Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life

The girls in my county jail Bible study struggle to live successful lives.  Most of their problems and troubles result from their wrong thoughts.  The progression of thoughts to results are as follows.  What we think affects our emotions.  Our emotions control our behavior.  And, our behavior directs the events of our lives.

For example, destructive thinking is to think of things that offend you, which causes you to be angry, fearful, or sad. When you are fearful, angry, or sad, you will act out these emotions in aggressive or passive-aggressive ways. Passive-aggressive behavior varies, but can be silence, avoidance, harming yourself by cutting, using drugs, turning to alcohol, etc.   When you act on your negative emotions, then there will be strife in yourself and with others.  Strife destroys relationships in partnerships, jobs, churches, etc., which will often negatively affect your life and the lives of your family.  Review my post on the one thing that destroys relationships.

To be healthy emotionally, think positive and thankful thoughts.  When you think positive thoughts, then you will act or behave with kindness and grace.   Showing gratitude and grace will strengthen your relationships.   Showing grace is saying a kind word or forgiving someone when they may not deserve it.  See my post Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without.

The first step to victorious, sucessful living is to be spiritually healed.  Spiritual healing begins by confessing we are sinners in need of a savior.  Then believing Jesus Christ is God the Son, who died and rose again, forgives our sins, and frees us from sins control (See Jn 1:29; 1 Jn 4:15; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Col 1:14; & Gal 5:1). When we confess this with our mouth and believe it with our heart, then God the Holy Spirit and His love, life, and light enter our hearts (See Gal 4:6 & 1 Cor 6:17). If you have not made this confession, then do it now to experience spiritual healing (See Rom 10:9-13 & Eph 2:1-10).  Next, practice the following actions to live a victorious and successful life.

1)  Live through Christ Jesus: See 1 John 4:9-12, 17; 2 Cor 13:4; Gal 2:20.  Live through Christ by doing the following actions.

  • Keep your mind on Him and transform your thinking: See Col 3:1-4; Is 26:3; James 1:21; Rom 12:2; Phil 4:8
  • Seek His help when you struggle with temptations and wrong thinking: See Heb 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 1 Cor 10:13
  • Abide (stay; dwell) with Him, and His words abide in you: See Jn 15:1-8; 1 John 2:24; Jam 1:21-25; 4:6-8; Matt 7:24-26
  • Forgive as He forgave (key to successful relationships): See Matt 6:12-15; 18:21-35; Col 3:13; Mark 11:25
  • Be humble as He was: See Phil. 2:3-11; Matthew 11:29; 1 Peter 5:5
  • Love as He Loved: See John 15:9-14; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; 16:14

2)  Rely on the Holy Spirit as your Helper:  See John 14:26 and John 15:26. To renew us See Titus 3:3-7 & 1 Cor 6:11. To put off your old life and put on a new life: See Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-15; 2 Cor 5:17

3)  Die to sin and be free from it’s control, then do what is right by setting your mind on the things of the Spirit:  See 1 Peter 2:24; Rom 6:10-14; 8:4-11; 1 John 1:7; 3:5-8, 14; Col 3:5-17, Eph 4:17-32; 5:8; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:11; James 1:21; Gal 5:22-25. Deny your fleshly desires (sin/evil) and avoid the consequences:  See James 1:13-15; Gal 5:16-21; 6:7-8; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 8:7-8, 13-14; Mark 7:20-23; Rev 21:8

4)  Pray continually: See Phil 4:6-7; Rom 12:12; 1 Thes 5:17 –Turn every wrong, sinful thought into a prayer of repentance and renewal immediately.  The longer we think wrong thoughts the further down the wrong path we will go (1 John 1:9; 3:21-24).

5)  Submit to God and stand firm against the enemy of your mind and your faith:  See James 4:7,8; Gal 5:1; Eph 6:10-17; 1 Peter 5:6-10; Heb 11:1, 6; 12:1-3; 1 John 5:4-5

6)  Persevere through trials; trusting God is at work, and put your hope in Him: See John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:12-14, 19; Matt 6:33-34; 8:28; James 1:2-4, 12; 5:11; Heb 10:36-39; 12:5-7; Rom 5:2-4; 8:18; Lam 3:21-25; Is 30:18; Ps 62:5-8; 147:11; Luke 6:22; 2 Cor 4:17-18; 12:10

7)  Do the Will of God, found in the Word of God:  See James 1:21-25; 1 Peter 4:2; Matt 3:35; Rom 12:2; 1 Thes 4:3; 5:12-18; 1 Pet 2:15; 1 John 2:17; 5:14-15

#1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution

Let’s explore the reasons people break off a relationship, quite a job, or divorce. When we know a cause then we can find a solution. I was the kind of person that was upset about everything though I wanted peace. I was quick to get angry. Why? After many years of research and thinking deeply about causes, I figured out the solution. After trying the solution I can testify it works.  I chose the picture above as an example of what is destroying relationships today and why,

Think back to a time you were upset about something. Why were you upset? What caused you to get upset?  Does the picture of this post upset you?  In this post I want to challenge you to think deeply about what causes arguments and strife. It is helpful to journal your thoughts concerning causes for strife in your relationships.

