7 posts categorized "Offense"

Combating the Enemy Within

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I’ve always been curious as to the stubbornness of my anxiety and sinful habits that nag away at me. I thought it a useful topic to discuss as we walk through this fabulous series on emotional healing.

I’ve mentioned my struggles with anxiety previously. Like many of us it’s been a regular companion for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent enough years of my life in counselors chairs that I figured it was something that would be with me all of my days. There was a self-defeatist sense of ‘oh well, it must just be part of what makes me, me.’ I know many others who struggle with it think similarly.

Some of you may be able to relate to this as you too have had anxiety as a companion or perhaps it’s some habitual ‘thing’ that just hangs around. You’ll have some days where it doesn’t make an appearance, others when it says ‘hi, don’t mind me, I’ll just sit over here,’ and other days when it just gets plain bossy and makes everything so much harder and, scarier, leaving you in despair.

“Help me, Jesus,” is a much-repeated cry on such days.

A Thorn or what?

We’re all familiar with Paul’s ‘thorn’ that he carried with him for most of his days. I know I’ve often resigned myself to thinking my anxiety is my ‘thorn’. But I’ve come to realise that’s a lie.

We talk a lot about the Devil and his role in continually badgering us. Remember John 10:10, he’s come to “steal, kill and destroy.” Yes, we’ve got a target on our backs and his aim is pretty good because he gets a lot of practice.

But it’s not just that enemy we have to contend with. There’s the “enemy within the camp.” Our flesh. I love this definition of the flesh I read recently which provided much insight:

“… the outlook orientated towards the self, that which pursues its own ends in self-sufficient independence from God.” (Anthony Thistleton)

There’s an internal battle going on inside us. Because of the rebellion that took place at the fall, there’s been an “enormous disruption in our human nature.”1 As Hewetson contends: “the body’s desires are entirely legitimate and simply doing what they were created to do. The evil lies in the fact that because of our failure to submit to God, these desires refuse to submit to us and rebel against their lowly position.”2

Hence, the longer we’ve lived with a particular habit or perception or way of thinking, the harder it is to dislodge it. And willpower won’t be sufficient to move it out altogether. We need supernatural help.

Abundant Living

Over the past year I believe I’ve made some significant headway regarding my anxiety. One of the key steps was to acknowledge (and keep reminding myself) that God doesn’t want me to live with anxiety. It’s not in His plan. For me. Or anyone.

“Jesus came that we may have life, and that we may have it abundantly.” This is the flip side of John 10:10.

We can have confidence that in walking with Jesus we are “moving away from lingering imperfections toward more and more holiness.”3 The more we keep our focus on Jesus and the things above (Colossians 3:2) the stronger our protective walls become forcing the enemy to gradually retreat.

Another key consideration was understanding that I am a son of God. As I mentioned in my comment to Lynn’s post last week I knew this in my mind but it’s only really in the past year or so when I believe it’s sunk into my heart.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Prov 4:23 NLT)

The heart. We can rely too much on our minds and what we are thinking but God looks at the heart. He wants us to love Him with all of our heart … trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding.

Heart health

How do we get heart healthy in 2017? A few thoughts on what I’ve actively been doing these past 18 months or so that I believe have helped me get to where I am now.

1. Get moving

Not just exercise – do that. But actually be positive and take action. God uses us to implement His purposes for our lives. Think of all those great OT stories, eg, Abraham had to leave home, Noah had to build a boat, etc. My anxiety has many times stopped me from starting because “where should I go? what if it isn’t the right way? What if I do it wrong?” You get the gist.

Last year I moved forward by committing to an action that I’d put off for years. Why had I put it off? Pride and fear.

I’m so pleased now that I stepped out as it has definitely helped me. Stepping out does take courage and having someone close who can encourage you, move with you even, is a good way to help take that step.

The greatest counter measure to fear is to start something.

2. Get into the Word

You’re probably tired of me saying this but golly gosh, falling in love with the Word has changed my life. The Word is a lifeline, an instruction manual, a love story, a magnificent mystery, and a supernatural book. And it’s a person.

