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Music Moment #2: Giants vs The Voice of Truth

We all face giants in our lives.  Peer pressure, addiction, depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, insecurity, guilt and shame from past mistakes or behaviors, physical or mental limitations, chronic pain, procrastination, apathy, laziness, dysfunctional families, and troubled relationships to name just a few.

David and Goliath

Some of the biggest obstacles to defeating these giants are the negative voices around us. They are often echoed and strengthened by our own inner voices.  They combine to tear us down and keep us trapped and isolated from each other and God.

The enemy voices of our giants remind us of our brokenness and its consequences.

Romans 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23a  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And, while this is true, those voices do their best to keep us from the rest of the truth.  This important truth is expressed in the last half of the same verse.

Romans 6:23b  but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loves us and wants us to be connected to Him.  And to top it off, He provides a way for our relationship with Him to be healed.

John 3:16-17  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Romans 5:1  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

2 Corinthians 5:16-18  So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ

When our giants try to overwhelm us, we need to put our faith in God.  We need to remember that we are His beloved children.

Romans 8:14  For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:16-17  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Galatians 3:26  So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith

As children of the King, we are forgiven and made new.  And, we are given the power to overcome the world and our pasts.

Romans 8:1-2  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:37-39  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 4:4  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Our giants may be powerful and the battle will likely not be easy, but we do not fight alone.  Our Father in heaven is faithful and will stand with us.

The enemy is a master of lies and wants to destroy us.  But, God loves us and if we choose to trust His voice — the Voice of Truth — we can overcome.

When, I struggle to ignore the lies, I pray for God to renew my mind.  Then, I fill my mind with His words so that my giant has no room to resume its attacks.  One of my favorite weapons in this battle against my giants is music.  I often turn to a song by Casting Crowns called “The Voice of Truth.”

The lyrics give voice to the lies of the giants in my life.

“But the giant’s calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. “Boy you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win!””

But more importantly, they remind me of God’s love and faithfulness.

“But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth”

Check out the song at one of these sites (or your favorite legal music source) and consider adding it to your arsenal….aka “playlist”.

“Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns on Amazon Music

“Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns on Google Play

“Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns on iTunes

“Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns on Spotify

*I have no connection to Casting Crowns, Amazon MusicGoogle Play, iTunes, or Spotify; and I did not receive anything for sharing this song or the sample links to sites where the song is available.

Winning The Battle For The Mind: Part 3, Spiritual Foes

In the first 2 weeks of this series, we examined our struggle against 2 powerful enemies in the battle for our minds — our own deceitful, misguided hearts and the fallen, broken people and institutions around us.  As we saw, these enemies can be powerful influences on the mind and hence lead us down paths toward pain and hopelessness.  With God’s help, we can be over-comers.  Along with the victories come hope and healing.

In this final installment of the “Winning the Battle for the Mind” series, we will look at a group of enemies that is cunning, baffling, and powerful.  These enemies are often overlooked which only serves to increase their effectiveness and the amount of damage that they can do in our lives.  I am referring to the spiritual forces that align themselves against God and all that He created which includes us.

Ephesians 6:12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

The reality is that frequently our actual battle is against the Power behind the power.  The person or situation in front of us is often a part of a bigger spiritual battle going on behind the scenes.  Our spiritual enemies can and do use our physical and emotional world as weapons against us.  Unless we recognize this and vanquish this 3rd enemy, we will never know true peace.  Hope will be elusive at best.

The Battle With Spiritual Foes

Spiritual battle

Many will dismiss this topic as silly or superstitious.  Even those willing to consider the existence of a higher power (i.e. God) that can positively influence our lives are often unwilling to accept the idea that a malevolent, negative power exists as well — a power that means us harm.  I believe these powers are real and need to be dealt with if we are to achieve peace.  Their power is limited and nothing compared to God’s ultimate power, but none-the-less they can cause tremendous amounts of chaos and damage in our lives if we are not prepared to recognize and deal with their attacks.

