Sunday, March 17, 2019

Battle of the Mind - Sober Minded

Hello everyone,

Proverbs 25:28 says, “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.”  Every child of God has the responsibility to take charge over what he allows to influence his life. Failure to guard our minds and govern our thoughts will leave us vulnerable and defenceless to the devil. 

But fortifying our minds with the truth of God’s Word and being alert to the traps and lies of our enemy, we experience the peace, protection and blessing God has for us. 

We’ve come to the final part of our series on the battle of the mind.  Thanks to some experts on the subject - we have been able to draw good understanding on the soul, and great practical wisdom on how to guard it against the devil’s attack.  

1 John 4:4 is brilliant news for us!  It puts everything into the right perspective, in fact, it shows us that victory is assured from the onset, because of Who lives inside us!  It reads, “Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.”

Jesus has done His part, now it’s up to us to do ours.  1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us where to begin.  It says we are to be sober minded and vigilant, and to withstand the enemy by being firm in faith

To be sober minded means we have decided to not be controlled by our emotions, but to think clearly and seriously, and not let our guard down when it comes to making choices and facing challenges in life.

Easier said than done?  I’ve thought about this, and I’ve come to realise that if we are in the habit of being in the Word, it’s truth becomes engraved in our hearts and minds.  It actually becomes that anchor for our souls.  So when everything around us seems to be in chaos, or falling apart - there is a firm, strong sense of knowing inside us that’s stabilising us and keeping us from being overwhelmed.  

Now it’s at this very point where we make a choice to either listen to that truth, or be distracted by, and pay attention to what we are hearing, or seeing in the natural.  Peter tells us to make that deliberate choice to be sober minded.  In other words, choose to pay attention to that truth you have planted in your heart - let it be your compass and your anchor right now!  Don’t react, don’t let your shocked emotions take over, rather be still and lean on that foundation that’s already been established in your soul - and do what it’s telling you to do.

Deuteronomy 30:14 says, “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your mind and in your heart, so that you can do it.”  Take a look at what Colossians 2:7 says, “Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.”  What a powerful scripture, in fact both of these pretty much sum up and confirm what Peter is telling us to do by being sober minded, vigilant, and firm in faith.  Now, the word rooted in Colossians 2:7, describes how God’s truth being firmly and deeply established in us, makes us fixed, steady, stable and strong, no matter what opposition comes against us.

So, Peter is telling us that by being sober minded, vigilant, and withstanding the enemy by being firm in faith, we are in fact building a strong wall of defence and resistance around our souls.  Making it extremely difficult for the enemy to gain any entrance into our lives, and personal affairs.

Recently, during my studies on this subject, I listened to a teaching by Rick Renner, where he mentioned seven practical steps he personally uses every day to build and reinforce his wall of resistance to the enemy’s attack.  I was so blessed by what he said, and I really felt it would benefit you too, so I’m going to run through a few of them with you in the remainder of this letter, and the next. I encourage you to look Rick Renner up on YouTube and watch his teaching called “How to construct a wall of defence” - it’ll be well worth your time.

So, here is the first of some practical steps to build a wall of resistance against the enemy:

  1. Spend time with the Lord every morning!
The moment your eyes open in the morning - look to Jesus!  Immediately, put your attention on Him.  It just takes one thought or one sentence to acknowledge Him - but that one small gesture sets the tone for your entire day.  Then, get up, and find a quiet place where you can be alone with Him.  This doesn’t have to be long at all - but it must be enough time to have His thoughts influence yours.  That’s because how you begin your day will determine if you are reinforced in faith to withstand any attack during the day.  

Psalms 5:3 says, “In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].”  Have His Word build a fresh confidence inside you as you dedicate your day to the Lord before it begins!  Use a bible reading plan or a daily devotion book if you want - as long as it’s by a ministry that believes in the Word of faith and the active involvement and ministry of the Holy Spirit.  

