Are We Being Squeezed? Part Two

Think about this: we believers, as square pegs, are constantly being pressed, squeezed, pushed into the round hole of the world system. It is CLEAR that we do not fit! Yet, if we are not intentional in our thoughts, our square peg begins to smooth out.
When you feel squeezed, rejoice! Let it be a constant reminder that this is not our home. We are not designed to fit in a circle. However, we the peg, are a living testimony to proclaim the message of eternal life, freedom from sin’s grip, and a relationship with a Living Savior.
All flesh reacts when it gets squeezed. Impatience, anger, violence, lashing out with hate-filled words, etc. are not to be part of our peg-life. 1 Peter 2:1 says, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.”
Did you ever consider that complaining is evil speaking? All words come first from thoughts. Matthew 15:18-19 says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed EVIL thoughts…”
Negative dialogues in your mind will become negative words out of your mouth. It all starts with our thoughts which come from what we believe about a situation. If we believe that God is in control, that nothing is impossible for Him, and He is over all, our thoughts and actions will reflect that belief. That heart-belief will annihilate all evil thoughts before they can form.
We defile our testimony as a peg to the circles in our lives. How can we make a difference when we begin to fit into their mold? Here is our peg-stance. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says, “And a servant of the Lord must NOT quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

Are We Being Squeezed?

Romans 12:2 J B Phillips says, “Don’t let the world around you SQUEEZE you into its own mold, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”
I heard this verse read from this translation in 1972. I have never forgotten it. Right now, in this time of the pandemic, we are being squeezed. There are fleshly reactions that are contagious.
Remember Numbers 11:4 says that it was the mixed multitude that negatively influenced the children of Israel. Verse 1 says, “Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord…”
The complaining around us can suck us in and squeeze our minds to conform. Stay alert! Watch your thoughts! Don’t pick up this complaining-virus. It is very infectious.
We need to come in the opposite spirit. Instead of complaining we need to let this situation conform our thoughts, purpose, and actions to God’s will. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
It is a very well known verse, but is it your well-known practice? Are you proving His will through your words which are first thoughts?
I suggest that the next time someone around you complains, let that be your signal to be grateful for His irrefutable truths. He is in control of all things. Drink deep from the artesian well of your salvation. Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
Colossians 1:17 says, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” 2:10 says, “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”

Irrefutable Truths Part Two

Isaiah 40 is a great chapter. When I need perspective I review several of the verses. I like to think about verse 12. It says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand (I cup my hand), measured heaven with a span (spread out my fingers) and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?”
Verse 18 says, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?” Here is one of my favorite. Verse 25 says, “To whom will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal? says the Holy One.”
Verse 25 gives us another irrefutable truth. There is no one nor anything that is equal to God! I use this when I pray. It helps me when I am facing the impossible.
Here is another. Verse 28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” Irrefutable: everlasting, Creator of all, doesn’t faint, is not weary, and His understanding is unsearchable.
What a God we serve! He is so great He had to swear by Himself when He promised Abraham (Hebrews 6:13). Verse 19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.”
Jeremiah was in desperate straits. Lamentations 3:1-20 described what he was feeling. He was spiraling down in his thoughts. Verse 21 helped him gain perspective and turn the corner. It says, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.”
What did he recall? Verses 22-24: We are not consumed because His compassions fail not. His mercy is new every morning. His faithfulness is great. The Lord is our Portion.
I hope this has whetted your appetite to search out and document in your heart His irrefutable truths. We can stand in them when everything around us is shaking. ALL is in His control. Nothing is too hard for Him!

Irrefutable Truths

God cannot lie:
Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.”
Nothing is impossible:
Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
He is faithful:
2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
These are just three irrefutable truths. It is good to recall Who the Lord is at all times. It helps us to stand when everything is shaking around us.
Romans 5:2 says, “Through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
We are in evil days. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
We stand by remembering. I like to remember that He is All Powerful. Nothing has any power because He has it ALL. I love that He is All Knowing. That means that He knows everything that is hidden in my heart. He is able to set me free from the things that bind me that I am blind to.
Here is another irrefutable truth that we need to keep in the forefront of our minds at all times. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
The Amplified uses the words ‘vitally united’ which helps us understand the power of abiding. Reading His word daily is not a tack on. It is as vital as breathing.
Asaph wrote Psalm 77. He was deeply troubled. His mind was in a negative spiral. The end of verse two said that his soul (mind, will, emotions) refused to be comforted. He asked himself questions about the Lord. Verse 10-11 says ‘I will’ three times.
Verse 12 says, “I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.” Asaph turned his negative pattern of thinking by two words. ‘I will’ is a heart that is determined to refocus on God’s power.
That must be our stance in these days. Let us recall Who the Lord is, and change the course of our thoughts to His greatness. Psalm 145:3 says, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” His unsearchable greatness is another irrefutable truth!

