Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Duct Tape and Christmas Cookies

Welcome friends!  I am glad you found my blog and I hope it is helpful to you!

I am going to try something new this month, a book give-away. If you comment on this month's blog posts, you will have a chance to win a copy of Jesus Calling - the devotional book that changed my life. So, leave a comment and check back on Jan 1st to see the winner!



Now, on to my topic:

Saturday was the perfect day for baking Christmas cookies.  The wind was furiously swirling snowflakes outside my window; we were expecting about 20 inches.  Inside my house was warm and cozy; so I turned on the Christmas music, turned on the oven and got out all the ingredients for spritz cookies.  My kids love to make these.  I live in a house full of boys and anything with a gun is fun...nothing could be better than a cookie-shooting gun!!!  Unfortunately, after a couple of shots with the cookie gun, it broke.  My twelve-year-old son was quick to say, "Mom, I can fix it with duct tape!"  Yes, duct tape to the rescue!  I am still amazed that I was able to make many batches of spritz cookies and the cookie gun is still holding fast!  Yeah!

You may be wondering what duct tape has to do with the Battle Mind Blog, right?  Well, duct tape is good for fixing a lot of things, but it doesn't fix a broken heart or frazzled emotions.  At this time of year, we are expected to put on a smile and show extra love and kindness, lest we steal anyone else's joy, right?  Truth be told, we all struggle with the emotions of anger, depression, confusion, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and sorrow that prevent us from living the abundant and free life that is ours in Christ Jesus. 

There was a time in the not-so-distant past, that my bag of frazzled emotions: anger, rage, worry and self-pity was so heavy I was being crushed under the weight of them.  And the one emotion that bothered me most was anger.  Why couldn't I get this one under control?  I would find myself spewing poisonous words on my children and my husband and it was slowly, but surely, killing us all.  And yet, I felt especially entitled to my anger.  After all, I had good reason to be angry.

Do you know how dangerous unresolved anger can be?
Ephesians 4: 26 & 27 says, "In your anger, do not sin. do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold!"
If we don't resolve our anger before we go to bed each night, we open the door for the devil to stick in his foot and gain access to our lives.  I can't tell you how many nights I went to bed, not only angry, but furious!  I opened the door wide open for the devil to walk right in and take me captive.   You see, we are kept in bondage by the lies we believe and the lie I believed was that I had a right to be angry.  So I coddled, nurtured and protected my right to be angry.  But anger is not our friend, it will betray us and hold us captive if we protect our right to it!  So finally, I cried out, "God, please take away my anger!"

As so often happens, I was aghast at God's answer to my prayer.  I heard Him say, "My child, I don't take away anger!  I have made you an emotional being.  All of your emotions, anger, joy, sorrow, worry, excitement, etc. are all intricately intertwined and are inseparable!" 

How often have you prayed for something and God gave you an answer completely different than you expected?  I was so hopeful that God would just take away my anger and I wouldn't have to build my muscles of self-control!
Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers (and sisters) throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  1 Peter 5: 8&9
Anger is neither good nor bad, it is a warning signal to alert us to something deeper.  The emotion of anger has been likened to a warning light on the dashboard of your car.  When the engine light comes on, you can either put a piece of duct tape over it and ignore it or you can take the car to the shop and look under the hood to determine the problem.  I certainly don't recommend using duct tape!

Often times, the warning light of anger signals us to a certain mistrust of God.  If we truly trusted God with every aspect of our lives, we wouldn't need to hold on to our anger for comfort and protection against the imperfect people in our lives that disappoint us, hurt us, even devastate us.  So, if God doesn't take away our anger, how can we disarm this explosive that threatens to blow us to smithereens?

First, we need to claim back any ground given to the enemy through our anger and unforgiveness by praying a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus, I confess that I have been deceived by the enemy by believing that I should hold on to my anger and bitterness toward those who have hurt me.  I choose not to hold on to my anger any longer and  I relinquish my right to seek revenge.  I ask You to heal my damaged emotions.  Thank you for setting me free from the bondage of my bitterness.
 Please also see my previous post on forgiveness God Wouldn't Do That, Would He? and go through the process of breaking free from unforgiveness as well.

Now that you have been set free from the bondage of anger that has held you captive, you now need to strengthen your self-control muscles by going to your sacred spot where God can transform you by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2)  Remember,
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to your goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in you knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1: 3-8

Isn't is great to know that God, through His divine power, has given us all that we need to live a godly life and to exercise those muscles of self-control!  God's power is always available to flow into a yielded heart!

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~

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