Once you’ve started your day this way, you’ve already made it difficult for the devil to penetrate your mind and emotionsIn fact, throughout your day, allow your thoughts to ponder on the truth you’ve read.  This will reinforce and strengthen that wall of defence, making it a stronger resistance to any lies the enemy tries to penetrate your mind with.  

Starting your day this way sets you on the right path for the rest of the day.  Next week we’ll look at the other practical steps that will help keep us on this good path throughout the day - keeping our minds sober, vigilant and firm in faith to withstand the enemy!

All my love,


Jenny

Monday, March 11, 2019

Battle of the Mind - How to Resist Negative Thoughts

Hello everyone,

We left off our previous discussion concerning the battle of the mind, with God’s strategy on how to stand up to the devil and push him out of our lives.  

We saw how James 4:7 says, “So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.”  

I told you the meaning of the word submit, and how it means to agree with and surrender to an acknowledged higher authority. One translation even says it means to hide behind someone’s back, showing there is protection in submission.

This brought us to understand that being completely surrendered to the protection and safety of the Lord - in our intimate relationship with Him, is the position from which we resist the devil.  

Remember, I said that the word resist means to stand against. It’s a military term that suggests a pre-planned resistance, or a well thought out strategy we can use to chase the devil out, and keep him out of our lives.

Let’s see what 1 Peter 5:9 says, “Withstand him (the devil); be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.”

This is how we resist the devil.  We must become steadfast, firmly rooted, established, determined, and immovable in the faith!  In other words, we must reinforce ourselves  in faith!  Now, we know that faith comes from hearing, and meditating, and studying the Word of God.  But it can’t be a mechanical process where we aren’t connected in the Spirit of God, to the truth of the Word.  

As I’ve mentioned before in this series, we must embrace God’s truth with our entire soul - not just agreeing with it in our thoughts, but our emotions and free will must be completely sold out to it too.  We receive God’s Word into our lives because we love it as we love Him.  

The Word must become an intricate part of our lifestyle, not an added program or after thought.  Giving ourselves completely to the Word as our vital necessity, through the Holy Spirit leading and teaching and making it alive and real to us - this is how we establish ourselves in it to withstand and resist the devil.

This is how we not only kick him out, but we construct a solid, impenetrable wall of defence around our minds - keeping him out.  

When we know what is in the Word, any thought the enemy puts in our minds that is contrary to it will stand out like a sore thumb.  It’s as though loud sounding alarms will go off inside us - because those incorrect thoughts will be so foreign to the truth we have been meditating on and settling in our minds.  

This is the very moment the devil is caught out.  We instantly recognise the origin of that thought and know its purpose.  So we take it captive, we tell the devil we know it is a lie and since it is violating God’s Word, and we belong to God - it has no place in our lives.  And we reject that thought and throw it right back at the devil.  

We outright declare that in the Name of Jesus, we will not accept it into our lives.  And immediately, we replace that stinking lie, with the truth.  For instance, if the devil knows you have been vulnerable in the past in the area of condemnation, he’ll keep trying to penetrate your life through thoughts of low self worth, or guilt.  

But since you have decided to submit yourself to God and you are establishing yourself in the Word, you’ll recognise the lie, and the the Holy Spirit will remind you of what God says about it.  He will remind you of the verse you had been meditating on in Romans 8:1 that says, “THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.”

Let me tell you, by this time, the devil will not only be completely defenceless, he will be shaking in terror.  Why?  Because he is a law breaker, and has been caught red handed.  The Bible says that when we resist him like this, he doesn’t just shrug his shoulders and slowly turn around and look the other way.  

No, it says he flees from us!  That word flee means to run like one who is fearful of prosecution - like a law breaker who is caught and fears punishment!  He knows that if he sticks around one moment longer, this blood bought, fearless, child of God, Who is submitted to God and established in His Word will do more damage to him and his kingdom than he ever bargained for.  He will run for his life!

