try to change them. The problem with that is:

1) We do not know who God wants them to be so we try to change them into who we want them to be. Or, we know the scriptures enough to know what type of character they should have and we, out of love, try to change what we see as bad behavior, but do it by trying to change the person.

2) All of our efforts to change them lead to a life of entanglement that exponentially compounds the primary problem.

What is the primary problem?

When we were children, our parents, doing the best they knew how in raising us, trained us to be a certain way. That was by example, by discipline, and by passing on both the truth and the lies they were taught in their childhood, at home, school and later in the workplace, or from reading and media. As we were growing up, we took those things in, either by choice or subconsciously, from our parents and other places of influence like our parents did. With it, we took on hurts and beliefs that we concluded or learned ourselves. We then began to pass that way of thinking on to our children and others in our sphere of influence. We are imperfect people. We may believe that what we are doing is the right thing to do, especially when we are motivated by what we feel.

What is the result?

The result is often broken hearts and relationships that are spinning their wheels in the muddy ruts we make from trying to change others rather than accepting them for who they are. We cannot change anyone else’s belief system. It is their belief system that makes them behave the way they do. It is our own belief systems that make us hurt enough to try to manage the pain by changing them. That is the very thing that causes us to be codependent. It is a very unhealthy place to stay. I am not saying a parent should not correct or discipline their child. I am saying that in the process we often try to modify who they are rather than teach them character qualities.

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of codependency:

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.[1] Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.[1] Given its grassroots origin, the precise definition of codependency varies based on the source but can be generally characterized as a subclinical and situational or episodic behavior similar to that of dependent personality disorder.[1] In its broadest definition, a codependent is someone who cannot function from their innate self and whose thinking and behavior is instead organized around another person, or even a process, or substance.[2] In this context, people who are addicted to a substance, like drugs, or a process, like gambling or sex, can also be considered codependent. In its most narrow definition, it requires one person to be physically or psychologically addicted, such as to heroin, and the second person to be psychologically dependent on that behavior.[3] Some users of the codependency concept use the word as an alternative to using the concept of dysfunctional families, without statements that classify it as a disease.[4]

Based on that definition, I would say that everyone is codependent to some degree. We all have areas of our lives where we have an unhealthy level of dependence on someone or something. What I would personally add to that definition is that codependency is pain management even in its smallest degree and it is entirely based upon our own belief about ourselves in relationship to that other person or thing. So, because we feel the need to be comfortable, we engage in pain management behavior by trying to change the person or circumstance.

What is the solution?

Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable without changing anything or anyone externally. Examine the discomfort and go to the place in our hearts where that discomfort comes from. Invite the Holy Spirit in to minister in that place. If you feel stuck with it, ask the Holy Spirit to ask you the questions that will get you to the right place and source issue. Follow His lead. He will never tell you anything that goes against scripture. Allow Him to minister to your heart in the places He wants to work in your heart. That is how you allow God to make you new again, a person in the image of God, not man. The way to test whether you are finished or not with that issue, is to return to the present issue and see if it is peaceful or not. If it is not totally at peace, ask God to guide you to the next place He wants to work with you in this issue. Continue that process until the present situation is completely peaceful even when the other person has not changed. Keep in mind that codependency is an addiction and therefore will have it’s roots in multiple memories and beliefs. Those memories and beliefs can be seen as a representative image of some type that the Lord ministers to. This is a simple process of mind renewal. You are not alone with this problem. Because we live in a fallen world with many hurts and misconceptions, everyone is codependent to some degree.

John 14:27 (NIV) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Galatians 5:1 (NIV) “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

When Christ died on the cross, he set us free. Even before we were conceived, we were set free because the work was finished on the cross. The problem is that we in our inward parts, as David would say, do not know we are free yet. In India, when an elephant is young, he is trained to believe that he is bound to a stake that he cannot escape from. When he has learned that lesson, the trainers no longer need to tie him to the stake. When he is an adult, he still believes he is tied to the stake so, he will not wander away. In the same way, We have learned we are bound to stakes in our lives. We have beliefs that are no longer true. They may have been at one time, but Christ set us free. Yet we still believe we are bound. That binding is done in the secret places of our hearts. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth, that we are free; that the beliefs we have are false. We need Him to replace those beliefs about ourselves with His truth. His truth will set us free. We cannot change others, but God can. We cannot even change ourselves without the help of the Holy Spirit. The more lies and misconceptions we have removed and replaced with truth by the Holy Spirit, the less codependent we will be.

If someone you care about is misbehaving, please remember that it is because they are managing their pain. Don’t try to change them. Lead them into the presence of the Lord. He knows how to transform us into the people He wants us to be. Self effort is only a bandaid. But the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is maintenance free healing.

