Browsing Category: Strongholds

The Battle With Doing It My Way

Letting go is just never an easy thing to do! What I mean is that stinkin’ pride sure makes it hard to surrender the “it’s all about me” areas of our life!

We had just completed a stressful couple of weeks at work. Preparing for an audit is never what I would call fun. Then there’s the two days when the accountant visits, well…he’s a great guy but he is still our accountability guy. You know what I mean right? Stressful!

So the weekend was coming and it was going to be oh so nice to stay home, get some much needed things done. You know how it is when you work all week, and the weekend before, because you had papers to find and reports to print out! So I had even planned to start some minimal purging to prepare for the spring cleaning thing. (I get this way after the new year!)

Well, I received a txt from a loved one inviting me to take him to watch his son wrestle for his first tournament. Now of course I wanted to see this young man who I seldom see, but I also wanted to have my long anticipated weekend. Argh, now what am I going to do?

So there it goes…those nudging of the Holy Spirit, saying to my heart, “you need to go.” Well of course I do, I know that but…oh how selfish I saw myself being!

Well of course I knew what I needed to do, I knew I wanted to see this guy who I hadn’t seen for almost a year and a half. Yup, we were going.

The long and short of it is that when God wins the wrestling match, you can bet that blessings will follow. Click To Tweet We had a fun day watching all these little kids modeling their coaches and parents. And I was so surprised to see the little girls that were also wrestling with the boys. Wow,times have changed. Finally after four hours, our guy was up. He had been a nervous but by his third match he was getting into the swing of it. His dad was heartily cheering him on. Nah, he didn’t win his matches but toughed it out like a young lad should, shook the hands and was more than ready to get out of there! It was off to get a sweet treat before we headed back home.

Thank you Lord for your prompting and prodding and thank you Lord that I saw how I needed to say yes. For whatever reason, we were meant to be there.

And my reward? That was spending time with a young lad I seldom get to see and that was very sweet. But I have to say that the blessing came from time with the Lord the next morning.

I had brought a magazine from a ministry we carry on the radio, home from work. The cover intrigued me with a shepherd and some sheep on the cover and the words, “They hear my voice and they follow”. Ah yes, that goofy reality that we are His stupid sheep desperately in need of His shepherding.

Well the first article was my gift from Him by Mike Lee, on ‘Giving Up Control’. Okay Lord, another reminder that I am that work in progress that still has so far to go. But as I began to read…and it wasn’t long into the article I read the words the Lord used to touch my heart deeply…

“You see, He didn’t have the one and only thing He really desires. He didn’t have my heart.

“And when He doesn’t have our hearts, He doesn’t have us.”

Oh goodness, did that one do a number on my spirit. Because I knew He was again pointing out to me that my pride was what was keeping me from giving over my heart to Him.

Would I have wrestled so much when the opportunity arose to see a grandson I hadn’t seen for so long if not for my selfish desires? Of course not. I would have jumped at the opportunity to go. I would never have second guessed that offer, shame on me! But I did go and I was blessed with the day. And with my time with the Father the next morning.

Then as I continued reading, Mike gave some thought provoking questions. So I grabbed my journal and proceeded to let the Father have my heart as I answered and soul searched
for the answers to the following:
1. Is there anything God wants me to start doing?

2. Is there anything God wants me to stop doing?

3. Is there any reason not to do what God wants?

I was brought to Psalm 51:10-12 NASB

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

Man, that will bring you to your knees!

Mike then concluded with these application points:

1. Begin with what you already know from God’s Word. Not to learn something new, but to obey something you’ve already learned.

2. Say yes to the next obedience opportunity. You will encounter and opportunity to say yes to God, whatever that might be.

3. At the next T-intersection , go God’s way. You’ll know it when it comes–when you could go either your own way, or God’s way.

It is at moments like these that a person realizes the forfeited opportunities lost to the pride of going my way instead of following after the Shepherd.

You know, as crazy as it sounds, this was a  lesson that almost felt good. Maybe I am tired of fighting and ‘doing it my way’! It does get old believe it or not!

I am anxious for the next set of instructions like when you play the scavenger hunt. You get to each clue and it propels you onward the next and finally to the prize!

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Friend, can I tell you from experience that the battle of the will and self is just not worth it? Can I also say that it does get old as you fight to hold on to that prideful reasoning that gives the ‘right’ to win and do it your way. You know the Bible talks about our hardened hearts opposed to our hearts of flesh, gentle and pliable and willing to surrender. Which will you choose?