Let’s begin our exploration with the following understanding. Most of us are self-centered people, and we live and work with self-centered people, who want our own way.  And, we don’t know how to love well. Would you agree?

Whatever the reasons for strife, it always comes down to someone becoming offended, then getting upset. An offense is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from unfairness, mistreatment, disrespect, betrayal, being ignored or not getting what they want.  Becoming offended can happen many times a day, especially when you have to share the road with other drivers or space with another person or watching the news. So, be mindful of the times you are annoyed, angry, miffed, irritated, frustrated, etc. Why? Really think about why. Why do you think you got offended?

A major cause of strife is pride. Pride caused me to be offended most of the time.  I would think the following thoughts: “How dare someone (fill in the blank).”  “They had no right to do that.”  “Who do they think they are?”  If you were honest as to why you get upset, you too would recognize a pride issue.  Please read my post on pride to learn more: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

Another cause for strife is when someone says something hurtful that creates an offense in our hearts. Often words hurt our pride. A person’s words reveal the condition of their heart.  Therefore, the person saying the hurtful words is also hurting from offenses they have stored in their hearts. Read the following posts for a better understanding:  WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words  and WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

Another cause for strife is unrealistic expectations. For example, I became upset with my husband because he did not take care of me when I was sick like his father takes care of his mother. This is an unrealistic expectation because my husband is not like his father, and it is not reasonable for me to expect him to be. Once I realized why I was offended, then I could deal with it rationally. But before I rationally thought through why I was irritated with my husband, I said a hurtful things to him. My hurtful words caused him to become offended, then he said hurtful things back. Do you see how this situation could escalate quickly and dissolve the relationship?

Unresolved negative issues also causes strife. For example, I became offended by the words on an anniversary card my wonderful husband gave me.  The card reminded me of an unresolved painful issue with my first husband.  Unfortunately, I allowed the offense to get into my heart and control my feelings, and I became miserable and said hurtful things.  When I dealt with the negative issue with my first husband that caused me to be offended, then I could resolve my offense and live in peace. To become free from the control of our past negative heart issues and painful memories, I invite you to visit my website and read my short book: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

As soon as we recognize we do not have peace, we should ask if we are offended.  When we become offended, we enter the fight-or-flight mode. The fight-or-flight stress response stimulates the lower brain and we enter survival mode. Survival mode stops us from thinking rationally about the situation, which is why relationships dissolve quickly. You know you are in survival mode when you become upset when a goal or expectation is not met.  If you see yourself losing control of your emotions, walk back your emotions and ask, why am I upset? Why is this important to me? What is my part in this disagreement or unexpected negative situation? What solution do I need for a win/win? What am I willing or not willing to do?  Consider if the concern causing you to lose peace is within your circle of influence.  If it is not, then let it go or pray about it.  These are only suggested questions to help you think rationally and not reactively. 

Think about the last argument you were in or the last time you were frustrated. Using the definition of an offense, which is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from (fill in the blank), can you identify what you or the other person was offended about? As you may have already figured out, being offended is the single most destructive force in any relationship. But, once you discover the cause of the offense then you can work to solve it. My book called “Hope for Complete Healing” on my website identifies many causes for offense and the solution. I encourage you to read it so you can have stronger relationships.

Follow these seven actions for a great relationship; eight for SUPER GREAT!

1) Always stay in forgiveness and do not hold grudges. Expect that your partner/spouse/friend will let you down and may not meet your expectations from time to time. Being offended blocks love, kindness, peace, joy, and patience.
2) Be thankful for strengths and abilities and focus on these. It is easy to focus on what you don’t like and tell them about it.
3) Be committed. Genuine commitment is to be wholly focused on what is best and what will strengthen the relationship.
4) Communicate complete thoughts.  Don’t assume the other person heard you or understands. Have a respectful discussion to help you convey your meaning and expectations.  Don’t mind read and make assumptions.  Seek to understand what the other person is thinking without being critical.
5) Resolve conflicts using the “pen method.” The person holding the pen explains their perspective and logic. Then hand the pen to the other person, and they reflect on what they heard you say and explains their perspective and rationale. Go back and forth until you come to a win/win for both people.
6) Create a relationship vision or mission statement. Ask yourself and each other this question: “How do I want our relationship to be in 5, 10, 15, or 30 years. Write out a plan to accomplish your vision or mission.
7) Work through past issues, so your reactions and expectations are not controlled by your past.
8) Make the Lord and the Word of God a priority in your life and relationships.  The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so if you want to be wise, then God needs to be your source.

