Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My schpeal

I have been a member of PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) for a while, now. Today, I spoke, and I'm putting what I talked about up here too. Of course what I have written down is not exactly what I said, but you'll get the gist of it. And you won't have to watch me sweat and shake like the poor ladies did this morning. To God be the Glory for this message. I hope that those who need to hear it hear it.

This tour has been extremely pivotal in my faith and my journey with Christ. Even still, since I have been here, I have found myself questioning my faith and my salvation more than I ever have. I started asking myself “Am I really going to Heaven,? I’m not good enough to get in. I haven’t done enough. The answer is No, I alone am not good enough, but through FAITH, I am saved by GRACE. Nothing I do will ever be enough to earn entrance into heaven. And even though I KNOW that, I still heard these nagging voices questioning myself, my faith and my role as a woman, wife, mother and friend. I wondered where are those nagging thoughts coming from? Why am I questioning the things that I know so well? I went to the PWOC International conference last year and attended a class led by Dawn Kennedy, who I believe is the Prayer Chair for PWOCI this year. That class really changed the way I think about those nagging thoughts. It helped me to understand a bit more about what is really going on inside my mind.

She spoke of the voices of God, Ourselves and Satan, what they sound like and how we can react to them. The message she gave me is one I’m going to share parts of with you. I don’t have time to cover an hour class in five minutes, but I can give you some points that helped me. I give all credit to the Lord for placing me in that class last year, because the message I am about to share with you is one that has saved my sanity many times over the past few months (and especially the past few days as I’ve been preparing this) and I know it will come in handy in the future too.

We all have an internal monologue… the voices that are running around inside your head narrating your day, etc. Dawn explained that this internal monologue isn’t only one voice. It isn’t just our own heart. There are three. God, ourselves, and the enemy. All three get jumbled around in our heads as we go about our day, mixing and mingling until we often don’t know whose voice is whose and which one we are supposed to be listening to. Was that the Father leading me in a certain direction, or was that Satan pulling me away from where I’m supposed to go? Or really, is it just the desires of my own sinful heart? Without a little armor, it could be really hard to tell the difference.

First, we know the lord speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, (you will find this story in John Chapter 14) Jesus explained to his disciples of the things that were to come. They did not want to think about Jesus leaving them. They were afraid that without Jesus being around, they’d have no leader, no guide to help them. Jesus, always the loving reassurer, said to them in

John 14:16-17, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another
Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the spirit of truth, whom the world
cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for
He dwells with you and will be in you….(NKJV)

As long as we have faith, we have the gift of the Holy spirit to guide us and help us along the way. It’s easy to believe in God and His loving, gracious mercy. But sometimes, we have trouble believing the influence that the enemy has on our lives. Biblically, we know that the enemy is out there, messing with us.

1 Peter 5:8-11 says:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the
world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by
Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen,
and settle [you]. To Him [be] the glory and the dominion forever and ever.

How do we tell God’s voice of the Holy Spirit from Satan’s voice or our own?

1. If we know what God sounds like, we can pick his voice out of the mish-mosh the three voices can create in our mind. We know that god’s Holy spirit speaks to us, but we also need to remember that God speaks the truth out of LOVE. Going back to John, Jesus promised his disciples, and He promises us, that we are not alone.

John 14:26-27.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will
send in MY name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all
things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not
as the world gives I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it
be afraid.”(NKJV)

2. We also know that when God speaks to us, He will not contradict scripture as he says in:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness, that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped for every
good work.(NKJV)

3. Other ways we can know it is God speaking is because He will not contradict His character, His hand will draw us to Jesus, and is gentle. Conviction is combined with truth, holiness love and Grace. We can see an example of this in:

Hosea 11:4
I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love and I was
to them as those who take the Yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed

He asks us to do many things, things we often don’t want to do, and convicts us when we resist, but it is always with love that He leads us, always knowing when we need to have that yoke removed, always knowing when we hunger and thirst. He draws US with GENTLE bands of LOVE. He removes the Yoke from our necks, takes away our worries and feeds us, because His goal is to strengthen, encourage, comfort, restore hope and bring LIFE.

So – we know God speaks out of LOVE using the spirit, does not contradict scripture or his Character, and seeks to bring us TO Jesus, not away. He convicts us with kindness. We can use this knowledge to test those voices and help tell us if that little thought or whisper in our mind is God speaking to us and convicting us, or someone else.