When the Scoffers Come!

1Pet 2.1Ever have those conversations that leave you thinking or screaming “What in the world was that all about?” I have and the hardest part of it all is that it was someone I love who railed against me and left me feeling worthless!

Some of you know what I’m talking about here! But when it comes from those we love, ouch, it sure does bite. I was left devastated, giving in to negative thinking for a brief period of time.

I am so grateful that I know the Lord, and that I know His Word. Because of this knowledge, I can combat the lies of the enemy when he comes pointing fingers and scoffing at me. You see I know it isn’t that loved one that I am battling, it is the enemy of my soul who wants to see me rendered ineffective.

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God’s Word really is a healing balm…

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NASB

I am so thankful that the Lord reminded me of this because I let myself get angry! I was devastated and hurt. Not only that but my ministry was also attacked. How could that be?

You see the devil loves when he can pit us against one another and cause us to back-bite and curse one another with that poisonous venom that threatens to kill us emotionally and render us completely useless. He is the ruler of this earth and for a season he longs to make us hate one another.

If Jesus came to show us love so that we could love one another then the devil does just the opposite! He stirs us up with negative thoughts of one another and we kinda get paranoid which is described as causing you to falsely believe that people are trying to harm you. But the verse above is what we have to remember more than anything. And that hurting people hurt people.

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So what will you do the next time the accusations come to taunt you and put you on the defense?

Will you retaliate and think of all the bad things that person has done and caused?

Will you get on the band wagon and rally the troupes in hopes of getting others to take your side?

Will you get into a shouting match with that one and tell them just what’s on your mind?

When conflict comes our way, we actually have an opportunity to put that ole devil in his place…by not giving in to our emotional reactions, instead, acknowledging the situation for what it is, applying the truth instead of succumbing to the deception.

All these things can help us to see that the person who seems to be against us is actually the enemy who is out to get us. We may just be a target for their pain and frustration. Certainly that doesn’t make it right!

2 Corinth 10-5So to take every thought captive means that all the negative thrown at us must be weighed and measured with the Word of God. We may see a few things that could be true about ourselves but seriously, we are not going to drink the poison of our taunters.
Here’s what I must remember to do when I fall into a situation like this…pray!

Then, I must forgive.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

It does take time to move beyond circumstances like these. But I know when we extend forgiveness and let go of the pain we have given over to the Lord, He will heal our broken hearts and hopefully restore and reconcile the situation. You may or may not have the relationship you once had but then again maybe you will have a better relationship than ever before?

What do you have to lose?

The pain and recollection every time you run into them, especially if it is a family member.

What do you have to gain?

Peace, peace knowing that God is working even if for right now it doesn’t look quite like it!

Forever and Ever…Amen

SorrowfulDo you believe that God can work in the hard stuff life doles out? I have lived it and maybe you as well. Please stop by where I am guest posting at Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday” to share the goodness of the Lord! He will meet us when we ask.

This post was featured at Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday as a guest blog on April 14, 2015 with that link no longer available.

It was a year…a year when many issues came to the surface and I was forced to take a serious look at myself and my marriage covenant. I felt hopeless, bound to a yucky body, a yucky marriage and a difficult son. To be perfectly honest, I wanted out of it all and I began to ponder the simplicity of just calling it quits on life.

When I was just an early teen in NYC, I couldn’t handle life then either and being in an unstable state of mind I downed my mom’s Valium and hoped to never wake up…but I did. I was rescued only to find out that I couldn’t escape my problems by just taking pills, or drugs, or alcohol or by delving into relationships. I just wanted to be loved!

But this time it was different. I was in my early forties, I was a Christian woman and had been for about 13 years but I was also disillusioned with life and my ‘faith’. Somehow I was deceived in my looking for love in all the wrong places I thought all these peripherals could make life liveable. A man who was stable, who could help me with my wild and crazy kids, a new home, a satisfying job in Christian radio and friends, I finally had some friends!

I had been recently hired at our local Christian radio station for full-time work as a bookkeeper and being the “Words of Affirmation” girl that I am, I was getting the strokes. Kimberly, you are doing a great job! Keep up the great work. You see, we had lost our manager from a tragic accident the previous fall and jobs were shifted around allowing me to begin full-time work.