If you ever get a chance, go to a Mark Gungor marriage seminar called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.”  My husband and I went to one of Mark’s seminars and he is funny and to the point. https://markgungor.com/.  On this website is a test that determines what motivates you the most.  He calls it the Flag Page, because it determines what country you are from: Control, Perfect, Peace, or Fun.  Finding out what motivates me is very helpful to understand why I do what I do.  It was also very helpful to know what motivates my husband.

I also encourage you to read about the adapted summary of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

Have you ever considered the power of the spoken or written word?  When someone says something hurtful, it creates an offense in our hearts.   A person’s words reveal the condition of their heart.  Therefore, the person saying the hurtful words is also hurting from the offenses they have stored in their hearts from painful memories.  This post explains how to overcome the power of offensive words and actions.  But first, let’s review the power of words.  Imagine how the progression below is influenced by negative words, then imagine how the progression is influenced by positive words.

Words (positive or negative) create the same thoughts.

Thoughts create feelings.

Feelings create beliefs.

Beliefs create attitudes.

Attitudes influence decisions for behavior.

 Decisions directs the course of our life.

When people become offended, it is because the words or action triggered a painful memory of an unmet need or expectation.  All of humanity struggles with being self-centered.  For instance, someone does something to you or says something about you that was unloving; your first response is to think; that wasn’t right; I didn’t like that.  Or you weren’t acknowledged for an achievement, or accepted into a group, or ignored, etc.   So, when we become offended we open the door to the temptation to be angry, bitter, depressed, then to slander, gossip, and say hurtful things.  Our thoughts and feelings become controlled by the offense, and we do and say hurtful things.  Have you seen this happen?

The only way to overcome offensive words and actions is to forgive.  I know this may sounds impossible to do, but it sets you free from the negative energy of hurtful words and the offenses in your heart.  We rarely realize that we have taken an offense until hurtful or negative words spill out of our mouth.  It happens to the best of us.

Sometimes though, you need to set boundaries for people who continue to spew hurtful words, after you have spoken to them about how their unloving words made you feel.  You need not let their words control your thinking, feelings, beliefs, and attitude, which is hard to do, but possible when you are quick to forgive.

For example, I became offended by the words on an anniversary card my wonderful husband gave me.  He did not intend to offend me, but when I explained why I was offended, he apologized and tried to make it right.  Unfortunately, I allowed the offense to get into my heart and control my feelings, and I became miserable and said hurtful things.  I’m sure no one else has done that.

When I had enough of feeling sorry for myself, I remembered that I needed to forgive the offense, even though it was not intentional.  Then I asked God to forgive me for being hurtful, and to take the power of that memory and negative energy of the offense from my mind and heart.  I felt so much better.  So often relationships are ruined by hurtful words and holding onto offenses.  I realized the quicker I forgave, the more love, peace, and joy I would experience, and the more love, peace, and joy others would experience when they were in my presence.

The anniversary card situation caused me to ask myself, why did that card offend me?  I knew from my research that it had triggered a painful memory.  So, I asked God to show me what the offense was.  He showed me that I was still offended by a hurt from my first marriage.  I went through the “Kindness Issues” worksheet on my website to release the offenses I was feeling.  Next, I forgave my ex-husband for the hurtful words he had spoken to me, and I asked God to lose and remove the power of that memory and all negative energies from my mind and heart. I also applied the right thinking and truths from the “Joy” and “Peace Issues” worksheets to transform the feelings of hurt and anguish in my heart and mind.  After going through the process of healing these negative heart issues, I felt so much peace and joy.

To learn more, please visit my site and read a short book I wrote about how I transformed many negative heart issues and discovered a new reality. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you found this helpful.  May God Bless you richly.

To understand the power of forgiving, read: WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE

You may enjoy reading my next post called: WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

 

HOW MEMORIES INFLUENCE OUR THINKING, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR

Dr. Caroline Leaf researches how the brain works and she wrote the book, “Switch on Your Brain.”  She discovered what we consciously think and what we say and do comes from the information and memory images in the unconscious mind that has been accumulating since our birth. These memories form the perceptual base through which we see life and react to stressful situations.  She explained how we can change our thinking, and ultimately our reactions to stress.  Check out her lectures on YouTube.