And that is how we resist the devil - kicking him out and keeping him out our lives!  

Next week I want to begin sharing some wonderful, practical steps on how to build a secure  wall of defence around your mind to constantly protect it from any attack for the enemy!  Until then, submit yourself to the Lord, give yourself to studying His Word of truth, and  make the devil regret ever thinking about messing with your mind!

All my love,

Jenny








Sunday, March 3, 2019

Battle of the Mind - Stand Up to the Devil!

Hello everyone,

Have you ever found yourself facing a circumstance that has left you feeling hopeless, or perhaps driven you to a place of despair?  What would you say if I told you your circumstance does not have the power to define you, or your future?  That no matter how difficult or wretched your situation may seem, it doesn’t have to determine who you are now, or the person you will be in the future. 

Since we’ve been doing a study on the battle of the mind, I’ve learnt some remarkable truths from the Word.  Yes, we do have an enemy, the devil, who is relentless in his pursuit to destroy all hope and peace and joy in our lives.  But we also have a Saviour Who has overcome him and his power to harm us. Jesus has made it possible for us to not only be protected from the enemy’s onslaught, but to push him back and cause him to flee from us in fear.

No matter how we may have come to be in the challenging circumstances we face, whether by our own doing, or not - there is a way for us to overcome and rise above victoriously.  And in the next two letters I want to show you how.  Throughout this series, I’ve been referring to material that I found from Dr. Michelle Strydom, Katie Souza, and Rick Renner’s teaching on the subject.  

What I’m trying to explain, is that there is a a way we can stand up to the devil and build a wall of defence around our minds to keep him out.  There is a strategy to set him on the run, so we can continuously remain victorious and free from hopelessness and despair.

Now, in the previous letters we learnt how cracks in the personal walls of our lives give the devil legal access to not only steal from us, but torment us, and destroy our hope.  These cracks could be areas in our past where we violated a spiritual law or principle.  They could also be caused from the way we responded to an attack that was spiritually manipulated and launched against us. Our emotions could have spun out of control where we blindly lashed out in grief or anger. Many times a traumatic experience can leave us emotionally shattered and broken, forming wounds in our souls. We could have been so overcome with fear, or hurt, that we chose to align our thoughts with ideas and lies that are contrary to God’s Word of truth.

Either way, it’s important for us to understand that if we allow him to, the devil will push us around and manipulate us with thoughts that instil mistrust, worry and fear.   Not only do these negative thoughts dominate our attention, they form negative strongholds in our minds.  Attached to those thoughts are dangerous emotions, that trigger off and release toxic chemicals making our physical bodies sick.

Praise God, for Jesus!  His blood is more than powerful to cover over every wound and sickness, and heal us.  Once we have repented and surrendered our lives anew, it’s time to move forward in victory.  We can stand up to the devil, cast him right out our affairs and build a wall of defence to keep him out, making us free from his hold over us.

Since we are familiar with repenting and by faith, believing our past is under the blood of Jesus; let’s talk about standing up to the devil and casting him out of our affairs. 

James 4:7 says, “So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.”  

Now, the word submit means to agree with and surrender to an acknowledged higher authority. One translation says it means to hide behind someone’s back, showing there is protection in submission.

In other words, before we stand up to and resist the devil, this is the position the Bible tells us to take.  We completely surrender to the protection and safety of our Saviour.  We find ourselves tucked in, close up against Him, and under His covering of love and the protection of His Presence.  

Then, in that position of confidence in the One Who covers us, we resist the devil.  The word resist means to stand against.  It speaks of a military terms that suggests a pre- planned resistance.  Don’t you just love that phrase?  A pre-planned resistance.  In other words, a well thought out strategy.  One that I’m going to share with you in next weeks letter.

But for now, understand that in order for you to walk in your emotional freedom and physical healing from the sickness that came from the wounds in your soul; repentance is only the first step.  

