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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Restoration

What has been lost spiritually, morally, emotionally, and physically can be restored...

James 5:15 (Msg)
Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven—healed inside and out.


Hebrews 8:12 (Msg)
They'll get to know me by being kindly forgiven,
with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean."


Hebrews 10:17 (Msg)
He concludes,
"I'll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins."


1 John 1:9 (Msg)
On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.


Mark 11:25 (Msg)
And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it's not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins."


Luke 6:37 (Msg)
"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier.


Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.


Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)
"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.


Galatians 6:1 (Msg)
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out.


Psalm 51:12 (NKJV)
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Danger of Spiritual Suppression

Suppression is defined as conscious exclusion of unacceptable desires, thoughts, or memories from the mind. Suppression is a defense mechanism aimed specifically at affect, which intends to abolish it from consciousness without allowing its re-entry into the unconscious. This notion of "unconscious feelings" was progressively elaborated on, and in "The Ego and The Id" (1923b), Freud wrote: where feelings are concerned "the Pcs. here drops out—and feelings are either conscious or unconscious" (1923b, p. 23). With the introduction of the second topography the affects described by Freud typically become complexes. An unconscious sense of guilt, anxiety as signal, grief, sorrow, etc., are all affects that are articulated through various fantasies, notably around the loss of the object. The signal of anxiety that the threat of the loss of the mother represents for the child is the paradigmatic example of this new conception of affects associated intimately with fantasies (from Freud's second theory of anxiety). Since affect and representation are thus considered to be closely imbricated with fantasies, the defense mechanisms relating to affects are not differentiated in any specific way, and as a result the affects themselves are also likely to become unconscious.

I’m not doctor (nor do I claim to be), however, in laymen’s terms the best way to define suppression is the ignoring of present reality. Reality is our loved ones will die, people get divorced, everybody (including you) is not perfect, people will loose their jobs and homes, the economy is not getting any better, and list goes on and on.

While I believe suppression is relevant in everyday living, I also believe there is a new attack of the enemy using suppression as a weapon to take out the Christian community, starting with church leadership. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to figure out my own spiritual breakdown. It has taken me a while but I think I’ve figured it out, spiritual suppression. Using the definition mentioned above as well as understanding scripture, I have determined that we as pastors/preachers, church leaders, and Christians, spiritually suppress present realities for fear of being deemed as faithless or spiritual failures. If a person recognize present reality then their spoken of as people who don’t believe or trust God to take care of all their needs. Pastors spiritually suppress present reality to maintain an appearance of faith before the congregation because we taught that as a visionary if the leader doesn’t believe in the vision then the people won’t believe in the vision. I believe it’s dangerous to spiritually suppress present reality.

The bible doesn’t teach faith is ignoring present reality. It does say; “We walk by faith and not by sight”. It does says; “Faith without works is dead”. It does say; “Without faith it impossible to please God”. But, do these verses tell us to ignore present reality? Of course not!

I know for a fact that I’ve suppressed present realities as it relates to my pastoral ministry. However, reality is I have present realities that cannot be ignored as well as God doesn’t require of me as a leader to ignore them. And even when we look back at the testimonies of people in Scripture it is apparent that they “kept faith by recognizing their present reality”. For instances:

- God promised Abraham that he would birth a nation. Reality, he and Sarah were too old to have children. They believed God anyway.

- The women with the issue of blood. Her reality is that she was sick but she pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.

- The man who laid by Bethesda’s pool, reality he laid in the bed for 38 years waiting for someone to help him into the water. But when Jesus came and instructed him to get up and walk, he was healed.

- Ezekiel preached to a valley of dry bones. He kept preaching and them bones came to life.

I think you get the picture. Suppression your present reality is an indictment on your faith in God’s ability to handle your situation no matter how difficult it may be. Faith doesn't ignore reality, it faces reality head on believing God to change things around.

So how do you fight against spiritual suppression? I have a few suggestions that pray will help you in days to come if you ever (like did) find yourself spiritually suppression present reality:

First, Be Honest with God and Yourself. For some reason we think God doesn’t know our current condition, He does! You’re not telling Him anything He doesn’t already know so be hones with Him. Be honest with yourself! You’re not perfect, you will make mistakes, and don’t let the opinion of others define you. I did (and have) but the only person who knows my unique ability is God. Furthermore, I understand that I have faults but I’m not a failure. God still has work for me to do!

Secondly, Pray and pray hard.

Thirdly, read the word.

Fourth, Talk. Find someone you trust and can talk too with confidence knowing they will give you godly advice.

Fifth, if you fall to spiritual suppression which may lead to some other failure, get up, its not the end to life. We serve a gracious and merciful God.

Sixth, Get rest and a lot of it. We become vulnerable to the enemies attack when we’re tired.

May the Lord bless you and keep is my prayer, my friends!