Dr. Penfield also did years of extensive research on the brain and memory.  He knew the whole nervous system uses a slight amount of electrical current to transmit sensory information to the brain.  The brain, in turn, uses that current to record and store the data.  He experimented by stimulating the memory areas of the brain with small amounts of electricity and discovered that every experience we have ever had is recorded in minute detail by the brain.  Whether or not we can consciously recall them, they are still stored in our memories including the feelings that go along with the stored experiences.  We not only remember what we felt, but we tend to feel the same way as adults when we go through a similar experience. Dr. Bruce Lipton is a Cellular Biologist, and his research shows that over 90% of what affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions can be attributed to subconscious memories stored in the cells of our bodies. Southwestern Medical School calls them cellular memories.

The following story is my experience of how an unconscious memory affected my relationship with a friend.  I often got angry with the kindest person ever, who said nothing mean or unkind, so why would I get angry, so I asked God to show me why.  The word “irresponsibility” came to my mind. I asked Him to show me why this would cause me to be angry. I waited for a little while until God brought up the repressed painful memories of my father’s irresponsibility I had taken offense to.  My friend’s irresponsibility triggered my unseen hurts and anger of my father’s irresponsibility. I went through the forgiveness process for each of the painful memories God brought up from my subconscious. Then, I verbally loosed and put off the offenses from my heart and the negative energies associated with the painful memories. Next, I sought God’s forgiveness for my anger toward my friend. When I completed this process, I was no longer angry with anyone who acted irresponsibly.  To learn more about forgiveness, see the post: WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE. To learn how to hear from God, read my book I posted on my website.

I was addicted to anger, and it controlled me.  Little by little, with God’s help, I worked through my painful memories and broke many strongholds in my life. If you have anger problems, please read the following post: Anger Issues Protected by Pride and Judgmental Strongholds.  Dr. Leaf emphasizes the importance of changing toxic memories to effect a change in our lives.  My book, called “Hope for Complete Healing” is my testimony of how I have changed my toxic memories and transformed my thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

The sooner we realize how painful memories affect our present beliefs, decisions, and behaviors the sooner we will seek to transform these memories.  Only God can help us find subconscious memories that keep us from being healthy and whole. God created us and loves us, and He intimately knows everything about us (see Psalm 139). The concept of God may not be part of your thinking or belief,  but ask Him to show Himself to you.  I know He is an Almighty Spirit, who always was, always will be, and is the creator of Universe and mankind. He also wants to be in a loving relationship with us through His Son Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty of our sins.  If you are offended by God, which we all have been if we are honest, then seek His forgiveness and healing of that hurt.  There is so much more I could say, so I encourage you to read my web page called Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers and look up the verses I reference.

I was healed of many painful memories that controlled my reaction to stressful situations.  Visit my website to learn more about how our memories control our lives and how to transform them. https://hopeforcompletehealing.com/

Patience — Freedom from Strongholds of Injustice and Unfairness

You know you have a patience problem when you get upset every time you drive on the road.  Also, do you often get frustrated with people when they do not meet your expectations?  You probably already know if you are not a patient person.  Our goal should be to love others well from a pure heart, and the first attribute of love is patience (1 Cor. 13:4).  So, when we are patient, we are loving well.  I have heard people say they pray for more patience than any other attribute of love. Why? Why are we not patient?  Only God can tell us why, because only He knows the hurt in our hearts, and only He can heal it.

So what is patience?  The following definitions come from Webster’s dictionary.  Patience is bearing or enduring pain, trouble, inconvenience, etc. without complaint, losing self-control, making a disturbance, etc.  To be forbearing: tolerate (to put up with).  Keep oneself in check.  Refusing to be provoked or angered, as by an insult or frustration.  And, it is merciful: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or person in one’s power.  It is persevering: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement (does not quit).  Lastly, patience is being just: living with a moral principle that determines right conduct, and fair: treating all sides alike.

Every time I read these definitions of patience I can see where I am still falling short of not loving well. This post is my testimony of how I destroyed the mental strongholds of unfairness and injustice that control my thoughts and reactions.  So, if you have not read my post on strongholds, please read it first to understand what they are. STRONGHOLDS PART I—What are they and how do they affect us?

