Spiritual Warfare

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

You ask a bunch of guys about their biggest fears, and you hope for some open dialogue. You don’t really expect someone to whisper from the depths of the fog.

“What if I’m hopeless? This addiction killed my dad and my grandma. My sister’s relapsed over and over for fifteen years. And I’ve prayed and done everything I can for a decade, but I keep falling into the same pattern.

“What if I’m broken so bad that even God can’t fix me?”

How are you gonna respond to that? Think carefully, because whatever you say better not rhyme. It better not be some platitude or theological truism. He’s heard them all, and they’re salt rubbed in an open, bleeding wound.

We don’t want to hear “God can’t.” Our first reaction is to argue — God can do anything! And when that fails — you can’t argue your way out of the fog — we’re tempted to retreat to the safety of the Christian cocoon where the light’s bright, the fog’s clear, and people don’t talk about the hopelessness of addiction and depression.

Perseverance in Prayer

"By running and exercising every day, you are the fitter to run in a race. Just so, the more often you come into God's presence--the greater confidence, and freedom, and enlargement it will bring to your soul."


No doubt by praying we learn to pray; and the more we pray--the more often we can pray, and the better we can pray. Those who pray by fits and starts are never likely to attain to that effectual, fervent prayer which avails so much.

Prayer is good,
the habit of prayer is better,
but the spirit of prayer is the best of all.
It is in the spirit of prayer, that we pray without ceasing.

It is astonishing what distances men can run, who have practiced often; and it is equally marvelous that they can maintain a high speed for a long time after they have acquired stamina and skill in using their muscles.

Likewise, great power in prayer is within our reach, but we must work to obtain it. Let us never imagine that Abraham could have interceded so successfully for Sodom, if he had not been in the practice of communion with God his entire lifetime. Jacob's all-night at Peniel was not the first occasion on which he had met his God. We may even look at our Lord's most choice and wonderful prayer with His disciples before His Passion, as the flower and fruit of His many nights of devotion, and of His rising up often and early, before daylight, to pray.

A man who becomes a great runner has to put himself in training, and to keep himself in it; and that training consists of much exercise and running. Those who have distinguished themselves for speed have not suddenly leaped into eminence, but have been runners a long time.

Heart Hope at the End of Your RopePremium Content

What produces or gives your heart sustained and real Hope? Can you do anything that produces Hope?

But I need something more! I've tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Romans 7:17a and 24, The Message


Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament, we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and as impressive as the State of Texas is wide-we must exhaust all of our personal resources.

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The Spiritual Man (Words Change Their Meaning)Premium Content

As time passes, words change their meaning and often come to mean something very different from their earlier intent. In Shakespeare's day, the word "honest" meant sexually chaste; now it refers to a general truthfulness and dependability.

At other times, words remain somewhat the same in their general meaning, but with a dramatically different intention. "Spiritual" is one such word. Paul in Romans 7:14 says,

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The word "spiritual" is, in the Greek original, pneumatikos; it does refer to nonmaterial reality, but even more, to power. To say God's law "is spiritual" is to say that it is powerful beyond man's ability to imagine. It has all the power of God and His heavenly hosts behind it. In this sense, the spiritual man is the most powerful man; he is not a pale and weak figure on the sidelines of life, but God's mover and shaker.

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How can I prevent becoming desensitized to sin?Premium Content

How can I prevent becoming desensitized to sin?

We can do so by seeking with all of our hearts and minds the truth that God has provided. This means reading, studying, and meditating deeply upon God's Holy Word, the Bible. This should be done with much prayer, always seeking God's will for our lives. A good Scripture for us in this regard is:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)

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Our Perceptions Govern Our LivesPremium Content

"It is all about how you look at things." Ever hear that expression? We're often advised to think positively, to believe in ourselves and to have faith in God. All of these things speak to our perspective on any life issue. All of these pieces of advice can feel like they're easier to say than be lived, right?

When I was a little girl, living on the farm, come late summer and early autumn, our farmstead was besieged with grasshoppers. I tell you, it was a tiny snapshot of what any locust plague must have looked like. It was hard to walk anywhere without there being a grasshopper right there, almost crunched by my foot.

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Falling for the "Bad Guy"Premium Content

"Everyone falls for the bad guy."

Yep, that about sums it up. A lot of you ladies know exactly what I'm talking about.

We see him, the rebel, complete with dreamy bedroom eyes, tousled hair and a certain taboo nonconformity, brooding in a dark corner somewhere; we're smitten.

There's something alluring, dangerous and promising about the bad guy, isn't there? Its intoxicating argument of an exciting, romantic and perfect life, however that's defined, leads us into taking the bad guy up on his offer. We make some choices- and, let's face it, they're not exactly great choices for us, are they?

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When Our Beliefs are Called into QuestionPremium Content

The Physical, Mental and Spiritual Disciplines

Speaking from experience, Philip Yancey writes, "For nearly everyone, doubt follows pain quickly and surely, like a reflex action. Suffering calls our most basic beliefs about God into question." Suffering often causes us to doubt, to question our beliefs, to wrestle with everything we ever thought we knew about God: about who He is, about what He is up to, about the very nature of His heart. All these doubts and questions can be fertile ground for spiritual growth. Go ahead and out, question, wrestle – just be sure to use this time and out to seek to know him desperately. He will keep your heart open to God so that you can hear the answers to those questions.

How do we keep our hearts open? How do we grow closer to God in our trials, instead of crashing down into bitterness and despair? That is where the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines come in.

The Physical Disciplines

Taking care of our bodies

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

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Are You Experiencing True Guilt or False Guilt?Premium Content

We must differentiate between true guilt, and false guilt. Listen to how Paul differentiates between the two:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness; to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.2 Corinthians 7:10-11


Before we investigate these types of guilt, I would like to give you an overview.

  • 1. True guilt. Corinthians calls this Godly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow that is according to the will of God in the NASB.
  • 2. False guilt. Corinthians calls this worldly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow of the world in the NASB.
    Within false guilt I see two categories:
      a. Deliberate pretended guilt.
      b. Imposed guilt. This is guilt that we, the world, and other people impose upon ourselves.
  • Let's explore.

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    Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2Premium Content

    by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

    We resist getting help

    In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

    Fear

    It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

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