Going to work became my escape. I could escape the craziness of home life that involved an angry husband, teenagers with one being extremely problematic.

At home I began to hate who I was becoming. I had started perimenopause and if you have ever been there you know exactly what I’m talking about…it stinks! I hated what my body was doing putting on excessive amounts of weight and water retention. I didn’t want anything to do with being intimate with my husband which sure didn’t help anything! We were all a mess! If either of us had uttered leaving, it wouldn’t have taken much for one of us to just go!

One night on my way home from working late (learning curve), I knew I would be hollered at for a late supper and who’s going to run kids to where and pickup whom…yup, I could just hear it. As I pulled my car in the garage. A song came on that broke my heart, reminding me of who is in control and beckoning me to remember my covenant. I clung to my steering wheel with tears running all over and listened…God was speaking to me through the words of John Starnes song, “I Plead the Blood”.

I remembered my covenant and I plead the blood over my family and home asking the Lord to help me be true to my words that I would never, ever again divorce! And He did just that…as I  prayed that the Lord would my husband joy and give me a love for him that had waned through years of disappointments.

Soon after I heard the Lord prompt me to pray for my guys (husband and two sons, one of whom was then in a locked treatment facility) to go to Promise Keepers in Minneapolis. So I did and my husband and oldest were able to go! It was at this juncture in his life that he recommitted his life to the Lord!

Friends, things did begin to gradually change. My husband does smile and laugh and can be joy-filled at times. He has become a man of God who is growing closer and closer to the Lord and to me. As for me, I would say that I love him more than I ever have! And we will celebrate 29 years in October!

I know my story isn’t like yours, but I do know that my God is the same as yours. I am not going to try to visit your scenario and tell you what to do. I am however going to remind you that He never changes and that He can be trusted with whatever impossibility we are willing to give to Him.

In Matthew 6:33 we are reminded of where to turn in our times of need. And in Philippians 4:6,7 we are instructed to be anxious for nothing, to pray about everything, and to be thankful in all things. When we are obedient to respond his way we are filled with the peace that even passes ALL understanding! Will you trust Him?

KD cropped sqSince 1990, Kimberly Nyborg, has worked at Northern Minnesota’s Christian radio station. She has served as host of a daily two hour music program for Psalm FM radio since 2004. Kimberly is involved in Women’s ministry and she speaks for various women’s events around the Midwest. She makes her home with her husband Jerry, in the “Icebox of the Nation”, International Falls, MN.

www.kimberlynyborg.com
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In a Perfect World…

Why are relationships so difficult? Why do I do things that irritate people? Why are there people who totally annoy me? Sometimes I just want to go where I won’t ever have to deal with people and all of their stuff!!! Well…wait a minute…I wonder how many people say those things and think of me? Plain and simple, relationships are hard stuff.

Imagesbyozzie As I was pondering what lessons God has wanted me to learn in this season, and immediately remembered that He is teaching me what “love one another” is all about.  You see…when we refuse to abide by this mandate, then we give the enemy a foothold. This will develop into a stronghold and it gets harder and harder to deal with the situation and do the right thing. Laying aside ourselves to take up the concerns of others!

Just look what this passage in Colossians says from the Message paraphrase: “When you love someone you just want to spend time with them and that’s good because that is how relationship is cultivated.”

That just might be the easy part unless you have kids and schedules or work full-time.  Making the effort with those commitments can get a bit sticky! However if we need to hang in there even when things get weird. Oh my do I know that that’s like and when it happens, I just want to escape and try not to deal with it. But that’s not the way to do it. That’s when I need to expend some effort to mend the hole created by an unkind word or a misunderstanding. I sure don’t want to take up an offense!

Colossians 3:12-14  So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Put on love, in other words it should be the first item on when you awaken and the last off before bedtime. And if you have a spouse then I guess you need it 24/7!

It is a big, and sometimes consuming job–all this relationship stuff! But you see, I have been given the mind of Christ. That means that I must gradually begin to adapt to Christ’s nature in me, as I journey through the tough stuff. Even though I have bad days, don’t I get a break here? Probably not if I am going to attain my goal. (Man, some days it can be a tough row to hoe!) And if you struggle with unconditional love like I do it can be even more difficult. But I am learning and it helps to take a look backward to see all that God has forgiven in me. This new garment of love takes a concerted effort to put and keep on, daily.

