156. Fight the fortress.

They talk of conventional wisdom.  I know it is defined as traditional or customary wisdom.  I think the context often implies modern wisdom or current wisdom. I admit that wisdom changes with the accumulation of knowledge.  Medical science can attest to that, to name only one example.  If wise living changes with the times and advances in the natural and human sciences, then how would we know how to make decisions to the benefit of our communities?  What is the measure?  How will we know what is right and wise?

Wisdom is ultimately the application of knowledge.  It is defined as follows:

Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.

It is a mouth full of words – wonderful words.  As I read it, I yearn for living like that.  It sounds good, it IS good and it will be good – no doubt.

The first important principle is that thoughts and action go together.  Wisdom is expressed in action.  The inner being of a human is directed by his thoughts and is demonstrated in his actions.

Thoughts are private – actions are public.

That with which your mind is occupied, is manifested in your being and defines you as a person in community.

Wisdom is the guide to determine and take control of our mind.  It is our topic under discussion – a big one indeed!  Thoughts and decisions from our inner being shape our lives.  We have talked about the significance of mind-contracts that establish something that has never existed.  Out of these flow tangible and real consequences.

The Bible has a lot to say about our thought-life.

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

We have talked about Romans 12:2.  The change in our inner being takes place with the renewal of our mind.  Paul is very outspoken on this subject.  Sharp and clear he says:

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will.

 The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.

 Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, The Message)

Not only does this Scripture describe the world in which we live with its culture of scandal and outrage, but also enlightens us to the fact that our thought-world is under evil attack.  Our enemy plants thoughts to paralyze our action.  I have heard it being said that the devil cannot be accused of laziness, as he is always ready with an attack of fear and confusion. He will pounce on every weak moment to sow anger and fear.

In all this we are equipped by the Word of God to fight on all fronts, clearing the ground of every obstruction.

Verses that I cling to like a desperate being drowning in the flood of fear and dejection of this world are the encouragement and comfort to be found in Philippians 4.

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life,  then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. (TPT)

The Amplified says: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything…

 There it is – the disease of the day – anxiety.

How will we saturate our day with prayer?  It is a challenge especially when life’s demands swallow us just to spit us out dead tired at the end of a day.  Prayer is to call the Lord of hosts, of heaven’s armies into our thought world and truly live verse 8.

So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.

There is much to say about this.  I will continue in the next piece to discuss the implications of these wonderworking and life-changing words.

Until then, there is a lot to think about.  Think what you are thinking.

Are you caught up in the culture of outrage and scandal?  It often feels as if this culture is a vicious monster feeding on people through the very willing media and social media.

Grace, goodness and justice are foreign concepts to this frenzy that needs constant sensation in the name of the so-called right to know and transparency.

 

 

 

 

 

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155. Binding bonds in your brain.

The world around us is made up of contracts. Formal and informal agreements rule our daily life.  Even friendship is an informal contract.  One does not go to a lawyer to draw up the terms of friendship, but certain silent conditions apply to the relationship we call friendship. Loyalty, love, support in difficult times, general back up and a friendly ear for joyous and sad happenings are but a few of the basic assumptions of friendship.

More formal contracts are prenuptial contracts; house and motorcar contracts, insurance, bank accounts, credit cards and many more that make a modern life possible.  All these are the foundation for living although we do not think of every detail of every contract when we pull out a credit card to pay at the supermarket.  Maybe it is only when things go wrong that we realize, often in shock, what we had agreed to.

Certain conditions have to be met before a contract is established.  One of the most important is mutual agreement.  Often this agreement is tacit and can be surmised by the actions of both parties involved.  By using the credit card, the bank can infer that I have agreed to all the conditions of the fine print sent to me with the card.  By acting that way we can say that we both “willed” a contract to be  established – thus a legally binding agreement.

If we apply this principle in the spiritual world, things work exactly the same.  We have often discussed the powerful consequences of a simple, rational decision.  It is exactly how rebirth takes place.  Rebirth is the result of an act of your will to submit your life to God. The decision has a life-changing effect.  The day you buy your car brings drastic changes to your life, time management and planning. You have full control over your coming and going and are independent of public transport schedules.  Your decision to immigrate to the Kingdom of God is a contract that changes your life on every level.  Your decisions and behaviour are now governed by Kingdom principles that radically distinguish you from the world around you.

It is actually possible to make agreements with the brokenness of the world around us, even as we live as citizens of the invisible Kingdom of God.  Such agreements or contracts are often forced upon us by the cruelty of shattered dreams and relationships that leaves us wounded.  We “agree” with the heartache and hopelessness, bitterness and doubt in God’s goodness and a whole series of other heart-wrenching and mostly unintended soul activities.

Caught in the destruction of our own agreements with sorrow and despair, we become prey to our mean and vicious enemy smelling blood.  Years ago, when I learnt that the devil exploits our woundedness and grief and take the utmost advantage of our weakness, I was shocked and afraid.  He will send in his demons like a pack of wild dogs to brutally amplify our anguish and augment our misery.  My already bleeding heart will be ripped apart.

There are many ways in which people try to cope with grief and loss.  There is only one person who can truly…

bind up and heal the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1,AMPC)

The key to healing is agreements with God and his Word.  Your soul admits and submits to God’s character and Kingdom principles to receive the healing and deliverance that can only take place in the Kingdom of God.

The moment you seek healing in the Word of God, a contract is created.  You enter into an agreement with the Holy Spirit to heal your heart.

You align your will with heaven – how wonderful is that!