Jesus said in John 16:14 (NLT) “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”

That Advocate is the Holy Spirit who dwells in the heart of the believer. Other translations use the words Helper, Counselor or Comforter.

Later, in John 16:13, Jesus says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.

If He is the Advocate, Helper, Comforter and Counselor, and He is going to lead us into all truth which will come from the Father, we can know that where He leads us is going to be to places where there is falsehood to be replaced with truth. Truth not only sets us free, it makes it possible to more easily follow the Lord, hear Him, and obey Him. It helps us to deal with all that is to come.

May God enrich our hearts each day as we seek Him and follow where He leads us.

Blessings!

Imojak

Preparedness

Again, I am on a journey. This is different in some ways from the journey I called a quest, but it still impacts me emotionally, rationally and spiritually. I think this is a good thing, but I sense some rough road ahead of me.

Any journey we embark on, needs to have preparation. But there are times when we are thrust out into uncharted territory without having a lot of time to prepare. Before that happens, it is wise to prepare for any eventuality that we can imagine. I often hear about people getting emergency preparedness kits in case there is a time when they might not have shelter or food. Some go as far as getting weapons and practicing with them in case they have need to protect themselves and family from attack. But are they ready for a time like that of those in the Middle East who have lost their homes and possessions and are left with nowhere to go but to wander to a strange land with only the clothes on their backs? An emergency preparedness kit might help if it is in a back pack that they can grab and run with. But that is only temporary. It is also only part of the preparation that they need. They will need to find water and purify it. They may need medical supplies, food and tools. But what they will need more than anything else is emotional and spiritual preparedness.

There are some things that I wish I had known when I was young. It would have changed the course of my life. But, the fact is that I did not know those things. More importantly, what I did know did not help as much as I thought it should because it was not experiential knowledge. It was not the kind of knowledge that is imbedded in the part of the heart that still works in an emergency or critical emotional time.

Did you know that when you experience truth during trauma or critical times, you are more likely to be able to respond appropriately in future critical times? But when we don’t experience that truth, we will have inappropriate responses in the future when the subconscious thinks that a critical event is occurring even when it is not. How do you face events that are stressful? Is your first response going to be fear, anxiety, anger, running away, or fighting? Or is your response going to be rational, calculated and even tempered?

I was fascinated when I had the opportunity to see myself on video recently. The first recording was of me setting up a system for video conferencing. I watched that several times because I have not seen a close up of me interacting with people. I first noticed the physical presentation. My thoughts were:

“My head looks like an egg with high cheek bones, swelling from inflammation, scars from traumatic memories. At least the scars are not big. My mouth moved in an odd way. My eyes are strong but too piercing. I see grandpa Kayser in some expressions, and grandma Remington in other expressions. Oh, there is an expression John (my brother) has. That is interesting. I can see from my facial expression and the movement of my eyes that I am trying to figure something out. This is strange looking at me as if I am looking at someone else; just observation, no judgement as to what kind of person they are. Hmmm. Is there kindness in my eyes, or just calculation? Just calculation because I am looking at a computer trying to figure out all the glitches. If this was not me, what would I be trying to figure out about them?”

After about the third time of watching I realized that I was looking to see what that person in the video was really like based on just observation. I realized that if I was just going to base my understanding of the person on only observation, I would really know very little about them. Yet we often do just that to those we meet. We decide fairly quickly what we think they are like and what they are thinking and feeling and what their motives are. From this exercise of watching myself on video, I learned that it takes time to know anything about people and we certainly cannot judge (decide) what they are thinking and feeling or what their motives are. In fact, the scripture tells us that only God knows the motives of the heart and he is the one who really knows our thoughts and feelings. (Prov 16:2; Ps 94:11)

So why am I talking about this? We often do not even know our own thoughts and motives unless we dig deep into our hearts to find those thoughts and motives. In Ps 139:23 David is telling God to search David’s heart to see if there is anything wicked in him. David wanted a pure heart before the Lord and understood that we do not always know our own hearts deep down, but God does. If we are willing to go to the deep places where we have pain and hurts and anger buried, God will meet us there and minister truth into those places. This is the preparation we need for future difficult times. If we prepare now, then we will be able to respond appropriately and quickly when the need arises. Our responses will also be made with the peace and calm of God in our hearts and the future outcomes will be more positive.

In the same way that we practice for accuracy and experiential knowledge for our body to remember how to quickly and easily accomplish tasks during crisis, we also need to make it a lifestyle practice to get our hearts and spirits into experiential memory shape so that we are ready for any crisis that may arise in the future.