At a young age, I developed mental strongholds of injustice and unfairness that protected the authority seat of impatience.  Impatience ruled my behavior, which explained why I  over-reacted when I perceived something was unfair or unjust.  I had an unhealthy belief that trials or difficulties were unfair, wrongful actions against me and I needed to fight against them and the people involved.  But, in fact, trials and difficulties strengthen our ability to be patient, that is, practice makes perfect.  I also had the unhealthy belief, if I didn’t get what I needed, wanted, or what I expected, I would become frustrated and angry, which happend often.

How often do you hear a child say, “That’s not fair?”  Have you said it?  Because I thought my parents were unfair, I couldn’t trust them.  This stronghold combination prevents us from being submissive since we do not trust those in authority to be fair. So, when a person doesn’t think they can trust someone or submit to them, then they become rebellious.  Also, not being able to trust and submit our self-focused wills has adverse effects in all areas of our life (i.e., work, family, social, spiritual, etc.).

When I became free from this stronghold combination, I could then control my thoughts and emotions.  To be honest, it took some time to transform all my wrong thinking and unhealthy beliefs, that triggered automatic respone programming from my childhood.  To eliminate this stronghold combination, I asked God to show me the memories of offense of what I thought was unfair.  Past memories include childhood up to a moment ago.  Note, if a situation is fair, but you don’t think it is, this still creates an offense, just look at our political landscape.

Here is one example of many, I was responsible for doing all the dishes for a month for five members of my family, and each month my sisters and I would take turns.  I thought this was so unfair, and I had issues of doing the dishes for many years.  This memory caused many needless conflicts with my children and husband.  Eliminating the power of the memories of offense and unhealthy beliefs from our hearts and minds, frees us from the control of stronghold combinations.  The key is to overcoming is to stay mindful of the goal to love others well and not be self-centered, even toward other drivers.

The need to heal issues of frustration became clear after eliminating this stronghold combination.  So, I transformed the memories of my mother’s frustration by eliminating the negative energy and forgiving her.  I also had to forgive myself for being frustrated with my children and husband.  Next, I transformed the unhealthy belief that I have to control circumstances and what people do with the truth that I can only control my self.  Then I applied to my heart and mind the positive attributes found in the “Patience Issues” prayer focus on my website.  A truth statement I chose to believe was that I can be humble, gentle, and patient and show tolerance for others in love (Ephesians 4:2).

If you identify with what I have written, and you want to eliminate the power of offenses then go to my website: hopeforcompletehealing.com and learn how to be free to live a new reality.

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

Many of the women I minister to feel there is no hope for overcoming their situations. And sadly, I often meet women who are put in jail right after having a baby that tested hot for drugs. Equally sad are the women whose children have been taken away from them, which drives them to use drugs and alcohol to escape that emotional pain. These women feel defeated and hopeless. When I asked them why they use, 99% of them say it is to avoid feeling emotional pain. They know the drugs and alcohol takes them further away from the life they desire. But, they feel they have no inner strength to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol. Their hearts are full of emotional pain from unloving acts from those who should have loved them. Unfortunately, most people do not realize they have a love hunger that they are trying to satisfy with everything but the true source of love.

You may not have a drug or alcohol problem, but if you are honest, you also have some mechanism for escaping inner pain (e.g., binge eating, shopping, watching TV/movies, workaholism, etc.) For example, I was a workaholic, and my accomplishments helped me feel good, which concealed the pain in my heart. I also felt helpless to control my anger when I was offended. As a result, I believed I was unlovable and worthless. I have good news; with God’s help, I was able to transform my unhealthy beliefs and wrong thoughts with His truth.  Read about my transformation here.

The following five facts have helped the women in jail have hope to achieve lasting peace, love, and victory.  I pray they help you as well:

1. Know the source of offenses that steal your peace, love, and sense of worth.

a) Taking an offense to something is when you feel resentment for something done or said which often causes hurt feelings or displeasure. These resentments build up in our hearts throughout our lives.

b) The demonic powers around us are destructive forces in our lives. In Ephesians 6:12 it says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Also see Eph. 2:2; 2Cor. 4:4.

c) The Bible says that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). The lies we believe cause us to be offended, which results in resentment and hate. For example, my oldest son believed the lie that I hated him because I disciplined him. He believed the lie that my discipline was abusive, therefore, he says he hates me. I can’t change what he believes because resentment is consuming and the demons keep it stirred up in him to keep him in bondage to these destructive thoughts.

d) The demons want to keep you defeated by destroying your peace, self-worth, and ability to feel loved. Children are their favorite target because they are so vulnerable, then as adults we wonder why we have so many offenses in our hearts, also called unresolved childhood issues. Feeling unloved and offended can lead to various destructive actions and addictions, which result in feeling more defeated.