What can you do when relationships get sticky?

How difficult is it to wrangle your pride and admit that you may have had a role in an uncomfortable situation?

Father, it feels like I have so far to go on this journey, but I will continue to allow You to work out those uncomfortable traits in me even if it hurts and is uncomfortable. I will trust You as You continue to work all things together for my good and Your glory, in Jesus; name!

Oh, Those Emotional Meltdowns!

2 Corinth 10-5It was a day wrapped in disappointment!  I am most thankful that I don’t have many days like that. But not today…this was a dreary, gloomy (sensing winter’s approach) day of emotional let downs. Two of my friends recently lost their loved ones and my heart was heavy for them at their loss of mom and a sister.  Then to top it off, an opportunity came to bless some gals that went south and for whatever reasons it just could not happen. Well my emotions were already tender and I responded with an inward look instead of upward.  I began to play around in the pity pool for a time getting splashed with more and more disappointed as my ‘woe is me’ thinking–that untruth that swirls in the head–began to flooding into my mind.  Wow, I was really beginning to drown myself in self-proclaimed despair.  I am this and I am not that…!  Suddenly I didn’t think I had a friend in the world and I even began to doubt my abilities as one thought streamed right into the next. Only God knows where this cesspool of thinking could have taken me!

Then, I received a revelation!  Just maybe God was protecting me, doing exactly what Paul says in Romans 8:28

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  

I began to look at various scenarios that could happen if things went as I desired for them to go. Instead, I decided to–by faith–believe that these disappointments were not intended to discourage me but to protect and prevent dire things from happening?  Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of that powerful word from 2 Corinthians 10:5 that ends with

“taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” 

This certainly changed my entire outlook!

Line BreakYou see, God has empowered us, He has given us tools to help when we get all wrapped up in our own “stinkin’ thinkin” (remember that term?)

Although sometimes difficult, our part is to acknowledge the enemy's lies and then counteract them with God's… Click To Tweet

I really believe that we can all get in a funk like this at sometime or another in our ‘everyday’ living, but the key is admitting where we have landed. When our thinking is is incorrect according to God’s standard–what He says about His children–then I need to be willing to do something about it!  Start by applying 2 Corinthians 10:5

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God,” then finish by…“taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Yes, it can take a concerted effort but it is always better than staying in the pit which spells out destructive thoughts. Oh how the enemy of our soul likes to rob our joy!

Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit that teaches us in the way in which we should go. Continue to give me listening ears to hear His voice and then a willingness to respond correctly when I am headed in a direction that spells out CALAMITY.  My heart wants to please You and I ask for grace when I walk contrary to Your excellent way!

Ponderings from 2014

Thanks Fam
Thanksgiving 2014

Visiting the #Loft as we reflect on 2014…

Unlike my later quarter of 2013, this year has been a year of living out my new normal. A year of making the huge shift work and frankly I am not there quite yet but I can see it coming.

This has been a year of big adjustments because in October 2013, we welcomed a kicking, screaming (not really, just emotionally) 90lb stubborn momma into our home instead of sending her joyfully back to Orlando and her home. That is her home as she knew it to be yet would be no longer!

Along with this transition came a brief period of depression and some revamping of our home, my time, my writing agenda, quiet time with my husband and many other little tidbits that come with a new routine! This year in many ways has been exhausting yet there is a real peace that has come from this act of complete surrender.

My little, barely five pound mom doesn’t know Jesus. At 84 and riddled with health issues, there ain’t much time left. My husband and I agree that God brought this about by placing her in the best place for her to able to receive the gospel. I am thrilled, just a bit weary. She isn’t difficult (just sometimes very stubborn) it is just that I have lost most of my freedom in the process. To which I willing relinquish so that she will know my Jesus.

We do have our glitches and there are days I get weary when her colitis is on the active side (poor woman can’t enjoy what you and I can anymore!) And I am thankful that there is space in our home for my husband to retreat into (he uses the family room downstairs to watch a different kind of television that she does) and I am still trying to figure mine out.

My prayer as we end this year is that whatever it takes Lord, I know you are putting the pieces in place, just come Lord Jesus to this hard-hearted stubborn woman so that she can meet You, the Prince of Peace! If you feel inclined after reading this please pray for little Joan Von Mithoff, as we are trusting in His perfect plan.