“… but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Rom 12:2)

Getting the truth into our hearts truly is a strong weapon against those perceptions or deceptions that we’ve carried around with us for too long.

3. Guard your heart

We need to put a gate against all the negatives that can infect our hearts. Many of us struggle with such negatives in our marriages. The enemy uses offense to weaken Christians. Offense can bubble away inside us for years. Our pride will encourage it to convince us we are justified in feeling such and such. And then before we know it relationships are strained. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon against offense.

4. Community

Like many of us being actively involved in church happenings has been a challenge for me. But I also enjoyed being anonymous as it made it easy for me to stay uninvolved. Last year I was asked to increase my engagement in a couple of different groups. I’ve been so blessed by both and have seen my faith and love for Jesus grow as a result.

I was reminded only today of what Acts said about the first church:

“And they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” (Acts 2:42-43)

God loves community. He knows it’s good for us. I’ve been a laggard for too long and used my situation to stay in the shadows.

 

I’ve still got a long way to go. Anxiety pops its head up most days to remind me it’s only a few thoughts away from jumping back in. And yes, they’ve still been some tough days but I’m filled with far more hope and confidence than I was previously.

“Finding fulfillment in God is the most powerful antidote to any sin.” (Gary Thomas). Keep fixing your eyes on Jesus.

Grace and peace, dear friends. I do apologise for the too long a post. Thank you for persisting. May 2017 be a great year where we all experience release from the “stuff” that has vexed us.

Notes: 1. “Good For You. The Extraordinary life of the Ordinary Christian”, Canon David Hewetson, Barton Books, 2015. Pg25. 2. Ibid. pg 26. 3. “Taste and See. Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life.” John Piper. Multnomah Books, 2005. Pg100 Referencing Hebrews 10:14 NASB

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Offense Follows on the Heels of Pain

I'm Offended

When our hearts are wounded, we have two choices. How we respond will lead down two very different paths. We can choose healing and a path back toward joy. Or we can choose offense and stand on the slippery slope and slide slowly into bitterness, anger, depression and demonic oppression.

And let me tell you a truth. The demonic realm uses offense as one of its most effective weapons upon believers. The demonic likes to whisper the deceptive words into our ears such as you didn’t deserve that. You are absolutely right to be hurt. Those words are unforgivable.

What is difficult about choosing healing is that the demonic will twist words of truth to lure you down the slippery path. You may have been hurt and you DID NOT deserve to be. But it is a deceptive lie that you are entitled to be offended. An entitled offense will hook you then steal your joy and hope.

With this said, I want to share the process of walking through healing back toward joy following an emotional wounding or offense.

One: Take the pain to Jesus. Immediately, pray. Ask Jesus to come and hold you and to take the words of pain out of your soul. Ask the Holy Spirit to touch your heart and bring healing. Do this over and over until you start to feel peace and a change in your heart.

Two: (Here’s the hard part) Ask the Lord to help you see this person the way He sees them. When I do this, I often can see my attacker’s wounding. I can see they are filled with fear and failure which motivates their hurtful words. Often I see insecurity cloaked by pride and selfishness. I can sense the fears and pain from wounding, neglect, or unloving parents or others who should have cared for them when they were a child.

This kind of empathy develops a supernatural compassion. And when you begin to see them from outside of your pain, it changes how you move forward.

Three: (This is the REALLY hard part) Choose to forgive. Choose to let go. Choose to not be offended. How do you do this? I literally must speak these statements out loud. I take angry thoughts and thoughts of revenge and hurtful words of response, captive to Christ. I put into practice all I’ve learned about the power of our words and I pray them forth.

I take captive any and all repetitive thoughts of an angry response. Thoughts that are unkind, unloving or hate motivated. Over and over. And over and over again, sometimes over many days until they come into obedience and alignment with the truth of the Word.

Then I bless. I bless that person with the knowledge of the love of Christ. With joy, peace and whatever else the Holy Spirit places on my heart. And I can do this with a genuine hope that they receive all they need through Christ.