You must decide to find your identity in Christ again. Spend quality time with the Holy Spirit surrendering to His Presence, while you saturate your mind in the promises of God’s Word.  This is how you are going to find yourself in that position of being fully submitted to God, a place from which you can confidently stand against the devil and push him right out of your personal affairs.

Katie Souza, founder of Expected End Ministries, has some powerful teachings on how to soak your soul in the healing Presence of Jesus, while the promises of His Word saturate your mind.  If you are needing to move forward in your freedom and healing, I recommend looking her up on YouTube, her ministry is powerful.  

As I mentioned, in next weeks letter we are going to look at the Bible’s pre-planned resistance strategy - making sure the devil keeps out your personal life.

Much love,

Jenny


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Battle of the Mind - Am I losing my Mind?

Hello everyone,

Many of us, at one time or other have been so overwhelmed by our circumstances that we just can’t see the wood for the trees anymore.  It’s as though the pressure of what we’re facing just doesn’t let up, as we’re constantly bombarded by opposing thoughts leaving us feeling confused and out of control, to the extent that we wonder if we’re loosing our minds.  

Well, that’s exactly what the devil wants you to feel, in fact he is constantly and relentlessly working to get you to that point of distress and discouragement.  Why?Because when our minds and emotions are in turmoil and distress, our faith is inoperative and even our physical bodies begin to work against us.  A faithless, fretful child of God is no threat to the devil, in fact, in that state, we are easy prey to his wiles and deception.

I understand that there is much controversy today, even in the church, concerning the devil.  Some teachings circulating even suggest that neither he, nor hell exists.  But the Bible makes it perfectly clear that there is a very real and cunning adversary, called the devil, who is bent on taking us down.  Both Jesus and Paul spent much time urging us to constantly be vigilant and on the look out for his undermining schemes.  They called him the enemy of our souls, and for good reason.  

It’s true the Bible teaches us that through the finished work of the cross, Jesus dealt with the devil’s destructive power to harm us, and if we are living in Christ, we have no reason to ever fear him (the devil).  However, we do have to be wide awake and aware of his nature and agenda concerning us, in order to not give him a legal foothold or access into our lives.  If we do, we can be sure he will be relentless in his pursuit to make our lives a misery and ultimately destroy us.

Be Aware of His Nature

Let’s take a look at what Jesus told us about the character of our enemy, the devil.  In the first part of John 10:10, Jesus describes his nature.  He says he is a thief who comes to steal.  He doesn’t say he is like a thief, he says he is one.  Don’t take it personally, this is his nature and he simply can’t care less about who he steals from, he just does, as long as we allow him to.  

Jesus goes on to describe the devil as someone who kills.  Now, interestingly enough, this word kill, in John 10:10, doesn’t just mean kill in the terms we would think. When I looked up what Greek scholar Rick Renner had to say on the subject, I was amazed to learn that the Greek translation for this attribute of the devil - means something quite different to what we may think.

It actually a religious term that means to sacrifice. In other words, it speaks of surrendering or giving up something that not only belongs to you, but is also valuable to you. This is something the devil is pretty skilled at persuading people to do, since the time in the Garden of Eden.  

You see, if he can’t get it right to outright steal from you, he will twist or manipulate words to make it sound as though your ‘giving up’ what rightfully belongs to you, is a righteous act, or God’s idea.  Which compels you give it up quite willingly.  Let me give you an example.  

We know that Jesus Christ went to the cross and endured so much suffering so that we could receive healing from every disease.  Matthew 10:1 says, “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal ALL kinds of sickness and ALL kinds of disease.”  He said that He is the Lord, our God, our healer and that by His stripes, we are healed. 1 Peter 2: 24 says, “ He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree[as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”

But the devil has managed to convince some Christians that sickness can sometimes be God’s way of teaching us a lesson, or that He is glorified in our suffering.  If we truly know the word of God and His nature, as the scriptures reveal it to us, there should be no doubt in our minds concerning this issue.  In fact, once we have a revelation of how good God is and the power of the finished work of the cross, we would find such comments or opinions laughable.  Yet the devil has still managed to cleverly convince many of God’s children to sacrifice, and willingly give up their fight of faith concerning their healing, convincing them that the sickness they have is God’s will for them.