From the Message Paraphrase is this gift we now live out upon receiving Christ,

But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.   ~John 1:12

Apart from Jesus’ return, this could be the best finish of the year!

To Be Forewarned…

Mad Grouse
Mad Momma Grouse by Sandy/Scarlett Images

I can’t believe it, another attack…not from the devil or a person but the momma grouse!  This is the second time that we have gotten too close to the brood.  As Elsa (my pup) and I were climbing up to get on the old railroad grade (now a designated snowmobile trail), Elsa always first, startled a young brood of grouse gobbling gravel.  As I stepped up around the bushes on each side of the path that hide clear visibility, here she came, momma bird all fluffed up to look as big as could be and running right toward Elsa!  As I stepped up she made a quick dart into the brush and disappeared as the little ones followed scurrying away!

You have heard the saying “To be forewarned is to be forearmed” haven’t you?  Well I thought about the spiritual implications in light of our morning incident.  Momma grouse is always willing to lay down her life for those little ones and there she was, enguard as she heard us tromping up the incline ready to give us what for!  She was ready and at attention watching over her brood and man, if my Elsa hadn’t been on a leash, I would hate to see what could have happened–thankfully it didn’t.

So, in this world the Bible tells us we will have trouble, John 16:33.  Do I like that statement? Of course not, life shouldn’t be so troublesome!  However it is a warning for us to heed, a warning God has given to His children.

John 16.33

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

But even in the midst of the fiery trials of life, Jesus says that we can still have peace, how does that work? Some of my favorite verses in John come from chapter 15 that mention the vine and the branch and the work of the “Vinedresser”, (our Father.)  The forearming that we can anticipate is not only found by remaining in tact to the Vine (Jesus, through whom we get our marching orders and life truths through the Holy Spirit) but also we head to Ephesians 6 and we learn about daily putting on our armour.

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“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

Ephesians 6:13-18 (ESV)

There really is no excuse to get caught unprepared for each new day with its surprises good and or not so!

Father, I can’t believe that sometimes I forget I don’t have to go around bared to the enemy of my soul without a covering. Lord, help me to get properly dressed each day so that I won’t be subject to defeat–whether minor skirmishes or a total wipeout.  In You, I have everything necessary to walk in victory for Your name and Your glory, Amen.

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I’ll Do It Myself!

When my heart says ‘I can do this on my own’, that old spirit of independence rises once again inside of me insisting that I don’t need anyone, because I am able to do this on my own. Maybe you have dealt with that little song in your head that the enemy likes to play so you won’t ask for help!

Matthew 1129I don’t know about you but I have a couple of generations of strong-minded, independent spirits in my family line and I have to say the line continues (much to my dismay.) Therefore, I now see that this isn’t where God desires for me would be. And to top it all off I see it as a huge stumbling block in coming to Christ. God must be amused when He sees us travailing in our own strength or frustrated because we have taken matters in our own hands instead of placing our situations into His. Paul gives us this wonderful Scripture in Philippians 4:13…

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

And this should be a reminder that we weren’t created to go it alone!

Think of a yoke and the purpose it serves…for two animals to be able to work as one. But an independent spirit rises up and says I don’t want to be yoked to anyone else. Then Jesus comes along and says to us…

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me…” Matthew 11:29

Seems to me that Jesus encourages us to be yoked to Himself and by doing so we learn to not only be dependent… Click To Tweet And isn’t that where we should be on the ‘life journey’ we are traveling?

What is it that prevents you from asking for help whether from others or God?

So today, I am going to resist thinking I can do it myself and trust that God will provide a way in each situation that will accomplish not just getting the job done but also getting it done in His timing and His way. Today, I am going to lay down my pride, admitting that I do need help and that I can’t always do it on my own! As I have seen the freedom that comes in being conjoined to Jesus and allowing Him to work in and through me, I have asked why, why did I try doing this alone? And even, wow, I couldn’t do this on my own! We were meant to be dependent upon Him!

Lord, I can sure get in the way of all You desire to accomplish. Today I pray for those I know who are struggling to admit they need Your help. Thank You for the sweet freedom and peace that comes from letting go and allowing You to take the reins of my life. Let the outflow be a picture of peace as I willingly lean upon You in all things, in Jesus Name.