This process over a few days and/or weeks will bring about healing and leads me out of pain and darkness into light and joy.

Now, I do want to chat about relationships that need boundaries and I hope to get to that soon. Stay tuned.

Today, I have another assignment. In the last post, your homework was to give the Holy Spirit permission to work with you in areas of offense. So today, your homework is to take out that list and start to work this process in prayer with the Holy Spirit about that person(s) who hold offense in your heart.

My friends, offense grows and becomes a block in your prayer life. It will stifle the Holy Spirit’s work. Offense cuts off love from flowing out of us to others. That is why the devil employs this tactic often. Today, I implore you to forgive every offense. Our work here on earth is to learn to forgive and learn to love. Dealing with an offense with Jesus leads us on the path, Everlasting. And living without offense it FREEDOM. It’s life without fear and pain. It is living the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10. It is a life of joy and peace. It's GLORY!!!!

So, what do you need help with in this process? Share in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

Luke 17New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Warns of Offenses

17 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

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SUM Books 4


Reaction Mode

Dear friends, the following is a post I did a few years back. The Holy Spirit has continually reminded me of this post the last week or so, but I wasn't sure if it was a needed subject at the moment. Then on Thursday as I was working on the registration details for the Hope Ignited conference our healing rooms and my church were hosting, I heard the Holy Spirit say over and over again throughout the day, "Don't take offense."

I assumed it was for me, specifically something the Holy Spirit knew I would encounter at some point over the weekend at the conference. Then our worship leader gave a word on this very subject Friday evening. I knew then it was a corporate word. And then Lynn's post yesterday confirmed that! Wow! Don't you just love how the Holy Spirit speaks to us?

God is on the move, my friends, to restore this nation to peace and righteousness. I truly believe we will be astonished in how He does this through His amazing love.

So, I present to you, "Reaction Mode," originally posted in September of 2011. I pray it speaks to your heart and encourages you. I've updated it just a bit for our community needs right now.

 

Reactions Mode

6a00d83451ee9f69e2014e8b804fe8970d-320wiAre you in reaction mode in your marriage?

I remember to this day when I made this revelation about my marriage. I stood in our home office, about to react to something my husband said. I believe at that moment the Holy Spirit stopped me and then gave me a complete picture of the situation. And it wasn’t pretty. If this pattern didn’t stop soon, my marriage would soon crash and burn.

And even more sobering (i.e. convicting)? I was the heart of the problem, because my heart was in a bad shape. Years of resentment toward my husband and unmet expectations had created a barrier between us.

What I call “reaction mode” is this highly destructive and very draining place where you and your spouse are walking in your marriage more like adversaries than partners. Every comment is scrutinized under suspicion and communication has completely broken down.

Though not always true, I find this often starts with women. We stop communicating out of unforgiveness and resentment. Or, like me, we never learned to communicate in a healthy manner.

The saddest part of reaction mode is that it leads to contempt toward one another. And where there is contempt, respect and love no longer exist. They simply can’t coexist. For example, a husband reacts back to his wife harshly, because he’s not receiving his deepest desire, which is to be respected. The wife then retreats or closes herself off, feeling unloved when her deepest desire is to be loved.

Do you see the vicious cycle? That’s the first and most crucial step to breaking reaction mode—seeing this pattern in your marriage. Whether you are male or female, this pattern will not stop until you make the first move. What does this change look like?

  1. Be Careful What You Speak.

You know, there were times that I realized my reactions to my husband bordered on the behavior of a sarcastic teenager. Not a pretty sight but very convicting when recognized. Our words have the power to build or break down. If you’re inclined to speak without thinking first, stop right now and ask God to help control your mouth. This is a biblical principle and He will help you. Trust me on that.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1

We can also seek the Holy Spirit for the right words to speak as well. If we choose words that are honest and without an agenda to prove we’re right or place blame, we can be instrumental to restoring peace to our marriage.

