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The Path of Life (with Chart)

Computer crashed this weekend, so not able to do much online until I’m back up. However, A reader asked me to expand on my testimony, the one included in the Core Lies book. I include it here for anyone else it may benefit?

One day I realized that if I was to overcome the past and become the new me in practice, I had to get intentional.

God had shown me that the root of my issue was core lies. This is true of each one of us because a lie is the only tool the enemy has…but how to identify them and where to begin? I had no idea where to start, except with the junk that was coming out- my emotions and how I was feeling. All the turmoil and the expressions of anger, grief, fear, panic, etc were actually outflows of beliefs. And obviously, those beliefs were lies because they were not expressions of peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, kindness, self control, and the other Spirit fruits.

It took some time and hard work, but I began reflecting upon my emotional outflows. I began to identify why I would lash out (even if just internally, like someone cut me off in traffic I would feel angry. I asked myself why? Why is that such a big deal? The answer is that I felt my security threatened. I felt my safety and worth wasn’t valued by another.)

So I really got serious about deciphering my emotions and what they were telling me. Surprisingly enough (or not), they were telling me what I believed, and I was believing a whole slew of lies! About God and His nature, my worth, my abilities, my needs, etc.

I was off to a great start. Identifying the source of negative outflows was a huge accomplishment, but God and I weren’t done yet. I was going to have to start stemming the flow of gunk and tap into a different source, the River of life.

That always means war.

The enemy strikes hard and when it comes time to fight, who can win without a weapon?

“Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears. So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan…” I Samuel 13:19,22

Yet surely God has given us weapons of warfare, weapons for the tearing down of strongholds, even those inherited from the forefathers. The word of truth is our weapon! After identifying source lies, I was in a position to begin preparing very specific and thus very effective weapons.

This step was and is crucial to victory.

So I found some scriptures that applied very directly to my source lies, words of truth that counteracted the poison. However, I kept being defeated. I kept finding myself responding in anger or withdrawing from relationship or giving in to panic and fear.

I was at a stalemate. What to do?

I realized that the moment I became aware of negative internal emotions was the moment I needed to do battle…but that was not when I was strong. I was weak at the very moment I needed to be strongest! The best way to prepare for these times was to give myself a “cheat sheet.”

At the moment of battle, I was weak and confused and left floundering. But I wasn’t accepting that as final!

I sat down and wrote out a game plan, a cheat sheet, a strategy for victory for when the battle was on. I included a little pep talk for why this was so important, a reminder as to why it was worth the fight. My cheat sheet was called “The Path of Life.”

It was clear that I would have to machete my way through, but finally I had the tools to do it. God was working in me both to will and to work.

So when I became aware of one of my internal emotions, say a gnawing, irrational fear, I would immediately go to my chart, look up and name the lie I was up against, declare war, and would begin reciting the truth. I would thank God for the truths that counteracted the lie and praise Him for His good character.

I still do this, though thankfully, my cheat sheet came down many months ago from my cork board where I kept it. None of us will ever outgrow spiritual warfare and combating lies. But we will grow in our ability to discern them and defeat them quickly.

“The mature…because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14

Practice. It’s the key word.

Sometimes we give in to laziness because practice is hard work. It just seems easier to go with the flow and hope for the best. But once you understand the death and destruction your thoughts and inner beliefs are causing, you find the motivation to start practicing!

I am including my “cheat sheet” here for anyone who is interested. Your issues, lies, emotions, etc will be different, but this may provide you with an idea for making your own. If you do make your own, will you email me a copy? I would love to learn from you and perhaps I can share here with others?

God bless you, sisters (and brothers?) I am praying today for you who read these words to be strengthened and encouraged in your faith walk…

Path of Life Chart (Cheat Sheet)

Injecting Mud

It didn’t  start out that way. It never does.

At first, she just didn’t feel good- ever.

When she talked to family and friends about it, they brushed her off and told her she was fine. Eventually they told her she was paranoid- a freak- “so stop talking about it already.”

She went to the doctor. In his stoic, professional manner, he let her know she was healthy…at least her body was. Her mind?…

The shame and condemnation she began to feel from others for a problem she couldn’t identify began to stoop her shoulders. The messages were sublte: “You’re crazy.”