Walking in Truth

Paul to the church:

  • Romans 1:7  “…to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints:…”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:2b  “…to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:…”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:1b  “…to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:…”
  • Ephesians 1b  “…to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:…”
  • Philippians 1b  ”… To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi…”

If you were alive in the first century and part of the early church, Paul would be addressing you as saint!  Saint Ann, Saint Kimberly, Saint Zachary, Saint Mary, etc.  How does that resonate with you?  I am certain that for some of you it sits well.  But if you are like me, this really seemed unreal.  Forget it; I’m far from a saint!  You see, Paul was addressing the church family in the reality of who they were because they had been washed in the Blood of Christ!  When I ponder this, I stand amazed and honestly, it took me a long time to appropriate this mindset, and feel comfortable with its implications. 

For some of us it has been a long and winding journey traveling the pathway to receive forgiveness from God and then round and around the mountain until I could forgive myself.  That is why it seemed just too odd to be referred to as a “saint.” I know that I can’t rely on my feelings or nothing makes sense! So let’s do some extensive traveling around and about the truth, because this is where we need to camp out.  I want to examine truth and dispute the erroneous thinking around which we may allow our minds to wind.  We are going to see how our emotionally driven thinking can keep us from walking in the truth. 

Dr. Neal Anderson (Freedom in Christ Ministry) reminds us that we are saints who sometimes sin.  I am hoping that at the end of this particular journey you will be willing to embrace your ‘sainthood’ so to speak, and not push it away as I did. It is vital to understand our identity in Christ and receive it.  So on to some truth, and I will refer to Dr. Anderson often because of the impact his material and understanding had in my life as I grew to understand my identity in Christ. 

Let me start with a description of the meaning of stronghold:

Tire Ruts Jen lincs UK
Jen Lincs UK

“…habitual, mental patterns of thought.  These strongholds are memory traces burned into our minds over time or by the intensity of traumatic experiences…They are formed in our minds like deep tire tracks in a wet pasture: After the ruts have been established over time, the driver doesn’t even have to steer anymore—and any attempt to steer out of the ruts is met with resistance.” 

This should help us to understand that we do not just flip a switch and recover from skewed thinking over night.  The truth is there for us but we now have to form new ways of thinking and processing based on the truth of God’s Word.  Here is something to ponder as we consider our positioning of being called saints and believers in Christ, and we will camp here for a bit.

2 Corinthians 10: 3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”

Using the analogy of the tire ruts, we cannot deny that we all have patterns in which we habitually walk. Some are good but some are detrimental to our spiritual growth.  The really amazing thing about this walk is that, as  believers, we have not been thrown into the ring with the lions (so to speak) without appropriate weapons for the battle. The Scripture tells us that we have been given weapons for our battles that are divinely powerful to take down and destroy the fortresses (strongholds) that we have unconsciously built in our minds. 

Next, the Scripture tells us that we can pit truth against error by weighing the truth found in God’s Word against the erroneous thinking that has embedded itself in our minds.  “What does God’s Word have to say about who I am?”  In God’s word it says that because I am in Christ I am a new creature, I am righteous and sanctified.  But the battle begins when I dispute that truth…“No way; I am certainly not” or no, “I could never be because I _______…” (you fill in the blank.)  It is here that we do the warring in our minds and, as the verse above says, we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!  Now the victory is ours when we make the choice to appropriate what the Word says about who we are and walk in that calling as a saint. Do we do it without error?  Of course not, but turn that wheel firmly and pull out of the rut of wrong thinking and untruth to form the new pathway of truth. 

Someone I love very much says that they are a Christian yet continues to live a homosexual lifestyle. I realize that it is easy for me to think that if they would only see themselves the way God sees them then they could leave that lifestyle behind.  Another loved one has sought after attention by doing lots of wrong things and behaving in wrong ways. This has made for a very dysfunctional life for them.  My heart’s cry is that they and others like them would  see themselves as God sees them, being made in His image.  I cannot help but think what a difference this could make if they would only see themselves through the Word of life.  Not that there would be no struggles and temptations because we know from the Paul’s words “…For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do…” from Romans 7. 

Realistically speaking here, if we measured every thought about who we are with God’s Word, we might see that what we do or what is lived out is based on what we believe about ourselves. There is some similarity here to the positive thinking process but if we believe in Christ and His redemption on our behalf on the cross, then we should be well on our way to walking as children in the light. Our actions must be the response to the way we see ourselves in light of the Word! Dr. Neil Anderson says that “…satan would like you to believe that your behavior tells you what to believe about yourself, but the truth is that your belief about yourself determines your behavior!” 