  1. Dwell on the Positive.

It’s easy to fall into this place where we think our spouse has an ulterior motive to his or her words. Even simple requests can turn into a battleground, because we’ve somehow fallen into the lie that our spouse intends to harm us. This suspicion perpetuates the reaction mode and is its fuel. Suspicion can also be fueled by lies, so the best way to combat this is to counteract with the truth. What does your spouse do well?

Make a list. My husband is great about making sure the garbage goes out every week. I appreciate this even more when he’s out of town and I have to do it. Yuck! He’s also great about going grocery shopping with me, and he’s quick to show his love and affection. Start with small things and your list will grow. Then study it whenever you fall into thinking those negative thoughts about your spouse.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

A negative thought feeds the enemy and breeds more negativity. This can even evolve into scenarios playing out in your mind of how your spouse could potentially hurt you. Then you wind up hurt and defensive over something that never even happened.

A positive thought feeds the spirit and releases the Holy Spirit to work in your mind for transformation (Romans 12:2). He also works in your heart to help you forgive and allow God’s love to flow more freely to and through you.

Which one do you want to grow “fatter” in your life?

  1. Respect Him Even When You Don’t Want To, Love Her Even When She’s Unlovable.

Our hubbies need to know we will still stand by them when they mess up. And they will mess up, just as we do. We need to extend that hand of grace and acceptance, just as we want it extended to us. I’ve never seen anything quite as destructive to a marriage as contempt. And it is subtle in its presence. This goes right back to number one in how we use our words.

Add to that how you sound. What is your tone? Are you speaking in a way that solicits cooperation or are you condemning and accusing? This was the biggest area that I needed to change, and I know I could not have done it without God’s help. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that our tone and words hurt those we love. Pull out that list you made and go over it again. When it’s hard to show respect to your husband, find the things you can respect and show it to him. Then watch him bloom under your praise.

… and the wife must respect her husband. — Ephesians 5:33b

And loving someone when they are unlovable is one of the most powerful and sacrificial things a person can do. I have watched a woman be astonished by the fact that my church was assisting her out of our own desire to help and we weren’t getting paid by the government to do it. I have been deeply humbled by my husband's love when I was in pain and cranky. Love speaks louder than anything. Anything! Love changes hearts, marriages, families, cities and nations.

God is love so when we love, even when a person hasn’t “earned it,” we display His heart and presence in the most powerful way possible by revealing His very nature. Love (1 John 4).

  1. Keep a “We” Mentality.

Isn’t this really the truth we forget? We enter in to marriage as two “I’s” and suddenly have to figure out what it means to be a “we.” This requires putting our spouse first, this means loving and respecting even when we don’t feel it, this means seeing our marriage truly as a team effort and pulling our weight even when we feel our spouse isn’t. God sees our heart and our efforts. Your actions to honor Him in your marriage are never wasted!

Don’t quit the team. Be the one who stands strong and keeps Christ in the middle—your faith and prayers do that (1 Cor. 7:14). Whatever issues you’re dealing with, remember that you and your spouse are a team. Blame solves nothing. Teamwork always gets the job done.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

Finally, remember that we can’t make these changes on our own. We need God’s help. Start with prayer and trust that God really can work in you, in your spouse and in your marriage to bring change and healing. It takes time, but when we desire God’s will for our marriage—a partnership built on love and respect—He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

SUMites, I want to leave you with one final thought here (and this is a new part I'm adding). No matter where we are in our faith journey, God sees us the same way through His love and according to who He created us to be. We are His righteousness through Christ Jesus. And He never changes for He is the God of today, yesterday and tomorrow. He doesn't function within time as we do. He is present in all places—past present and future.

Now this is where it gets really interesting and may blow your mind a bit. Just as He sees us in this way, as who He created us to be, He sees our spouse the same way. He does not define them by their lack of faith but according to the measure of faith He has set aside for them. He sees them as they are intended to be, His children. I believe that is the heart of Eccl. 3:11 too. 

