Lying Down in Green Pastures

V-MAIL TO THE FRONTLINE

PART 16

LYING DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES

There are times when we all need to talk to someone and
It’s good to have compassionate Christian friends that are sensitive and who sincerely care about us. But if the questions are more than our friends can answer and we need more help in dealing with certain problems, a Christian counselor is an excellent idea. In this stressful world of negative criticism and the demand for perfection, it is good to receive the mercy of Agape love from someone we can share our deepest thoughts within the trust of confidentiality. Do we have fears of being embarrassed? Of course we do and it is normal to worry about being judged and being seen as spiritually weak or losing our mind because who wants to compromise their integrity? (We know that our “witness” and reputation is directly connected to our ministry because how others trust us being led by the Holy Spirit has a lot to do with how effective we are). But the truth is that we all have valleys every now and then and times where we have questions where we just need some honest answers that can encourage us and help us see more clearly.

It is common for people to believe they can take care of the sadness and discouragement themselves. Some are convinced if they talk about it long enough or just toughen-up and work through it, they will wake up and their life will return to normal. This may be true for some issues because time can heal and the way we feel about something today might look a lot different a month from now because we have had time to consider new information that we did not recognize in the heat of the conflict. Friends or family will not always have the “magic formula” of answers that we seek – because there are times when we must have the direct voice of God for specific personal direction. One thing is for sure, at the end of each day it is always best to enter the closet of intimacy with God and pour out our heart to Him. Examining our conscience the light of His presence is the only power that can keep us clean. The worst thing we can do is allow a “wound” to become infected by not taking it to the Great Physician. If we have sinned we need to confess and tell Him that our behavior was not in His character and our witness was not in His image. He already knows all about it but our repentance and confession washes us in His blood and renews a right spirit in us. “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy (for our failures) and find grace to help in good time for every need (appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it)”. (Hebrews 4:15-16 AMP.)

It is pride and arrogance to boast about how well we defended our position and how wrong everyone else was in our disagreements. We might walk away from a conflict as the “champion” in our own mind but as we leave a trail of damaged relationships, the witnesses can only see and feel the discouragement of the smoldering bridges. There are no winners when God’s children make war against each other as there is no such thing as “anointed” or God inspired friendly fire. Through spiritual love and humility we can find the peace, restoration and forgiveness we desperately seek. Life is all about living each moment under His control.

How we all need to see through the eyes of Christ to expose how proud and prejudice we really are. What super-natural intervention will God need to create, that we might learn to exercise forgiveness with all people? We notice the same carnal attitude in the story of the two men who went to pray in the temple where the one thanks the Lord that he is not like the other man. It is a self-righteous attitude and fleshly mindset to think that everyone else needs prayer and yet remain blind to the true reality that everyone including ourselves is desperately needy. What causes us to be so cold and indifferent, selfish or suspicious? Did our parents have such a negative effect on our psyche that it deformed our personality? Was it the world views we heard or the attitudes we picked up on that causes us now to go sideways and think distorted? Are we the way we are because of traditions or events that happened to us as a child? Maybe some of the problems we avoid stirring up – are the very damns of deception that need to be torn down so that God’s river of true reality can be revealed to us – and flow through us.

It seems we all crave respect and will do anything to get it, even if it will hurt us in the long run. When we do not get it we feel rejection, anger and a sense of humiliation. The enemy taunts us with thoughts that people are using us and taking advantage of our good nature. We begin to think people are laughing at us behind our back and that we are not being appreciated. We all want to be loved and feel needed because without this sense of belonging we believe we have failed in our ministry and our destiny. We want the sense of confidence and importance and to know our contribution was significant.

Then of course there some that hold on to their problems because it gives them the attention they crave. They use the crisis to satisfy their own need for “drama” which becomes a more serious issue than the original difficulty. But across the board the truth is always the same; God is not moved by need – He is moved by faith! Lying on the couch “pouting” is not going to produce a bountiful manifestation and daydreaming is not a substitute for obedience or hard work! We cannot reap until we plant and we will harvest specifically what we have sown. The time between being “patient” and the “manifestation” always calls for being diligent, faithful, staying focused and keeping our hand to the plow. “Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside) He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God. For whatever a man sows – that and that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life”. (Galatians 6:7-8 AMP.)

We all have our own “issues” that we should be working on instead of spending our time trying to “fix” other peoples problems. We can pray for them (and we should) but one human cannot (spiritually, psychologically or physically) heal another human. This is why secular psychiatrics are the equivalent of putting a band aide on a broken arm. Even in Christian psychology, Warren Wiersbe has been quoted as saying, “It is not the mission of Christian therapist to solve other peoples problems but rather help them develop a working relationship with God’s grace so they can become enabled to understand and solve their own problems.” The messenger can deliver the message but the listener has free-will.

There is a dangerous trend happening in our country and it deals with many people thinking they are a victim whether it is their fault or not. Our legal system has provided the opportunity to confuse and manipulate truth along with “cashing in” our integrity and morals and this has caused a decrease in the overall respect for everything and everyone. Counseling that encourages a “victim mentality” adds fuel to the fire as the common trend grows more popular to avoid discipline and personal responsibility. This lack of respect can spread like an infection and can chain react into a negative view of our spouse, parents, children, our employer, our government and even our pastor. It is the glorification of personal pride; the same reaction as Adam and Eve had when they willingly disobeyed God in the garden. It is always someone else’s fault and a mindset that everything could be better if they would do it this way. To live life as an armchair quarterback is to subconsciously live on a pedestal where our critical judgment consumes our thoughts which in turn can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, resentment, bitterness and hopelessness.
Society as a whole can become mentally and emotionally brainwashed over a period of time because as they begin to view themselves as blameless, everything that happens from the time of their own personal crisis is automatically thrown into the category of it being someone else’s fault. Victimization mentality causes individuals to seek a scapegoat rather than a Savior because they believe the person who caused the problem is the one who “really” needs a Savior. Unforgiveness is deceptive and builds rebellious walls of resentment. Since the true revelation of freedom is an awareness and understanding of God’s Word, those held in bondage continue to suffer until they choose to surrender to God. But, Praise The Almighty for His grace and forgiveness that can unlock our prison of emotional torment and release the joy of knowing Him as LORD!

If we are thirsty to go deeper with God and are willing to be a
living sacrifice then we will be more serious about our own spiritual development. If we are satisfied with playing religious games our advancement into His Divine reality becomes very limited and lying down in green pastures is just a dream. We can read the Bible, go to church every night and go to a new counselor every week but nothing will change us until we become serious about staying on God’s operating table and allowing Him to do the brain and heart surgery He needs to do. Just because people are given sound advice does not mean they will apply it. My wife Cheryl say’s, happiness is a condition of the heart and a state of mind. She is right! Walking in God’s presence is the ONLY true joy and contentment there is. If something is wrong inside of you – you know where to go.

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