A Seeking Heart Part Three

I remember these words in other’s prayers as a child: that we might savor of the things of the Lord. In Matthew 16:23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “…Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
A seeking heart ‘savors’ the things of the Lord. To savor is to taste and enjoy it completely. I love lemon pie. I savor every bite. It has a clear and distinct flavor that sets my taste buds dancing with delight.
Do you savor God’s word? Psalm 1:2 says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Meditating is savoring. It is bringing His word into our heart, muling it over, ‘tasting’ each morsel, and delighting in it.
A seeking heart is pure and undefiled. Jeremiah 15:19 says, “…if you take out the precious from the vile, you shall be as My mouth…” Verse 16 says, “…Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart…”
Psalm 12:6 says, “The word of the Lord are pure word, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Psalm 19:8 says, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Three weeks ago I had a free nutritional consultation with a certified dietician. She suggested I increase my calories. I diligently figured out my calories for two weeks. I still missed the mark. Counting calories started to rule over life.
Yesterday I realized this could quickly become a heart-idol to bring me into servitude. I quit. I walked away from it. No more was I going to let it have any more place in my thoughts. I see now this whole thing was a distraction.
Lord, help us savor Your word. Help us bring it into our hearts to expand and increase our desire for You. Reveal any heart-idols that would distract us in our pursuit of Your righteous ways. Draw us deeper into intimate communion with You.

A Seeking Heart Part Two

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” This is priority language. Singular focus. Wholeheartedness. An undivided heart.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters…” James 1:8 says that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. A heart-idol brings in doubt, fear, and unbelief. Heart-idols are the dross of our faith. They create inner defilement. They speak to our life and dictate to our heart. They rule over our thoughts. They bring us into bondage and servitude.
I fell head first into a six foot ravine in 1977. I didn’t remember for 3 1/2 years. I didn’t know what was happening to my crashing health. The effects of the fall became my identity. It ruled my thoughts. I was enslaved to it, though I didn’t know it at the time.
Our mind belongs to the Lord. As we meditate on God’s word, it fills our thought-reservoir with truth. Our heart is governed by what we put into it. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”
Is your mind sanctified? John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” Colossians 3:15 says, And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
I remember years ago when my mind would not be still. I would put my hands on my head and say, “Stop. Be quiet! That was before I learned to still my mind through Scripture. I love Psalm 132:2 which says, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
What does your mind feed on? Psalm 37:3 says to feed on His faithfulness. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good…” Psalm 42:1 says “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God.”

A Seeking Heart

Acts 17:28 is a verse that has always astounded me. It says, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” It is so all conclusive. We are living right now in His pre-appointed time for us. Even with COVID. The ‘why’ is answered in verse 29.
“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
We are to have no other little ‘g’ gods, because there is only one True God. David had a seeking heart. Psalm 27:8 says, “When You said, Seek My face, my 💜 said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
I love his words in Psalm 63:1 which says, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You…” Verse 8 in the Amplified says, “My whole being follows hard after You…”
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first…” That is the priority. What? The kingdom of God, or His rulership in our heart. Why? It will bring us into His righteousness. Our thoughts, purpose, and actions will be conformed to His will. The result? That puts us in a position for Him to meet our other needs.
Psalm 34:10 says, “The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
It is time to consider our lives. That is what the prophet Haggai said to the people who left their priority. They had stopped doing what the Lord had called them to do. Verse 7 says, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways!”