Once the devil has stolen from you, or cunningly convinced you to willingly give up what is rightfully yours to him, he moves right in to destroy your life.  The Greek word used for this means to ruin, unravel or devastate.  This is his agenda for every child of God, and if we are not careful to recognise his lies and deceit, we will be caught off guard and fall for his treachery. 

Don’t Give Your Adversary Legal Access 

Do you remember I’ve mentioned that if we give the devil legal access, he will get inside our personal affairs to torment and destroy us?  So, how do we give him legal access to do that?

In 1 Peter 5:8, we are told that he is our adversary.  Now the definition of an adversary is a lawyer who argues in a court of law, or a prosecuting attorney who argues vehemently against the accused.  He is an accuser who attempts to bring a guilty charge against a person on the basis of information from past actions or deeds, or some legal violation.

The devil is known as the accuser of the brethren.  He always takes past actions where we violated a spiritual law and uses it against us, using it to access our personal affairs and cause us trouble.  He is relentless in searching for a loop hole in our lives, and like a prosecuting attorney, he will try to use any evidence to prosecute us and take us down.

Common Sense Examples of Practical Violations

I’m going to refer to something I learnt from Rick Renner’s teaching on this subject.  He mentioned some common sense examples of practical violations in our lives where we give the enemy legal right to harm us.  One is credit card abuse.  When we don’t keep control of our spending, we can easily get into financial problems relating to debt.  

That isn’t the devil’s fault, it’s ours, but our negligence and irresponsibility opens the door for the enemy to aggravate and accentuate the problem. We open the door and he takes advantage of the situation and leads it to something that spirals out of control.  

The same is true for us being careless with our eating habits.  Here the end result could be obesity or diabetes, again, we opened the door by our negligence, and he didn’t waste the opportunity to reek havoc.  

What about our marriage relationship?  If we choose to not spend regular, quality time with our spouse, it’s very easy to create distance between us. Once again, our negligence opens the door for every temptation that would lure us apart from each other.  

Heres one we can all relate to - neglecting to obey God’s financial principles. Not bringing our tithe, or neglecting to be generous, or not giving with a cheerful, faith filled attitude will certainly stop the hand of God moving in the area of our finances.  We can blame the devil all we want, but we were the ones who invited him to bring lack into our lives by our own disobedience or ignorance.

Here’s one last one I’ll share with you. It concerns our children. When we aren’t consistent in raising our children by the principles in God’s Word, we invite rebellion right into our homes.  Children who have no respect for authority usually come from homes where parents were inconsistent in their discipline, or didn’t discipline in love.

I’ve given you more than enough to think about when it comes to ways we give the enemy access into our lives. The good news is, next week, I want to show you how in spite of the devil’s intentions, we have everything we need to flourish and thrive in life!  We are going to speak about how we can build a wall of defence against his attacks and continuously keep him out of our personal affairs!  Until then, keep your eyes open and don’t give him any legal reason to mess with your life!

All my love,

Jenny



Saturday, February 16, 2019

Battle of the Mind - Renew Your Mind

Hello everyone,

In our “Battle of the Mind” series, we have spoken about the importance of paying attention to what we are thinking, because our thoughts are a vital part of forming who we are every day.  We also saw how thoughts we agree with and meditate on, become constructed thoughts called strongholds. These strongholds determine what we believe to be true, and influence our emotions and choices in life.  

That’s why it’s so very necessary to recognise the source of our thoughts.  Thoughts that are contrary to the truth of God’s Word should be given no place in our lives, while those that align with the Word are keepers!  

