A Life of Blessings, by Michael H. Brown, a book of inspiration, hope, and enlightenment by a bestselling author who has compiled and adapted the many popular articles he has written online for this little tour de force that covers a multitude of issues -- from healing and deliverance and joy and peace to preparing for death and the afterlife -- each chapter (there are 43) a little essay or article on how we pray best, how we purify, how with God there is always hope (an 'exit'), how we rid fear, obsession, attachment, what to do when we hit 'rock bottom,' and much more in his most exciting book in years. (below for paper, here Kindle or Nook CLICK HERE
DISCERNMENT IS NOT JUST A FEELING OF PEACE BUT ALSO THE FEELING OF FREEDOM
Often, when we try to discern, we look for the feeling of peace. We should also look for the feeling of freedom. To be free is to be loosed from what is not true. You know the expression, the truth will set us free (John 8:32). So it is that we ask: Do we seek the truth enough? Do we regularly ask the Holy Spirit for it? Are we free? Do we pray that others see the truth (escaping the blinders of bias, truculence, and worldliness)?
Often, this means going to the Holy Spirit for self-illumination. Key word there: illumination. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth and can reveal hidden things.
Is your life ruled by guilt? Does someone have "control" of you? Are you fearful?
Are you afflicted because folks have a false impression of you?
When you are self-illuminated, you may find out you're nowhere nearly as bad as you thought: that a dispute you blamed yourself for wasn't your fault, that you misinterpreted something badly (or that you were misinterpreted), or: that someone is nurturing a dispute with you to keep you in bondage. They are trying to control you. We're set free when we stop blaming ourselves for what may be coming from others. Yet we must be on guard of the other extreme: always blaming others. A key to illumination is humility.
Pride lies. Humility sees.
There is the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6). Often, the error originates in ego.
Let's stay on this problem of over-blaming ourselves:
You've forgiven a person and asked forgiveness and tried to make up but the person still tries to find fault and argue or act miffed. You can never do enough. They are always looking to find fault, to take umbrage. You keep trying and trying and are in bondage to the person. You are even blamed for being oppressed by what is around others. Clever it is: how people put us on the defensive! When that happens, a person has power over us. They blame us for their own shortcomings. Have you ever contemplated the bondage that comes through guilt? Have you every realized how others exert control over you through it?
If that's occurring, shake free. Tell yourself the truth. Sometimes, we ourselves seek to exert too much control, leaving God out. We bind ourselves! "Our obsessive need to control every aspect of our lives creates immense stress because the demons have convinced you that you can't trust anyone but yourself to script your life," writes Deborah Lipsky in A Message of Hope. "Stop thinking that it is you who has to figure everything out. Remove yourself from the center of the universe and put God back there instead. If God stepped in every time and stopped the circumstance that caused us to be afraid, how would we ever be able to develop trust, courage, faith, and acceptance? So stop struggling with fear no matter how justified you feel it is. Let it go and let God."
As the Little Flower put it: abandonment.
Victory, truth, and freedom come when we ask God for self-illumination and when we place matters in His control and not solely under our own (or that of others). "Tell it like it is" but with kindness. One of the kindest things you can do: tell the truth with love.
When there is truth, fear diminishes. The more we know, the less we fear (this is even true with snakes and spiders!). Don't keep whipping yourself over something you have done. Acknowledge it, seek forgiveness, resolve to correct it, if you were at fault, and move on to the Truth of God's Love!
"He who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God" affirms John 3:21. We succeed when we "put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Ephesians 4: 24).
Perhaps it is guilt. Perhaps you have falsely convicted yourself. Perhaps you're not to blame for what has a hold on you. Sometimes, it's the fruit of a spiral into negativity. Here is the blockage of antagonism.
When untrue negative thoughts come, your mantra should be, "I choose not to go there" or "I choose not to think that." Ask for the Spirit of Truth. The negative thoughts -- the falsehood, the pretense -- will vanish. So will the oppression of the Father of Lies who writes dark fiction.
[resources: A Message of Hope and A Life of Blessings]
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