Anatomy Of Reactions Part Two

Exodus 20:3 says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Romans 1:18 says that unrighteousness suppresses the truth. The truth? There is only One True God.
An idol is anything that usurps the Lord’s place as first in our heart. As Ezekiel 14 said, that the Lord will allow our heart-idol to speak to us until we repent of it. Verse 6 says, “…Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.”
Here is a paragraph from a book I am working on. “A heart-idol is anything that eclipses our attraction to the Lord. They are enemy-planted lies that capture our heart and control our thoughts. They bring us into servitude rather than freedom. They are deceptive and phantom. They are figments of our imagination that deliver us into bondage.”
We know that righteousness is conformity to God’s will in our thoughts, purpose, and actions. We also know that satan opposes God’s will. Therefore if he can get us to set up an idol in our heart, he has accomplished his will.
Our past can become an idol. The truth? 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that our past is passed. It is only in our mind. We cannot go back into the past except through our thoughts.
When an emotional pain from our past is buried in our unconscious, we will overreact when some ‘thing’ in the present triggers an experience in the past.
Anger can be triggered for more than one reason. Concealed rage is a self-guard that protects. If someone gets close to touching (disclosing) that buried pain, we lash out in anger. The lie of this idol controls so that we are never free.
Anger can also be when our will gets crossed. James 1:20 says that our anger does not promote the righteousness that God requires. When our will is crossed and we feel anger rise within, it is our signal-alert saying “Flesh has risen, humble your heart.”
It is wise to pay attention to our over reactions. It is the Lord revealing a heart-idol that is keeping us in bondage. It is time to face-off our fears that what is buried will be uncovered. To remain buried is bondage, to acknowledge it and let it go is inner freedom. It is the truth we walk in experientially that sets us free.

Anatomy Of Reactions

Have you ever over reacted? I have learned, over the years, that when I over react to pay attention. The situation in my present has just triggered some buried emotional pain. The Lord is right then actively answering my continual prayer to reveal the hidden that still keeps me bound.
You see, I was a stuffer until 1983. I learned then how to forgive from my heart, and my life radically changed. Healing of past hurts is a process. I self-published my first book in 2005. “Freedom! From Past Hurts” with a chapter entitled “Bitterroot Judgments, Pronouncements, and Inner Vows” That came directly from my journey into healing. “Concealed Rage” was another.
Reactions are a red light to stop. I ask the Holy Spirit right then why I over reacted. It helps me to ask, ‘What do I believe about myself right now?’ I ask in the heat of the emotional trigger.
It is His word that divides between our soul and our spirit and reveals our true intentions. I often find answers in my daily reading. It is all written for our learning. The reason I stuffed things was because I didn’t know what to do with them. He does.
Through my relationship with the Lord, He has built up my faith and confidence in Him. In my quiet time, when my heart is still, He gives me insights that set me free. All my writings are from those insights.
Yesterday I read Ezekiel 14. It is talking about idols in the heart. Verse 4 says, “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols.”
I have a short ebook on Amazon called “Heart-Idols Are Idle Worship: futile, empty, worthless pursuits.” It talks about the needed building blocks that the Lord lays in our heart before He reveals the hidden. He graciously prepares us for His revealing.

Our Conscience Part Three

1 Peter 3:16 says, “Having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”
We all have a conscience. We all know right from wrong. When we do wrong (sin) our conscience is pricked. What we do with that ‘prick’ determines the next step. We either heed or ignore.
I started Ezekiel the other day. I was captured by this verse. Although it is talking about what Ezekiel saw we can apply it to our lives. Ezekiel 1:12 says, “…they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.”
Romans 8:5 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
Did you notice the mind set? Our thoughts truly determine our actions. James 4:17 is a great governor. It says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
I was thinking about the anatomy of sin. Cain brought an offering of the ground, but Abel brought the firstborn of his flock. Both knew what God required. God respected Abel’s but didn’t respect Cain’s. Genesis 4:6 says, “So the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?”
Here is the power of resisting sin. Verse 7 says, “…And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” When tempted to sin, the Holy Spirit is right there to lead us away from the temptation. He checks our spirit. At that point we have a choice: rule over the sin or let it rule over us.
The Holy Spirit will lead us away from the temptation. We can follow or ignore His prompting. Jesus set His face like a flint. The farmer plows a straight row by keeping his eyes on a goal.
Luke 9:62 says, “…No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Elisha did not look back when Elijah called him. We are called with a holy calling. Let us follow the Holy Spirit into fruitful life-giving endeavors, and not be sidetracked by futile pursuits.