For instance, when I am offended and get upset, I desire to binge eat, especially chocolate, or I get angry and tell the person off. Both responses are destructive; binge eating is destructive to my body and anger destroys my relationships. We can choose to respond with peace and love, which may sound impossible. Choosing a non-destructive action requires us to constantly check our thoughts and control them, though I still need to improve. Awareness of how we are offended is the first step.

2. Know your source of help to resist the demonic attempts to destroy you.

a) Jesus knows what it is like to suffer demonic attacks and temptations. He overcame the devil and defeated the enemy of our souls, and is able to help us overcome (see Hebrews 2:17&18; Heb. 4:15&16; and 1 John 3:8).

b) To receive this help, we need to put off the pride of being self-focused and the lie that we don’t need Jesus.  Then, humbly ask Him by faith to transform our lives. When we do this, then we will be rooted and grounded in His love and nothing can separate us from His love (see Ephesians 3:17; 1 John 4:9-10; and Romans 8:35-39). Also, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit who is our helper (see John 14:26; 15:26; and Romans 8:24-27).  To learn more about pride, read: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

c) After receiving Jesus into our hearts and submitting to God, which is to obey Him, then we will have all the divine promises in Christ Jesus. We will also have his divine nature and power to have lasting victory over all our issues and addictions. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4) For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” We tap into this divine power by faith through prayer and believing. We do not see the divine power in us, but we know it is there by faith and that it is ours through prayer.

3. Know the true source of love, peace, and victory.

a) God will always love us and He gives us His worth. (See Colossians 3:12). He is our only source of love; not our parents, not our boy/girlfriends, not our family, not our spouse; no one can love us as God does. Our love is flawed because each of us has wounds and hurts (offenses) from the sins and weaknesses of those around us.

b) God is our only source of peace. Isaiah 26:3 says “You keep him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he/she trusts in You.” Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Also see 1 John 5:4) The key to lasting peace is to keep our minds on God through continual prayer.

c) God is our only source of victory over the demonic world; James 4:7,8 says, “Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8) Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Victory occurs when we submit to God and resist the devil through prayer and standing firm in our faith.  Victory also requires that we remove sin from our lives. Also see 1 Peter 5:8,9a.

4. Know the truth and pray the truth to stay in perfect peace, love, and victory.

a) Our responsibility is to keep our minds on the truths of the Word of God and remain with Him through prayer. As we stay in prayer, we will be victorious over the many temptations to believe the devil’s lies and become offended (see John 15 and Colossians 3:1-3). But first, we need to humbly confess our sins through prayer and seek God for forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9). You see, sin blocks our prayers and God will not hear our prayers because He is Holy (see Is. 59:2).

b) If we keep our minds on our problems and what we don’t like, then we will be worried, fearful, angry, depressed, etc. So, when you find yourself focused on a problem or an offense, then turn it into a prayer of repentance and submission to regain your peace, love, and victory. For example, we can get upset with a family member for the things they did or said or how they said it, and it can consume us. But when we turn the problem over to God and trust Him with it, then we will be filled with peace and love again. I have also found that being thankful keeps me in peace. As you know, when you don’t feel peace in yourself, you are not at peace with others around you.

c) Our prayers and words have power and we can take every thought captive in the name of Jesus and command them to be gone. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh (live in the world, NIV), we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh (this world), but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (strongholds). We are destroying speculations (arguments) and every lofty thing (pretensions) raised up against the knowledge of God (truth), and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Taking our thoughts captive is critical to have lasting victory over our destructive emotions and actions.

5. Lastly, remove the many offenses in our hearts through prayer and forgiving.

a) Offenses hinder love but purifying out hearts by removing offenses allows us to feel love and to love others. Purifying our hearts begins with obeying the Word of God, that is, to do what it says. 1 Peter 1:22 states, Having purified your souls (heart, mind, and conscience) by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” We are able to love with a pure heart when our soul wounds are healed as outlined in my healing booklet found in my website (hopeforcompletehealing.com).

b) One of the truths we need to obey to be victorious over offenses is to forgive those who offended us. Then to put off the lies we believed. (See Matthew 6:12; Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32). Our unforgiveness perpetuates the inner pain we feel and keeps us in bondage to it. We will never have lasting peace, love, or victory if we do not forgive.  If you find it hard to forgive, read: WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE

I hope you found these five facts helpful and know that lasting peace, love, and victory is possible. In my website, I list many truths concerning key character traits to help you replace the devil’s lies with truth. I encourage you to take a look at these and be blessed.