“Worthless. Nobody believes you. Nobody cares.”

“You’re about as valuable as mud.”

Mud.

Mud. Mud. Mud.

The word became a chain, slipped silently around her soul, and squeezed the color of life from her being.

Slowly. Ever so deadly.

She got a wild idea that maybe she should get some mud.

She did.

Maybe she should put it in a vial.

She did.

Maybe she should carry it in her purse.

She did.

Maybe she should inject it, just a little.

She did.

She began injecting mud.

Anytime she felt worthless, she would inject a little bit, reaffirming her value. “You’re dirt. Maybe you’ll kill yourself and do everyone a favor.”

Her body began to respond to the poisons she was pumping into her system. She lost feeling, suffered from nerve damage. Her already deteriorating health worsened- she couldn’t climb stairs and limped when she walked.

When I read her story in the comment section on a ministry site, my heart almost stopped. How I longed to rescue her from the lies- the poison- that ensnared her!

She was asking for help. Was it too late for her? After all she had done to her body, would God still give her a chance? Could God forgive her?

Even now, nearly a year later, I cry. I’ve asked the same thing. I’ve believed deadly lies- injected poison- and I’ve done terrible things to myself and others and I’m the outcast who is worthy of shame, contempt, rejection. Mud.

And the last lie of them all is the deadliest, intended to be the final blow to the soul: “Even God doesn’t want you.”

But God…

But God…But God…But God!

But God, when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, made us alive together with Christ- for by grace we have been saved.

Maybe you’ve never injected mud. Maybe your spiritual veins are squeaky clean and you shudder and run from the thought of such darkness. Good for you.

But maybe someone reading this relates. Maybe someone isn’t so clean and wonders if God can forgive you?

My friend, He has.

Those aren’t Sunday School words, they are words spoken by the Someone Himself who left the glory of heaven to dwell in dirt. He came down not just to speak those words but to prove He meant them.

He said it. Woman your sins are forgiven you.”

He lived it. “..Forgiving one another even as God, in Christ Jesus has forgiven you.”

He gave it. “In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

He died it. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

And then, just to make sure we got it, He proved it. “He was delivered over because of our transgression but was raised because of our justification.”

Start injecting that, my friend.

Start. Injecting. That.

For you are alive from the dead, raised up with Christ. The enemy came and knocked you down and kicked your teeth out and dealt you a blow that sunk you deep and robbed you of life.

But God stepped down from heaven, took on the form of a babe, reached out with Carpenter’s hands, and rubbed the mud from your face, gave the antidote for mud pumped into your veins. “Live!” He uttered. “Live!”

Do you hear His voice? Does your soul stir awake? The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!”

You who are so good at injecting poison, start injecting Life.

On the Threshold

Take a look at your feet.

Go ahead, take a minute to stand up and look down.

Those feet are at a threshold. Do you feel it? Do you know it? Does it pump through your chest and stir your breath as it does mine?

Emmanuel has come and promises to never leave and is committed to travel with us into 2011. And everywhere Emmanuel goes is victory and liberty. 

Those feet, they stand at a threshold, to enter in and take possession.

Over the holidays I returned to my origins. There I found the hounds of hell, or they found me,  and they yapped at my heels, biting and pulling and jerking me back from pressing on. I clawed, trying to hold on. The hounds, those howling messengers of doom, asked me who I thought I was?

“You’re not good enough for that, remember?” they accused. “You will never be better than your roots.”

The words from heaven, they rescue me. They tell me I can press on. I can take new territory.

My adequacy does not come from myself. It doesn’t come from my roots. It doesn’t come from my mother.

And here is an insightful truth: it is possible for our spiritual parents to try and prevent us from entering the Promised Land. Their ancestors did not want it for them, and mine would withhold it from me.  Yet “the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off.” (Acts 2:39)

Just like the Israelite children left the carcasses of their parents in the wilderness to find their inheritance, God’s word gives me permission to possess land my ancestors didn’t.

WE HAVE PERMISSION!