The scripture talks about the fact that we will have difficult times. I do not believe that has anything to do with puberty issues or the fact that sometimes people are mean to us. I think it is talking about two things specifically. Those two things are 1) the end times and the suffering that comes with those evil events and 2) persecution both now and in the end times because we are believers in Christ the Lord. If we have anything in our heart’s hidden places that is not yet turned over to Christ to receive His ministry of truth, it will be too difficult to face persecution and do what is right before the Lord. We will default to that place of hurt or unforgiveness in our responses. Those places give a foothold to evil spirits who will make sure we are defeated and we will take down with us as many as we have influenced.

Someone who is licensed with a weapon must practice with their weapon so much that the cells of the body develop memory, enabling healthy defensive tactics when crisis shuts down the reasoning center of the brain. That is what will save their lives. In the same way, if we do what David did and ask God to search the depths of our heart and the hidden places to rout all lies and replace them with truth, and we continue to do that day in and day out every time we react in any way negatively to anything, we will be emotionally and spiritually prepared, even in crisis, to respond automatically in the right way and frame of mind. I know, that was a long sentence. But I am going to leave it the way it is, because it gives the message for us to make it a lifestyle as soldiers of Christ preparing for the battle to come. Our weapon is the mind and that is where the battle is. 1 Peter 1:13 says to prepare our minds. 2 Cor 10:5 says to take every thought captive?

How do we take thoughts captive? By inviting God into those places where the thoughts stir us up the way David did, and allowing God to minister His peace there. That is the process of preparing the mind.

Begin to engage in this practice of submitting every detail, emotion and response to the ministry of the Christ in your heart through the Holy Spirit. It will prepare you for every event in your future spiritually, emotionally and reactively.

Blessings!

Imojak

Tired?

Are you tired? Have you poured your heart into something and grown weary in the process? You are not alone. In fact, it is so easy to grow weary in what you do that the scripture addresses the subject. Gal 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (ESV)

When the process takes a long time to see results, we get tired and discouraged. We get lost in the doing and lose sight of the end goal. When we are doing good and our eyes are on the Lord, we are strengthened, encouraged and energized in the work. The Lord is our source. If we remain in fellowship with Him and obedient to Him, we will not grow weary. There are several things to keep in mind.

1. Is what we are doing, what God has called us to do?

This is really important for us to know. If we are asked by God to do something, we can know we have His support in the process no matter how long it takes.

2. Are we doing it in our own strength?

Do we have the belief that the whole project or ministry or duty is on our shoulders alone? If God asks us to do something, He will carry us through it no matter how stressful, difficult or dangerous the job is. We are not alone. He will not leave us.

3. Are we trying to do our job and God’s job too?

Sometimes we think that when God asks us to do something or calls us into ministry, we are responsible for every aspect of it. The truth is that we are responsible for what God asks us to do. He is responsible for the soul work and changing hearts. We can not change people. We can’t even change our own hearts. But God can.

4. Are we spending time in the Word?

If we are spending time reading the Bible and meditating on it, we can be refreshed, encouraged and strengthened. If we do not spend time in the Word, we will become depleted, weary and discouraged.

5. Are we spending time developing our relationship with God?

God wants a personal relationship with us. It goes beyond reading the Bible and studying it. It involves us spending time talking to God and sitting quietly with Him listening to what He has to say about things. We can learn a lot about ourselves in that relationship, and a lot about God and how He wants to interact with us. He has not stopped communicating with us. We have stopped listening. Take the time when you read the word of God, to talk with Him and to listen. He desires relationship with us on a deeper level that we are usually not willing to allow. God will never contradict the scripture. It is His word after all. The deeper our relationship with Him develops, the more mature we become, and the more peace we have.

6. What is our attitude?

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV) 2 Corinthians 10:5b, “we take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah.” (CJB) If we entertain thoughts that are not what God would approve of, we are removing the guard or protection from our hearts. We then develop sinful attitudes which lead us to sinful actions. It can also lead to discouragement and defeat.

7. What is the motive of our heart?

Our motives are important. Why are we doing what we are doing? Is it because God has asked us to do it and we love God so we obey, or is it because it makes us feel good about ourselves? Is there a bit of pride involved? Are we doing it grudgingly? If our motives are not upright before the Lord, we will become an easy target for spiritual attack.

If we are becoming weary of doing good, you can be sure that there is something in our own hearts that needs attention. Let’s bring it before the Lord and hear His heart so that we can grow and be encouraged.