Father God, give us Your eyes, Your perspective of our spouse. Help us see them in the potential and in the light of eternity that You've placed within them so that we can love them according to that image and be part of releasing the truth of Your love in them. Thank You, Lord! Thank You! In the amazing name of Jesus, amen!

Love you so much, SUMites! And God loves you even better. ;-)
Dineen

 

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SUM Books 4


Offense

I'm Offended

SUMites, in the last 30 days the enemy has come like a flood and with a specific weapon, offense.

In the last four weeks, I’ve had to fight for my heart with all the faith I possess in a way I haven’t in a long time. I’ve battled, fighting against pain and fear and worked relentlessly to move into joy and healing. And after walking through this season, I believe the Lord is asking me to share what I’ve learned with you. So, I think we need to chat about how to walk with Jesus through emotional pain and how to keep our hearts from moving into offense.

What do you think, is this a good idea???

The devil will use physical pain to open the door to more sinister issues such as resentment, depression and fear. The enemy also uses emotional pain in the same way but with emotional pain, the demonic will employ bitterness and even do his best to paralyze us with inaction, shock and anxiety.

The Lord is well aware that the devil uses pain, wounding and especially offense as one of his primary assaults to invade our life and spew his destruction. What I’ve come to learn is that our thought life is especially vulnerable and can lead us into defeat while in the midst of emotional pain and offense.

Today, I want to chat about how to defeat the darkness of offense.

Let me start with a story:

Not long ago, a friend of mine was searching for some healing for her life. She asked me how to receive the kind of healing she was searching for and because she lived out of state, I suggested she contact her church and ask for some healing prayer. Well, I followed up with her about a month later and she told me that she contacted the church for a session of prayer. However, because they asked her to fill out a questionnaire to facilitate her session, and the questions were quite detailed about her past, she was offended. She never went for prayer and likely still struggles with issues that could have been given to Jesus in prayer.

My friends, I need to ask you a question: WHAT OFFENDS YOU?

Sometimes we are easily offended? We can watch television and be offended. We can be offended because a stranger parked their car in front of our house. We are offended because the Women’s ministry leader didn’t include us or ask us to participate. We are offended when the train is late, someone forgets to pick up their socks, when we are cut off in traffic, etc., etc. And these are just the little things that will raise an offense in our heart.

THEN there are other offenses. We are emotionally knocked out by words from our mother, father, sister, brother, children, boss, best friend or others. And how about when our spouse speaks something hurtful and you feel like the air was knocked from your chest.

These moments of pain are even more devastating when the words spoken are released with intent to harm, humiliate and are without truth. And hurtful words are especially upsetting when spoken by those we love and trust.

In years past, following a moment of hurtful exchange my gut reaction is revenge. I want to say something to hurt back. I want to rush to my defense and just set this person back a step. I want to react with a blow to their life that would give me satisfaction.

All the years of walking with Jesus, I’ve learned it might feel good in the moment to respond at that level. However, later it never feels good to respond in revenge and give pain to the one who wounded you. But boy howdy, it is hard to respond like Jesus and turn the other cheek.

However, it IS possible. And when you work through the pain and realize that you handled the situation with integrity and maturity, you will be filled with relief and there are some amazing things that are the result when we offer a wise response.

I think in order work through offense there are two processes that are needed.

In The Moment: You may have more to add to this, but for me, in the moment of a hurtful exchange when emotions are roiling, it’s my intimacy with Christ and my years of practicing grace and restraint through the Holy Spirit that saves me from escalating a situation and restrains me from speaking words that will wound others. I remain focused on words like redemption, hope, reconciliation and grace.

Remaining conscious of who I am and whose I am, reframes conflict. I don’t need to stoop to untruths or verbal mud-flinging. I don’t need to speak words that intentionally harm, control or silence.

(Side note: There are situations when it’s appropriate to remove yourself from the conflict, i.e., hang up the phone, leave the room, etc.)

After The Moment: How we process and handle the aftermath of an emotional wounding and conflict is utterly crucial for our emotional and spiritual health.

