Issues & Solution: Spiritual Warfare

The Under-Discussed Damage of Spiritual Abuse (Part 1)

This is a two part article. See: Part Two

When someone mentions the term, “spiritual abuse” today, sexual molestation of a child often comes to mind. We have too many accounts of priests, pastors and Sunday school teachers preying on the children in their care. And yes, sadly, that is spiritual abuse.

But this kind of abuse can also take on a more subtle form as well. Its definition hinges on the manipulation of power enforced by a spiritual authority figure, with the abused party feeling helpless and coerced.

Children, of course, spring to mind as the most vulnerable. But the net spreads wider.

And a heartbreaking reality emerges: loving God does not exclude us from being hurt, even in the seemingly Godly setting of church. We are all susceptible when it comes to spiritual abuse.

“…Many spiritual abuse victims find themselves struggling to make decisions, and may even have a hard time disciplining themselves to do basic everyday functions such as getting out of bed and brushing their teeth. For so long, we allowed the group/leader to think for us, formulate our opinions for us, and make decisions for us. No wonder so many of us struggle for many years learning how to find ourselves again after leaving a spiritually abusive situation…”
“Spiritual Identity Crisis?” www.churchabuse.com
Used with permission.

Thoughts on Gratitude and Thanks

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

click on image to see video


In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow–are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips–so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

~ ~ ~ ~

A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, “That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat.”

The farmer answered that with him it was customary–but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

“Ah, then,” said the gentleman, “they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?”

“My pigs!” the farmer answered.

~ ~ ~ ~

Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America. He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364. “Use that one day just for complaining and griping,” he said. “Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you!”

Are You Living the Language of Recovery?

“Rétablissement” is the French word describing recovery from illness or injury. Similarly, the phrase, “être en cure de désintoxication” has as its English translation, “to be in recovery from drugs, alcohol, et cetera.”

I recently stumbled across some old vocabulary flashcards from my two years of high school French class. Some things have stuck with me years later, like reciting the alphabet and singing the Christmas carol, “Silent Night,” à la française.

Yet, as I was flipping through the flashcards, I was re-reminded of just how much I had forgotten.

Seldom used words…
Factory is “l’usine.”
Waste basket is “la corbeille.”

The Serenity Prayer: A Weeble Lesson

While sifting through my childhood toys, I happened upon some Weebles.

What are they – and what do they do?

“…an egg-shaped Weeble causes a weight located at the bottom-center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravitational force brings the Weeble back into an upright position… The popular catchphrase, ‘Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.’ was used in advertising during their rise in popularity…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeble

As I was reunited with these toys, I remembered how, in my playtime, I often tried to put my Weebles to bed, lying them on their sides, only to watch them quickly spring to their vertical stance again. There was no keeping these suckers down.

“Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.”

You better believe it.

Therefore, reacquainting myself with them in my adult life, I now view them through the recovery/struggle context and the famous Serenity Prayer:

Perseverance: The Race Set Before Us

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Gaman is a Japanese term of Zen origin which means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”. The term is generally translated as “perseverance” or “patience.”

And, within Scripture, this principle is, indeed, a faith focal point.

… we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36

I don’t know about your physical education experience when you were a kid, but my class always participated in the annual presidential physical fitness test.

Is anyone out there groaning yet?

As part of that test to assess kids’ fitness levels, things like pushups, sit ups and pull ups were measured. But the thing which caused me the most dread- and the least success- was the 600 yard run.

Now, is anyone out there groaning?

If you’re not familiar with

People Who Fail (No other kind around)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

I recently came across this little inspiration ditty circulating on social media:

    “God uses People Who Fail (No other kind around).”

That’s become more of a revelation to me in the last few years, especially within the context of recovery. It’s not a one-time, flawless thing. It’s day in, day out, with some days being better than others. It doesn’t sound glamorous or rewarding. Nevertheless, it is reality and embracing the process of life itself can be liberating if we, perhaps, give ourselves permission to fail. Part of that requires we not disqualify ourselves at the first — or the one thousandth — mistake; God doesn’t.

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I often encounter people who are perfectionists — and I get it. Among all the things I’m recovering from in life, perfectionism is, indeed, right up there. And, again, in the recovery context, it is

World’s Worst Transgressor

I am the world’s worst transgressor

I have murdered millions

I have made people failures

I have made millions of homes miserable

I have changed promising people into hopeless social parasites

I have driven untold millions to despair

I have wasted the weak

I have snared the innocent

I have caused starving children to know me

I have made the hair turn gray on many parents

I have ruined millions and shall seek to yet ruin multiplied millions

My Name is Addiction

World’s Greatest Benefactor

I have given life to millions

I have made failures successful I have made millions of homes happy

Are You Stuck in a Hole?

Imagine you’re running a marathon. You’re monitoring the situation, carefully maintaining a reasonable pace based on ability and training. You’ve prepared your body and mind for the race; you know the signs that tell you to run faster or slower, when to drink or eat.

You expect the unavoidable ebbs and flows of mental and physical energy. Hills and headwinds will increase difficulty in some places; sunshine and tailwinds will provide a few easy, enjoyable stretches. You’re eager to confront exhilaration and trial as fundamental elements of the competition.

You also know about “the wall,” that point where you’ll be tested nearly beyond your ability. You anticipate that burning muscles and aching lungs will challenge desire and discipline. You expect the urge to give up, to stop and allow the pain to subside. The lure of immediate relief will entice you to cast aside goals and dreams, surrendering the satisfaction of the finish line in return for an end to the struggle.

Then, without any warning, you fall into a hole.

The publicized course didn’t mention this complication. You didn’t train for it, couldn’t see it coming, didn’t prepare survival supplies or pack climbing equipment. There’s no cell phone reception in the hole.

You try everything you know to escape from the hole on your own, but

The Importance of “STOP!”

That’s odd for me. I want to focus on moving forward, dreaming big dreams, taking risks. And lately, for some reason I don’t understand, I seem to hear STOP.

I don’t think it’s about the big things, I’ve no sense about stopping those efforts. So I’ve wondered about STOP as it relates to the ordinary, everyday stuff. I think I might have noticed something interesting.

STOP is nearly always useful advice when I’m uncertain.

Are you lost? STOP. Don’t keep wandering, compounding the problem. Get your bearings. Ask for help. (Hint: Works for more than driving.)

Prince and The Elevator

Living in Minnesota right now, I am in mourning… and its color is purple.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the news that singer, rock star and lightning rod of controversy, Prince had died. On April 21st, 2016, he was found dead in his Paisley Park home… in the elevator. He was 57.

It was an enormous shock to the world. Just imagine what the experience was for Minnesotans.

Yeah.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about Prince, of all people, in this Christian recovery forum. You, perhaps, may believe he was a creator of “the devil’s music,” encouraging all kinds of sin, debauchery and strange behavior.

I ask that you please stay with me for a few moments.

Something struck me within minutes of hearing the news of his discovery in the elevator. It was later confirmed by American record executive, musician, songwriter and record producer, L.A Reid. He revealed a private conversation he once had with the artist.

Prince asked him, concerning his lyrics to the song, “Let’s Go Crazy,”

    “You know what the elevator is, don’t ya? It’s the devil.”

Yes, these lyrics…