I know of a missionary who worked for thirty years amongst an Islamic group. On human terms, it was a waste of time and energy, a total failure. Not one person came to know Christ in all the years he served there. Often he would become discouraged but he continued on because God had called him and He trusted that eventually, God would reap a harvest. A few years after the missionaries death, his son felt the call to that same group. He argued with God telling Him of all the struggles his father had there and the wasted effort his father had put into those people. God continued to lay on the son’s heart to go back to those people. So he went. He wanted to please God. He returned to the village and began to minister to the people. There was a new chief as the old chief had died. The young chief came to the missionary and told him about his missionary father. He said, “Your father never gave up on us. Now you have come to tell us about Jesus, just like your father did. Because you and your father have been faithful to God, I will accept Jesus as my savior.” That young chief accepted the Lord and the whole village followed. From that place, many have gone to be missionaries. God is faithful. He continued to work in the hearts of the people to draw them to himself. The harvest is God’s.

If you are weary of doing good, please refresh your soul in communion with the one who can strengthen. Trust Him with the end results. Do your job well and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matt 25:21 (NIV) God is responsible for the harvest. Our sole job is to be obedient to Him and to remain in communion with Him; to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18

That is How we can serve without growing weary.

Blessings to you all!

Imojak

Integrity

What is integrity? Oxford Dictionary defines it this way: 
NOUN

1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness:

“he is known to be a man of integrity”

synonyms: honesty · probity · rectitude · honor · good character ·

[more]

2. the state of being whole and undivided:

“upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty”

synonyms: unity · unification · coherence · cohesion · togetherness ·

[more]

• the condition of being unified, unimpaired, or sound in construction:

“the structural integrity of the novel”

synonyms: soundness · strength · sturdiness · solidity ·

[more]

• internal consistency or lack of corruption in electronic data:

“integrity checking”

 I find this definition very interesting in light of the morals and values of today’s world. What is right and wrong seem to have been flipped. Our moral compass is no longer pointing to the one true North, God and His word. We have even begun, in the Church, to follow the corrupt compass of the world and are mixing that with our sense of Christianity, distorting what God said is truth. This is an abomination before the Lord. We need to get our act together and re-learn what is right and wrong using God’s word as our compass. Yes it will isolate us and make us a target for the world to accuse us of wrong doing. But if we don’t get these things sorted out in our lives, we lose our integrity before God who is the only one whose opinion matters in this regard. Without integrity, we are no different than the world in its sinfulness and selfish living. If I do not have integrity, I have an idol that I worship; that idol is self. “You shall have no other gods before me!” Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21 

All sin is self worship. Even the tiniest sin breaks the first commandment. If you break one commandment you have broken them all because they all flowing out of the first one. It is a good thing that we have a gracious God. The penalty of sin is death. He made a way for us to not have to suffer the consequences of our sin. Before He ever created us, He knew we would fail. He gave us the right to choose. We chose sin. But before He created us, He also planned a way for us to be redeemed. That means, our sin caused us to become slaves to sin and the author of sin, Satan. The only way for a slave to be freed is to be purchased by someone who will set them free. So, what was the set purchase price? Death is the price. How can God redeem/purchase us? He Has to pay the price. So He sent His son to take on human flesh and live here with us. He went through everything but did not sin. Because of that, He qualified to be the perfect sacrifice. He was beaten, mutilated and then hung on a cross to fulfill the law and purchase us back. But He has never taken our choices away from us. God owns us but has given us freedom. We have a right to choose Him because He paid the penalty for us. In that, we are free when we choose Christ. All we have to do is acknowledge Him to be Lord and master in our lives. Accept Him as our redeemer. Declare to the world that our allegiance is now to God forever. And then walk obedient to His word. That means that we must build integrity according to what God wants for us rather than what we want. We are now servants of the King of Kings, Jesus the Christ/Messiah. There is no freedom without Him. Paul wrote in Galatians, “It is for freedom that we were set free.” We must not return to the darkness where we were slaves. Do not take in the practices that enslaved us. In Revelation Christ gave a revelation to John. Jesus said he had something against 6 of the churches. One of the things Jesus has against the church is that they were incorporating sinful practices into their lives. They were also distorting the scriptures allowing people to lead them the wrong way. Faithfulness is part of integrity. If we are not faithful to what God has taught us in the scriptures, our integrity crumbles.

Integrity is a cohesive holding together of what is right making it strong. It is being faithful with right attitudes and actions. It is a building of truth in the inner man, the heart. It is honesty even when there are consequences that we do not like. Nobody can steal your integrity. But, you can allow it to erode and fall away. 

Think about what is going on in your heart and your church. You can make a difference with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Build integrity into your life. You will be blessed.

Imojak