Now we go to Satan’s influence. We know He is messing with us, because we are told so 1 Peter, the devil prowls like a ROARING lion. We are to be able to hear him coming and seek shelter in our Lord.

Some things to remember about the enemy:

The enemy speaks truth mixed with error. He knows God, and He knows scripture. He tested Jesus in the desert and tried to use it against Him – if he was going to try to use scripture against Jesus, don’t you think he would try against us, people who are much more easily swayed? The enemy’s thoughts and words are centered in condemnation, predicting that dark future with no hope, accusing God, leading you away from Him.

Remember that the Enemy is sneaky about entering our thoughts. He doesn’t just crawl in and say, “Hi there! Satan here, I’m going to be playing with your emotions today.” He doesn’t show up to us as the cartoony devil on our shoulder either. If he did, we’d be able to see him coming too easily and fend him off. He slithers into our minds and tricks us into thinking that what HE is saying is OUR own thoughts. He replays the words that others say that hurt us over and over again, breaking us down. But one of the most effective things he does is that HE SPEAKS IN FIRST PERSON!!!!

Let me tell you how he speaks in first person. The past few weeks, I’ve been preparing for this devotion. Life got crazy busy. My quiet household turned into chaos, it is messy. I’ve not had time to do much other than ‘exist.’ My kids, who normally sleep pretty well have been getting up at night several times. Everything has been a bit off. The Lord knows us, but so does the Enemy. He knows I am weak when I haven’t had enough sleep and when I feel like my house is in shambles. Because my kids have been up nights, I’ve been sleep deprived and weak, allowing him to crawl in and say things like
“I’m not good enough to get up in front of these women.”

“Everyone else there knows more than you.”

“You know you’re going to quote an inappropriate scripture, or WORSE mis-quote one and distort the Word.”

“No one in the audience needs this message, they’re all CHRISTIAN, and don’t have to worry about these things. The enemy only attacks me.”

“Who do I think I am trying to teach people when I have so much left to learn?”

The devil tricked me into thinking I was hearing myself saying these things. I finally realized YESTERDAY after praying with a group of friends about my devotion, that here I am, about to tell all of these women how to fend off the Enemy! Of COURSE he’s going to play on my insecurities to try and keep me from delivering the message that the Lord has been placing on my heart.

These voices that are without hope, voices of fear and worry – they are not of God. They are not of you -- WE as humans have the desire to live and continue on! They are Satan trying to take your mind off of all of the good we have, trying to steer you into a downward “no-hope” spiral, draining our wells of the living water that is the Holy spirit.

Voices that say “I’m not good enough, Nobody likes me, NO one cares.” Those are the voice of the enemy.

What can you do about it? The best thing you can do is pray. Prayer is our first and best defense. We often try to do things ourselves, I think especially as “independent women” who were raised in the world to believe that we don’t need anyone’s help. But we’re told that if we ask, we shall receive:

Mark 11:24

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have
received it, and it will be yours.(NIV)

And I’ve found that when we pray against the enemy’s attacks, those prayers are often answered quickly.

Satan is real. He is here to mess with us, and trying to keep us from doing the Lord’s work. He tries to get us to confuse our thoughts with his words, he masquerades as the Lord in our mind, making us question ourselves, our faith and our motives. He replays other’s hurtful words in our minds, hoping we’ll focus on him and his goals, rather than those of the Lord.

Don’t let him mess with you. Recognize that prayer –even a small quick cry of help! – can send Satan on his way. Yes, the Lord will allow Satan to mess with us, but he won’t give us more than we can handle. Long before we’re tired he’ll remove the yoke from our necks and stop to feed us. Draw close to the Lord, and you’ll have no reason to fear. Remember what Jesus told his disciples:

Peace I leave with you,. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be

Yes, the enemy prowls around us, roaring like a Lion in our heads, telling us lies, but remember, the Lord is with us too.

In his kindness God called you to his eternal glory by means of Jesus
Christ. After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and
strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

So wonderfully said!!! I have never thought of having 3 voices in our heads, but it is so true. Satan is so real, and wants us to be unhappy like him.

True that we can't work our way to heaven. But also true that God put us on this earth to do His work, to answer the prayers of others and to love one another. Grace makes up the part we can't do because of our "natural man" weaknesses.

Thanks for sharing. I needed to hear that the voice that tells me "no one cares" isn't true.