Join me next time for After The Moment, as I will share the process of how to keep our heart and soul from falling into offense.

Today, I have some homework. In your quiet time this week, I want you to take out paper and pen and pray: Holy Spirit, I give you permission to show me where and with whom I am offended. Write down what you hear then ask the Holy Spirit how to begin to move out of offense.

If you can, share with me areas of offense where you struggle. I hope to write about how to work through them in the next few posts.

I’m in Philadelphia and NYC this week, so I’ll be in the comments sporadically. But I will check in and we will walk this out in Holy triumph my friends. Hugs, Lynn

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” -Matthew 5:38-40 (NIV)

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SUM Books 4


Righting Wrongs or do we?

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I rushed out of the company’s lobby and hopped into a vacant taxi, a bevy of emotions bursting within me: shock, anger, hurt, disappointment and confusion. But surprisingly, genuine peace. I called Fiona and shared the news. Her response was also mixed. Could see the positives but the immediate financial impact wasn’t ideal.

That morning, I had left to meet my client expecting to receive a letter of employment whilst driving north to Newcastle (a two hour trip) to meet a prospective supplier.

My client, the CEO and Sales Director, were running late, having flown in from Melbourne. They rushed past me towards the main lobby reception with only a curt hello saying we needed to have a meeting before we left for our Newcastle appointment. Little eye contact and both visibly tense.

There was clearly something going on and I had to play catch-up. Once in the meeting room, it was obvious that something unpleasant was about to take place. And who was to be the recipient.

It was all over in fifteen minutes.

I stood up, emotion gripping my throat, handed them the details of the Newcastle appointment and sincerely wished both of them the best of luck.

I’d just been fired.

Shocked more by what was said and how than by losing my job. I was stunned by some of the accusations the CEO made; it was beyond “its just business”, it was very personal.

On returning home I moped around, made a few calls to people, and then sensed I should pray. Surprisingly, I prayed for the CEO, for blessing for him, for his family and business.

And what a salve it was to my aching heart.

Payback

We’ve all had those moments. Tremendously hurtful actions and/or words that often create a deep, deep wound in our heart. To minimize it’s crippling effect we may desire payback. Words, actions, abuse, rejection, you know the drill. Our pain leads us to inflict pain back. It can feel good, can’t it? Like cool water applied to sunburn. But it soothes only momentarily. The pain of that wound can go deep and linger for a long time.

It hurts. Really hurts.

David and King Saul

We’re all familiar with David’s story. Anointed as a teenager as the future king of Israel by the prophet Samuel David had to serve the current king, Saul. For thirteen years.

Saul soon became threatened by David’s popularity and went on a mission to have him killed. David fled as most normal people would when a maniacal king wanted your head on a platter.

David and his men spent much time hiding in caves for safety and on one occasion his tormentor and pursuer, Saul, entered the same cave to relieve himself. The king was completely oblivious to the fact he had an audience in the shadows.

David’s men encouraged him to take the opportunity to slay the king. He’d never have a better chance. And then he could assume his God-ordained role as king.

But David refused. He did, however, sneak up behind the king and cut a piece of his robe off. Even this troubled David. He was such an honorable man, even to the one who was trying to kill him.

When Saul was some distance from the cave, David called out to him and showed him the piece of robe:

“Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.” (1 Samuel 24:11-15; NKJV)

What graciousness.

Saul wept on hearing David’s words. He was torn between doing the right thing and saving his title.

Infection

Often when we’ve been mistreated we allow the wound to linger. We may have struck back but that doesn’t actually bring healing, simply a momentary release.

I’ve always been susceptible to bullies, mainly of the verbal kind. I’m someone who in a threatening situation can be slow to framing the right response and before I know it the pain has been inflicted. By the time I’m ready to say something that’s intelligent and not hurtful back, the moment’s gone.

The hurt lingers. And grows like infection spreads in your body if untreated.

“It [love] does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:5; NLT)

Fairness

Yes, being treated poorly, being bullied, being mistreated, is unfair. Very unfair. In all our humanness we believe we have the right to justice, getting even.