You may be interested in reading: #1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution

 

 

County Jail Study on Psalms 103

King David wrote this Psalm later in his life and we know this because he wrote this Psalm from a deep understanding of God’s grace and mercy. He understood all the benefits of being in a right relationship with God and he was thankful. What is more amazing is the fact that we have a greater understanding of Psalms 103 and it has more meaning to us because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us. Since I spent most of last week preparing this bible study on Psalms 103 for the county jail, I thought I would post it. This is a lengthy study that will span about four weeks. For example, last Friday, I only covered the first five verses because there was a great discussion. Enjoy.

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Psalms 103 (ESV)

1) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Bless, in this context, means an act of adoration, praise, giving thanks.
Our
soul is said to contain our morality and conscience and is responsible for the functions of thinking and willing, which determines all behavior. Webster’s dictionary says the soul is the residence of our mind, emotions, and will. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 which states, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify [set apart and purify] you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also, Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30 that we are to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

?? How do we remember something?

?? What are benefits? (A kindly, charitable act; favor; advantage; reward; something good; etc.)

3) who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases (sicknesses),

Iniquity means lack of righteousness; that is, not doing what is right or being just (equitable and impartial); doing wickedness (evil moral character; evil; depraved)

It is a benefit to have all our sins forgiven and to be healed of our sicknesses. When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said in John 1:29Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

?? What does “all” mean? Do you believe this?

If you don’t believe verse three, choose to believe and ask God to show your unhealthy beliefs about His promises. When He shows you, ask Him to lose and remove those specific unhealthy beliefs. If you have been praying for healing and you have not been healed, then keep trusting that God is all-powerful and can heal. Trust that He has a purpose for your sickness and one day, you will be healed.

?? Is there someone you need to forgive who did you wrong?

Unforgiveness often does not hurt the person we refuse to forgive, but it always hurts us, which is why it blocks healing. Forgiveness is essential for healing because it releases us from the power of a wrongful action or offense. Forgiving someone does not excuse their wrong actions but sets us free to heal and move on. We find a condition for forgiveness in Matthew 6:14-15, which states in the NIV, “For if you forgive (others) when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15) But if you do not forgive (others), your Father will not forgive your sins.” Also see Matthew18:23-35.

?? Have you forgiven yourself for hurting others? Ask God to take all that guilt from you.

4) who redeems your life from the pit (grave—Strong’s definition; destruction; NKJ), who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

Redemption or redeem means to get back; recover, as by paying a fee. It is our deliverance from sin and the consequences of sin. 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us that we were “redeemed [ransomed and bought back] from the futile ways inherited from our forefathers, …with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.Ephesians 1:7-9 states, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace, 8) which He lavished on us.”

?? What image comes to your mind when you read this verse?

?? Do you see yourself in the pit of sin or sitting in heaven, forgiven and crowned with love and mercy?

If you see yourself in the pit of sin and despair then do the following: Choose to believe with your heart and confess that Jesus Christ is God the Son, who died to pay the debt for sin; forgives your sins and frees you from sins control (See Jn 1:29; 1 Jn 4:15; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Col 1:14; & Gal 5:1). When you confess this with your mouth and believe it with our heart, then God the Holy Spirit and His love, life, and light enter into your heart (See Gal. 4:6 & 1 Cor. 6:17).

5) who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Strong’s definition of good in this context is favor, benefits; advantage. There are other ways to translate the beginning of this verse, for example, the New American Standard states: “Who satisfies your years with good things,…” The New International Version states: “who satisfies your desires with good things,…” The New King James Version states: “who satisfies your mouth with good things…” Furthermore, I read that an eagle continually sheds its feathers and regrow new ones. Therefore, an old eagle will look the same as a young eagle.

?? How do you see this verse working in your life? (See Col. 3:8-10 and Eph. 4:22-24)

6) The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

Righteousness, in this context, is the act of doing what is right.

Justice or judgment, in this context, it is a reward or penalty as deserved.

Oppressed is someone who has been defrauded, violated, deceived, or wronged in some way.

Isaiah 30:18 states, “Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait (long; NAS) for Him.”

?? How would you describe righteousness and justice in your own words?

?? What happens when we wait on the Lord, that is, when we long for Him?

7) He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.

Short List from the book of Exodus of God’s ways and acts:

  • Moses’s staff becomes a serpent then back to a staff again.

  • Brought 10 plaques on Egypt but not where the Israelites were staying because Pharaoh would not let them leave Egypt: All water sources became blood; frogs everywhere; all the dust became gnats; swarms of flies; plague kills all Egyptian livestock; boils on all the Egyptian people and animals; hail destroys everything; locusts ate everything in sight; pitch black darkness throughout Egypt, but not where the Israelites lived in Goshen; the death of the firstborn except for the Israelite’s homes with the blood of a perfect, spotless lamb on the doorposts (called Passover).