I commonly hear people share about the challenges they face every day.  They are often dealing with a lot of pain and turmoil in their lives and nothing they do seems to make a lasting difference.  Quite commonly they are making many healthy and positive choices directed toward their physical and mental well-being including limiting or eliminating negative outside influences.  Unfortunately, they are also unaware of or unprepared to deal with the spiritual aspects of their situation.  I believe that neglect of the spiritual part of these battles is often the missing piece in the battle plan that prevents true and lasting victory.

Please, don’t misunderstand.  This concept isn’t a magic bullet.  I know people who are fighting the good fight in all three areas (physical, mental, and spiritual) who still struggle.  The Bible tells us that those who seek God will still experience persecution and difficulties in life.  Connecting with God does not automatically make our lives easy and trouble-free.

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

But by making this connection to God and addressing all three areas, we improve our chances of getting meaningful and lasting relief.

To make matters worse, these evil forces don’t fight fairly.  They are expert liars who hide behind clever masks intended to deceive and hide their true intentions.

John 8:44  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.

After all, most people would not welcome in evil if it knocked on their door and said, “Hi, I’m evil.  I here to ruin your life.  May I come in?”  And so evil influences smile and tell us what we want to hear.  They worm their way into our lives and then the real battle begins.

John 10:10a  John 10:10  The thief* comes only to steal and kill and destroy 

[*the thief in this parable = an allusion to Satan and his servants]

As bad as that sounds, all is not lost.  We can have access to Power that can defeat these dangerous adversaries.  That same verse from John 10:10 cited above goes on to say,

John 10:10b  I* have come that they* may have life, and have it to the full.

[*“I”= Jesus and “they”= the thief’s intended victims]

This promise from Jesus own words is meant for us.  With God we have access to power that will comfort, encourage and strengthen us in the midst of battle.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed

The Counterattack

Bible with crown of thorns and heart shadow

James 4:7  Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

To win a battle, we must resist; we must fight back.  However, a Spiritual war has to be fought with Spiritual weapons.  Ephesians 6:13-17 uses a battle armor analogy to present some of the key Spiritual weapons at our disposal.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

To put it another way: God’s armor provides us with courage and perseverance in battle.  His righteousness reveals the truth we need to find our path through the darkness and confusion of the battle field.  Without His truth we are doomed to wander aimlessly in the dark and become easy targets.  His righteousness and message of hope also prepare us to aid others in battle.  We are not meant to fight alone.  In helping others we also help ourselves.  Our faith acts as a shield against the attacks of the enemy.  The forgiveness, grace, and healing He gives us empowers us to face our giants.  His Word, the Bible, is a source of power and weaponry that we can use in our battle for hope and healing.  It’s words — His words — have the power to transform.

Winning battles can be exhilarating.  Experiencing positive change can bring the hope we so desperately need.  But, as noted earlier, the enemy doesn’t give up.  The attacks keep coming and sometimes even increase as we return to the right path.  Satan and his servants don’t give up easily. Therefore, we must stay vigilant lest our victory be short-lived and precious gained ground lost.

Matthew 12:43-45  Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.  Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.

As we expel the negative influences from our lives and clear the debris from the battle field, we will experience healing.  Refill the spaces left behind with healthy relationships, positive teachings, and a life lived worthy of the second chance we have been given.  We can then share what we have found with others in need of healing as well.  This will further advance and solidify our own healing.  And, it shores up our perimeter against any returning assailants.

Conclusion

Romans 8:31-35  What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

He goes on to answer these questions in the verses that follow:

Romans 8:37-39  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loves us and will faithfully stay by our side and defend us against all enemies.  He has the power to give us new hearts that can and will lead us in truth.   He can help us win these battles and recover hope in our lives.

Vanquishing these enemies to our peace may seem to be a tall order and virtually impossible.  If you are like me, the prospect of the battle ahead often brings anxiety and even fear.  But we must remember that this is about God’s power not our own.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I know my own efforts to change and cast off hopelessness were repeated failures.  But, God can do what we never could on our own if we let Him.  God will not force His will on us.  So, we must seek Him and allow Him access. Then, the transformation can begin.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

 
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