The knowledge makes me want to shout! I can’t do anything about the past. I cannot make my parent’s choices for them. But I can press beyond their threshold.

It is the mark of nobility, to leave behind your father’s house and escape its influence, and we each are invited to become daughters of the King. Us and our children with us. 

“Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; Forget your people and your father’s house. Then the King will desire your beauty. They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King’s palace. In place of your fathers will be your sons.” Psalm 45:10,11,15,16

 The promise has been given, long since, for anyone who will believe the voice of Truth. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. Perhaps it is not our ancestors’ good pleasure to see me…you… possess the promised land…

But it is the Father’s good pleasure!

Which voice will we believe? Which voice will we give influence to?

My feet are awaiting my command, to press on or turn back.

With Your good pleasure, Lord…with Your favor upon me, I will press on! I will tread territory far and wide, I will traverse every inch of land You have granted to me in Christ.

I will believe Your word and my feet will cross this threshold. Me and my children after me.

Calm. Confident. Committed. (Words to Live By)

Kind Words and Warm Welcomes from the community of sisters take me aback this week.

I understand my girl’s tendency to withdraw better than ever… When you’re not used to a warm, welcoming table…

And I fight a wild urge in me, to get up at the table and act the clown, thinking I’ve got to impress, to prove my right to be here, to make you like me.

Raw honesty.

Insecurity breeds strange behavior, this I know.

I’ve been the outsider most of my life, grown comfortable with it. Perhaps this has served me well in living overseas for years as the “foreigner.”

Except that now I’m in the states on furlough and now you all have noticed me in my corner and you invite me to the table and extend warm welcomes.

“Don’t take counsel with insecurity.” Loving husband has said it to me and I’ve said it to him and we’ve learned how to recognize it and how to help each other fight it.

For doesn’t this tell us not to be ignorant of predator’s schemes and surely Insecurity is a well used, finely tuned tool in his hands.

Insecurity that tells us we have to run and hide. Or to act… the clown, the fake, the reflection of the world around us, the whatever… in order to be welcomed.

Insecurity that tells us we aren’t good enough.

Insecurity that tells us we can’t do THATWho do we think we are?

It is insecurity that tells me I must be a task-master, that the shepherd’s staff holds no power. It is insecurity that tells me I can’t expect truly noble things of myself because I’m just ordinary. It is insecurity that blinds my eyes to what true dignity, true nobility, true strength really is. It is insecurity that tells me I must eat crumbs from the world’s table because I can’t have what God’s special people have.

It is insecurity, the scheme of Satan, that deceives me to what I can truly be. Who I really am. It tells me to act the clown. Be somebody. Prove something.

But like the Babe in the manger, significance has no pretenses. Influence needs no platform. Importance requires no self-promotion.

Will I believe it? Will I believe that I am significant, influential, important?

It is not people who make me so. It is not me myself that makes me so. { I don’t have to make me important! Blessed truth! Freedom! }

It is the precious, priceless blood of Christ that has covered me, stained me with priceless significance and nothing can ever, ever change that.

So the predator uses the only tool He has- deception- and how blind to his ways I have been!

How I furrowed out patterns of insecurity in my responses to little ones… to the opportunities that came my way… to  people and life and to the Voice that kept whispering nobility to me.

No. More.

No more will I settle for the world’s glitz when I can have His Wholeness. No more will I take riches from king’s hands when He can be my portion. No more will I feast on spiritually packaged, man-made food when the Bread of Life can be mine. No more scheming for ways I can make promises come true when the One who promised is Faithful.

No More.

Lord Jesus, I’m not going to get this perfect, but by Your grace I’m not going to take counsel with insecurity. I’m neither going to retreat nor push ahead.  I’m going to keep in step with the Spirit for the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come” and I take my place amidst family and don’t need to act something because I already am. I’m going to embrace this new day as the chance to furrow new habits, forge new patterns, respond in fresh ways. And tomorrow; and the day after that, and the day after…

Today I will live:

Calm. Because I don’t have to “do” it.

Confident. Because the Spirit and the Bride say “Come.”

Committed. Because this isn’t about me. The Person and the cause is beyond myself.

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