Here is a great verse to memorize:

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who called you is faithful and also will do it.”   1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24

Father God, things can sure get mixed up in my thinking and I do forget that as Your child I have received sanctification, redemption and the right to put satan and his lies under my feet.  He has done a good job in keeping me from living the abundant life for way too long. Today let me know and believe that my identity is in You and with Christ in me I no longer have to live and walk in darkness. You have called me out of that darkness to live in and be Your light.  Let me absorb all the truth Your Word has to say about who I am as a new creature in Christ and let my walk show to Whom it is I belong to.  Thank You for loving me and for the privilege of being Your child!

God’s Amazing Grace

At one point I found myself reading through Paul’s book of Romans. I confess that I haven’t been there for quite a while and upon revisiting especially chapters 6-12 I have been halted for further contemplation. 

The first week found me intrigued by Chapter six and pondering the marvelous grace of God yet the warning (in Paul’s fashion) to not take advantage of it! With an aire of sarcasm he says, “what shall we say then? and, what then?” several times to get our attention. Followed by the phrase, “may it never be!” Below are some of his well known quips to help us understand that by God’s grace our sins are covered but not so that we can continue in sin but so that we can be free from the bondage of sin. (From NASB)

:1,2 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

:12-14 “There fore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts…but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”

:15 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!”

I like the wrap here. Paul says that we are to be obedient from the heart. God knows the heart doesn’t He. We can’t hide a thing from Him. We can ‘do’ all the right stuff we want but unless our heart’s motive is pure it doesn’t mean nothing. 

One of my weaknesses is dealing with the issue of food and how it affects my body. I honestly enjoy food and the tastes it has to offer.  But, I have struggled with weight issues even as a kid and since my early 30’s. It is a struggle but over the years I am working on taking off the poundage I have acquired along the way. 

In later years as part of my weekly ritual of being involved in a prayer and worship night on Tuesdays, I would fast. I believe in fasting and it really is an incredible thing when done with a pure motive, but I have done it with and without pure motives. When the Lord spoke to me one morning as I was preparing to begin my fast (sometimes no food, sometimes fruit, or sometimes no evening meal) He simply said to my spirit that I was really fasting to maintain my weight instead of to seek and draw closer to Him liked I tried to maintain.  This was a real slap because I had reasoned it out that I was doing a very godly thing by denying my food for the day. To have my Father tell me that it has many times been for the wrong reasons was like, well, getting busted. I was rather amazed at how this ‘good’ thing became sin because I was not doing it for its original intent. So how could Kimberly, who died to sin still live in it? How contrived we can become! 

Well, the lesson here is that I need to check my reasons for doing what I do. I was doing a good thing that became a tool to help keep my weight in check and to ‘look good’ or impress those who observed my denial. Wrong motive! I was so embarrassed by the obvious game I was playing with myself and God that I have been very hesitant to fast since then and I don’t very often as a matter of fact. I know that God has forgiven me and really, I am grateful He did! I was becoming enslaved to sin. And here is the beauty of God’s amazing grace, by my own admission of that sin, God has gently corrected me and helped me to move beyond it so that when I do fast it truly is for the right reasons. God is glorified when I am operate out of obedience and a desire to present myself as a living sacrifice. I still have a long way to go in regard to my eating issues as I learn to eat to live and not live to eat but that is just part of the process that I am going through to be more Christ-like.

Here is the basis of my gleaning in Romans six:

obedience = righteousness (right standing with God)

righteousness = sanctification (set apart for God)

sanctification = eternal life (to be forever with my King) 

Chapter six concludes beautifully stating that we have been freed from sin, and enslaved to God (whom we willing serve with a pure heart) with the outcome of our obedience being eternal life.

Lord, I thank you for your amazing grace that sets us free from the life we live in sin. This process that we must endure hurts especially when the truth is pointed out and we have been living enslaved to something that doesn’t glorify You. I love the final verse of chapter six where Paul tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I don’t understand it all completely but I am getting a glimpse the picture and I just ask that You would continue to show me when I am not serving You with a pure heart. I love You Father and I want Your smile when You look at me and I love what Paul Young put in his book “The Shack” when he wrote of You saying that You are particularly fond of that one.” May ‘that one’ be me!

Love, Your girl!