Today I want to speak about the process of renewing our minds to the truth of God’s Word and how it can fortify our minds, protecting us from the devil’s attempts to destroy us. This leads to a lifestyle where we are influenced, dominated and controlled by the Holy Spirit, instead of by the devil. 

Remember, the devil uses thoughts to influence our emotions and manipulate our free will, but a mind renewed to the Word of God doesn’t give him a chance to get a foothold in our lives.  Once again - this is a lifestyle choice that results in lasting life and peace in every area of our lives, and it has everything to do with who has control of our minds!

Let’s take another look at 2 Corinthians 10:4,5, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” NKJ
We have already established that the strongholds Paul is referring to here, are established thoughts or mindsets we’ve chosen to accept and agree upon. Before we take a look at the negative strongholds he was referring to, let’s focus on the strongholds that are good and healthy for us.  Both are constructed in the very same way.
Interestingly, the Greek word for stronghold in 2 Corinthians 10:4,5, means fortress or castle.  We can see why Paul chose this word to describe thoughts that have become established in our minds.  
In ancient times, fortresses were often built on top of high hills with exceptionally thick and high walls, making it impossible for invaders to penetrate.  They were designed to keep outsiders out!  
Now, when we agree with a particular scripture or principle found in God’s Word, and meditate on it, it becomes a constructed thought. The more we meditate on this thought, the more  convinced we become of it being the ultimate truth.  This is called a biblical stronghold within our minds that the devil cannot penetrate.  
In other words, we are so convinced of this truth, that any thought that comes into our minds that opposes it, we immediately disregard and refuse to give it the time of day.  Why?  Because we know it’s nonsense and doesn’t warrant an ounce of our attention.   That fiery dart the enemy just hurled our way was extinguished before it even hit its mark against our safely, fortified minds.
Let me give you a personal example of this.  When I first gave my life to the Lord, there were times I would really battle with condemnation.  I didn’t understand that there was a difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and condemnation of the devil. If I did something wrong, I would immediately feel remorse and repent, but it would take so long to shrug off that heavy feeling of guilt and shame.  
It seemed to take forever to get past that feeling of self-loathing so that I could boldly and confidently speak to the Lord again.  Then, the day I heard and understood Romans 8:1, which says, “THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.”  my relationship with Jesus took a revolutionary change!  
Suddenly the truth hit me like a giant, cannon ball of joy exploding inside my heart and mind!  I understood that God’s forgiveness carries no regret or heaviness.  Once we’ve repented, He doesn’t hold that sin against us.  I could see that whenever I made a sinful choice, because I had His nature, I would immediately be convicted in my spirit about it, recognising it as wrong. 
Then, going straight to the Lord with that shame and laying it at His feet, completely freed my mind from having to carry the weight of that guilt.  The moment I released it to the Lord, I was free from it!  
Any heaviness of heart or condemnation over it was not from God, it was the devil trying to make me feel unworthy.  This truth became an established stronghold in my mind that after one or two more failed attempts on the devil’s part, to try put that condemnation on me, he just gave up trying.   
This biblical stronghold will constantly protect me from the devil’s lie of condemnation, and he won’t get access into my life where it’s concerned.
Now the word of God is full of truth, just like the one I’ve shared, that is able to protect our minds and keep us free from the devil’s lies and tactics to destroy us.
I mentioned how in ancient times those fortresses were built to keep intruders out.  Did you know that later on, many fortresses became modified to hold prisoners within their walls.  They had dungeons that were designed to keep their captives in!  When we believe the devils lies – due to an ignorance of God’s word, we create negative strongholds or constructed thoughts that hold us captive and in bondage.
If we just took the time to renew our minds to God’s Word, we would be able to pull down every negative stronghold that we allowed into our minds from the past.  We can detoxify those poisonous lies of the devil and cause them to have no effect, the moment we replace them with the truth of God’s Word.
Next week we’ll take a look at what the Word says the enemies strategy is against us, preventing us from being caught off guard, ever again! 
Much love,
Jen