  • The Red Sea parted, and over one million Israelites walked to the other side on dry ground.

  • They were fed with food from heaven, called manna.

  • Water comes out of rocks at Moses’s command.

  • Their shoes did not wear out for 40 years.

?? How does knowing this, give you confidence that nothing is impossible with God?

8) The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Mercy is not getting what we deserve for our sin.

Grace is getting what we don’t deserve because of our sin (i.e., forgiveness, eternal life, blessings, etc.)

Psalms 86:15 states, “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Also, Psalms 116:5 states, “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.” Lamentations 3:21-25 states, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; 23) they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 24) “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.” 25) The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”

?? Why do we have hope because of knowing God is merciful, gracious, and faithful

?? How can we be merciful and gracious to others around us?

?? What should we do when we are quick to get angry and not to be loving?

First, we need to take the angry thought captive (recognize it, acknowledge it, and grab hold of it) then lose and remove it from your mind before it comes out of your mouth. Secondly, forgive the offense quickly. And, thirdly, understand the person who offended you is a sinner and needs God’s love, therefore, bind to your heart God’s mercy and love for that person. James 1:19-20 states, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

9) He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.

Chide means to rebuke or contend with; to be displeased with your sin. Yes, God is angry when we sin because He is holy. He also knows that sin is destructive in our lives and the lives of others. God wants us to be merciful and loving instead.

10) He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

So too, the Bible explains how we also are not to deal with others according to their sin. In 1 Peter 3:9, it states, “9) Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling (insult for insult; NAS & NIV) but on the contrary, bless [to speak well of or ask divine favor for; hence, to wish well to], for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing [divine favor] (for you were called for this very purpose that you might inherit a blessing; NAS).”

Luke 6:27-28 Jesus states, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies (those hostile to you; LITV), do good to those who hate you, 28) bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse (mistreat; NAS, insult; LITV) you.”

When you are tempted to repay evil for evil, take the thought of returning the same treatment captive (recognize it, acknowledge it, and grab hold of it) then loose and remove it from your mind before it comes out of your mouth. Next, bind-in the love of God for them and respond with mercy and kindness. Ephesians 4:31-32 states, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We can only accomplish this as we lean on God and ask Him to remove the things listed in verse 31 and put into our hearts the attributes listed in verse 32.

!! Turn to the prayer on the page about healing issues in your life and demonstrate this.

11) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

?? When you think of the fear of God, what does it mean to you?

The fear of the Lord is to have deep respect, love, and awe which we demonstrate in our obedience to God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:2, 10:12; 1 Samuel 12:14). The following verses describe how we are to fear God:

Psalms 22:23 states ”You who fear the Lord, praise Him! …glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him, …” 1 Samuel 12:24 states, “Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.” Proverbs 3:7-8 states, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8) It will be healing to your flesh (body; NAS) and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 28:14 states, “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity (the pit).” Psalms 115:11 also states; “You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.” Psalms 34:9 states, “Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!

12) as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

?? How would you explain this verse to one of your friends?

13) As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

14) For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

15) As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16) for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

?? Explain what these verses mean to you?

17) But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,

18) to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

?? What are these verses saying to you?

19) The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

20) Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!

Hebrews 1:13-14 states, “And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 14) Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

?? Who are those who are to inherit salvation?

?? What images do you get from this verse?

A few other verses of how angels minister:

Ex.23:20 “Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.”

1 Chron. 21:1-17 vs.15) “And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw and was sorry over the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough; now relax your hand.” … vs. 16) Then David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem… vs. 27) The Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath.

2 Chron. 32:20,21 “But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21) And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander, and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria.”

Ps. 34:7 “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.”

Ps. 91:11“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;”

Daniel 6:22 “My God sent His angel, and He shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you O king.”

Matt. 2:13 “…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”

Matt. 2:19 “After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the Child’s life are dead.'”

Matt. 28:5 “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified…’”

Matt. 4:49 “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50) and will throw them into the furnace of fire;…”

2 Kings 19:1-8 (Elijah flees into the desert because he is afraid of Jezebel’s threat against him and becomes very depressed.) vs. 5) “Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” vs. 7) The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.’”

Zech. 3:1 “Then he [the angel] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.”

Matt. 4:11 “Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”

Mark 1:13 “And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.”

Matt. 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

Matt. 28:2 “And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.”

Acts 5:19 “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, taking them out he said,…”

Acts 12:5-17 “And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. “

21) Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!

22) Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!