The process starts in your mind.  That is where decisions are made and thoughts take shape.  Paul directs us in this process with these powerful words in Romans 12:2:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (NKJV)

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think.This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. (TPT)

Healing by thinking – a transformation!  This pungent decision is the commencement of a miracle in our inner being that can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit in full surrender to him. Greater effort to think differently will not have any long-term effect.  The working of a miracle is God’s domain.  He does not expect from us to do the miracle or to be a miracle.  We need to surrender, invite him in and submit to his love.  We will, however, enjoy the full and lasting benefit of this heavenly intervention.  It is the creation of a contract with God.  Just like in the case of any other contract it is good to know the elements of the contract.  God gave us his Word – it is all in there, guaranteed by the Cross of Jesus and confirmed by the working of the Holy Spirit in us.

…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], (AMPC)

I like the reference in the Amplified to new ideals and a new attitude.   Newness is indicative of change.  God promises new like never before and nothing else.  The new will be unique!

[New could mean: neos – more of the same depicting quantity as in a new pencil but many others already exist or:  kainos – unique, has never been, depicting quality as in one of a kind.]

Surrender will enable you to live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.

God’s will is your healing, deliverance and salvation – to live a full life. He is the only source of life. His mind-set towards you is fully revealed in the work of Jesus on the cross.  Nobody can ever doubt his approach to mankind.

God is calling you today:

“O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,


It is time to hear his voice and surrender your heart to him.  He will do the miracle

Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires. (Isaiah 54:11)

 

 

 

154. Miracles – inside and out.

We cannot help but feeling powerless when we talk about miracles.  It is a mysterious realm outside our control.  We have no authority to command the exceptional. We are, in a sense, “prisoners” of the laws of nature and the ordinary scheme of things.  We cannot “break out” and fix things in an extraordinary and uncommon way. A miracle always makes one wonder. Whether you experience an extraordinary event or hear about it, it will make you think a bit.  A miracle demands careful consideration.

In the dictionary a miracles is described as a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.  The definition goes on to say:

…a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences or an amazing product or achievement, or an outstanding example of something.

Without a doubt it is a bunch of feel-good words thrown together in one paragraph: welcome surprise, highly improbable, extraordinary, amazing, outstanding… and added to that: the work of a divine agency.

According to the above definition a miracle is always positive and welcome.  There is not even a hint of negativity in the description of a miracle. It is an extraordinary event welcomed with joy and relief.

Even the fiercest atheist and agnostic have to admit that one historical figure is unquestionably associated with miracles, whether you believe the miracles or not, namely Jesus.  How many times in debates the miracles of Jesus are mockingly attacked.  Notwithstanding, the miracles of Jesus, as they are recorded in the Bible, serve as an inexorable and proven source of hope and strength in the most dire and disastrous circumstances.

Miracles are often described in the words of the person or persons who received a miraculous intervention or those very close eyewitnesses who were part of the story.  A miracle is often observable by bystanders, but many, many times a miracle takes place in us or for us that we are the only witness to. A drastic turn of events in a bad situation or a deep change in a person is clear to the closest associates.

There are life issues that describe our lives and there are life issues that define our lives.  Bad circumstances or illness or loss can describe your life, but it will only define your life if you allow it to.  As an adult one has somewhat more control over the things that define your life.  Even within a crisis, which describes your circumstances, the principles that define your life, will be your life-logo.

This brings us to a vital spiritual principle. Our inner being is the indicator of our person.  We are made in the image of God – three in one – spirit, soul and body. Our spirit connects with the Spirit of God when we make the all-powerful decision to commit ourselves to God – the process of rebirth.  Out soul is the expression of our personality in will, mind and emotion. The degree, to which our soul is controlled by our Holy Spirit-controlled spirit, is the degree to which we grow spiritually.  To submit our soul to the Holy Spirit is a decision that will have the most significant impact on our life ever.

This brings us to another key spiritual principle – the heavenly chain of authority.  A child of God lives poles apart from the non-believer. Believers prioritize radically different.  Our decisions are submitted to the Holy Spirit to draw from the source of Godly wisdom.  We decide with our mind and execute with our body.

God’s child = Holy Spirit > spirit > soul > body.

God is the source of life.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!

 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it).  (Romans 11:33,36, AMPC)

The non-believer lives the other way around. The body dictates needs and desires that determine decisions.  Those decisions trigger the feelings and even more needs.  It is a life controlled by bodily desires and a leanness of spirit.

Non-believer = body > soul > spirit.

The brokenness of the world, the lack of morality and the sharp focus on bodily desires that are mistakenly elevated to the highest source of happiness has dreadful results in relationships. So much heartache and tragedy can be connected to sin that leads to adultery, betrayal, fear, anger, unkindness and a list of other miserable consequences.

Last time in Pebbles we discussed Isaiah 61. Hear the awe-inspiring words of the prophet:

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, (61:1,NIV)

The miracle inside!  Pebble pal, hear the miracle words of healing.

Do you need Jesus-bandages?  Do you have a broken heart that bleeds anew every now and then?  Hear it once again:

He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted (AMPC)

How does it happen?  What is a Jesus-bandage?

The answer is in Isaiah 61:3:

To grant consolation and joy to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

The keywords in these phrases are “grant” and “give”.

Strong’s defines these words as follows:

…to put, place, set, appoint, make, ordain, establish, found, appoint, constitute, determine, fix,

and further:

…transform into, constitute, fashion, work, bring to pass.

It is the miracle on the inside.  It is a transformation-mystery, a powerful work of the Holy Spirit, executed according to a heavenly command when we decide to allow God to heal us and place our broken heart in the hands of our loving Dad.

Next time we will talk about the process. The key scripture is Romans 12:2.   Meditate on it in the mean time.