But that’s why grace is so amazing.

Grace is totally and completely undeserved. That’s the point of it.

I’m not suggesting we simply roll over and allow ourselves to be continually mistreated.

Sharing our pain with the Lord is so important. Give it to Him. Everytime. He understands. Jesus death on the cross was terribly unfair. He didn’t deserve to be punished, ridiculed and killed.

The Cross.

There’s grace at the cross. Always. Everytime.

Are you struggling with anger or deep hurt from being mistreated, bullied or simply misunderstood? I know a blog post like this doesn’t go anywhere near solving it but I know going to the cross does.

God knows our pain. And He knows how to heal it. Share it with Him and ask Him to heal it. Sit in the silence with Him. He is the silence. Allow Him to minister to you. (Ps 46:10)

If you feel able do share it with us below so we can pray over you.

Grace and peace, dear Sumites.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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SUM Books 4


How Do We Become Free Of Offense?

SUM Nation:

This post is going to challenge you. However, working through the steps I discuss will, indeed, free you from the ugly snare of the enemy’s weapon of —offense.

Surrendering the offense is the first step. Well, perhaps recognizing that you feel offended is where you begin. Recognize it and name it. Then say, “I’m determined to give this offense to the Lord.” Then pray, pray and pray and surrender the need to respond.


Sometimes let goIt IS appropriate to respond in relationships when boundaries are crossed or broken. However, there are many times where we need to just….. let…. it…… go. Learning to discern those instances I believe comes from praying Ephesians 1:17 over our minds and heart. I have prayed this passage so many times, I’ve lost count. And I frequently pray this verse over others.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. —Ephesians 1:1 NIV

Praying for wisdom and revelation to know God’s thoughts and will in the matter is very powerful…. And extraordinarily helpful and healing.

I understand that it’s easier said than done. But with the Lord’s help, through our prayer time, we can learn to see above the situations and the people and truly let offense just roll off our backs.

Over time through prayer and forgiveness we will find we come to a place where we forgive and let go of offenses. I don’t even fully understand how this happens. It completely, doesn’t make sense especially in our culture to forgive and to release an offense. Our culture will encourage you to hate that person. Seek their demise through gossip behind their backs. To cause pain through escalating the offense and making it even more personal.

In my life as I’ve practiced recognizing and surrendering offense, I’ve discovered that forgiveness and release of the offense and offender comes more easily and quickly. And part of our freedom it to release offense as quickly as possible.

Now here is the final step. Are you ready?

Bless them.

From your heart speak into your prayers a blessing. “I bless ____________ with joy and peace and everything they need. In Jesus name. AMEN

Gulp!

Here is an example.

I pray with people through my church. And often people come in for prayer because they are really struggling in life with all kinds of emotional issues. Recently a man came in for prayer and through some prayer time and questions, we arrived at his divorce. He had been divorced for many years and assured us he had worked through forgiveness of his ex-wife. And he had.

However, he had never taken that extra step to actually release her from all the past pain, by blessing her to receive everything the Lord had for her.

So, in that moment he began to pray, out loud, and blessed his ex-wife. He blessed her with joy, happiness, contentment and everything good that the Lord has for her.

THAT was his freedom moment. His face changed. He experienced a lightness in his spirit and joy rose up from within. He was finally free.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1 NIV

This passage says it all.

Practice releasing offense as quickly as you can. Surrender it to the Lord. Something supernatural begins to occur that empowers your heart to truly forgive and even bless.

Wow, the miracles and workings of the Kingdom of God… It simply blows my mind up at times.

SUMites, we are often the target of offense. Our own family members can speak persecution and offensive comments to us about our faith. There are times to respond and times to let go. Pray Ephesians 1:17 so that when those moments arise, you will be filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will know what to do and what to say, if anything.

Thus you will walk in peace. And peace, joy and righteousness is your inheritance as a child of the One True God and His son, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.

I love you. We have some BIG surprises coming next week and throughout the month of May. I intend to discuss the fear of man challenge later this summer. Stay tuned… Much, much more coming here to the House of SUM!

It’s a blast living the believer’s life! Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Offended??? Really?? Oh, Come On Already!

I’m so mad the pastor said that to me!

I can’t believe they didn’t invite my daughter to the party.

I’m so hurt that they didn’t ask me to be part of the team.

It’s unconscionable how they have taken advantage of me.

I’m furious that she is always noticed, she is always selected, everything good happens to her. I’m never seen for what I do, what I give, how I’m always left out and unappreciated.

I would like to see that woman drop into a dark hole.

 

Okay, I think you may get the idea where this post is headed……

So I know I told you last week that we would chat about disappointment. However, I happened to stumble upon and then remember I wrote an entire series about disappointment last year. And looking at those posts, they are still filled with great wisdom and power. Thus, I’m not going to write about that subject again today. If you are struggling with a spiritual block with disappointment, click on the posts and take time to read through them and work through the content. Jesus will pour back into your life all the time you spend reading. (When God Disappoints - Chronicles Continuing

OKAY, let’s get to something I think we haven’t covered and it’s really a doozy!!!

Offended???OFFENSE

Can you relate to any of the statements above? Are you offended by someone? Are you angry because someone said or did something that is perceived or truly is unfair, unjust or untrue?

Oh my goodness, Lynn Donovan (I say to myself), yes indeed to all of these. SUMites, I can become offended. And as I’ve wrestled with this issue today, I can think of several instances where I was deeply hurt and offended and these are only a few issues with my neighbors, let alone my family members. Sheesh and Holy Jesus help me!!!!

I’ve been watching a strange program of late about all these people who live alone in the bush of Alaska, far away from other people. And my friends, that is where you would need to move if you never or at least rarely want to be offended.

Offense comes with being human.

Offense is painful. It’s difficult to overcome. It can sever lifelong friendships, separate you from siblings, destroy your relationship with your parents and massacre marriages. For crying out loud, offense can ignite wars.

AND… offense is a Bazooka in the devil’s arsenal.

Offense is what leads many into the realm of indignation and anger that will cool into that bitter castle of cancer— resentment.

How do we deal with this BIG issue? Because it’s not easy.

You know the kind of offense that really gets me? When someone treats my kids unfairly and cruelly. Any of you mamas out there, do you relate?????

Offense coupled with my strong sense of justice has created many an “opportunity” to exercise Godly forgiveness. And forgive we must because unresolved offense will blow up your faith life and likely your relationships as well.

I think there are two things to consider when we begin to pray about offense.

One, we need to think about the person who offended and determine if this is a healthy relationship and one that needs repair or is it one that we need to let go. This comes to my mind specifically with my neighborhood. When we first moved in, I was desperate for friends. I joined a few of the local social evening ladies’ nights. Some of those people offended and I didn’t need to keep them in my friendship circle. And I was at complete peace with that.

However, we can’t unfriend certain people as easily as hitting the unfriend button on Facebook. You can’t unfriend your child’s teacher who has continually mistreated your daughter. Or the baseball coach or the dance teacher, or the professor. Or how about a boss, a senior manager at work, your kids or spouse or mother, or, or, or… There are so many relationships that we must learn to walk through with grace and forgiveness and yet understand where boundaries must lie.

Two, determine appropriate boundaries. Women especially seem to struggle with boundaries as we are nurturers naturally and want people to get along. But when we begin to understand that so many people are wounded. They are living with darkness as a voice and we need to be prayerful about with whom we surround ourselves. And we must establish and then enforce healthy boundaries.

No matter what, in our prayer time it’s imperative to surrender our offense to Jesus. Cry our tears, wail if needed but give over our need to be angry, mad, revengeful and hateful. Those are emotions with harming barbs that will bring sickness to our soul.

So SUMites, is this an area that the enemy is lurking in your life?

You can find freedom from all offense. Friday, I’ll tell you how I handle offense. What say you? Give me your thoughts on this topic. See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

SUM Books 4