Last night, before the service began, a flashback came to my mind. Where it came from, I do not know. There didn't seem to be anything that triggered it. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon. Too often, out of nowhere, images play across my mind that I wish would stay buried. In the past, a trigger like this would cause hours, or days, of wrong thinking, eventually sending me toward darkness. It would often end in depression. The images were powerful, filled with so much shame and accusations. But God continues to heal, to teach and to help me battle those flashbacks. He helps me bring them back to the foot of the cross where they belong. It lasted for only seconds. Thank God for His daily grace and mercy in my life. I could now sit and listen to His word being taught without shame being whispered in my ear. At the end of the sermon, a quote by Chuck Swindoll was shared that said, "For faith to replace fears, steer clear of naysayers.*" In other words, stay away from those who influence you to draw away from God. Be careful whom you give access to speak into your heart and life. You do not want to surround yourself with those who will not point you to Christ. Then, a thought entered my mind, "What if you are the naysayer?" What if you are the one who speaks lies to yourself? What if you continue to believe, and dwell on the lies the enemy whispers into your heart? Immediately, I thought back to what happened right before the sermon and thought, "We take it back to the cross." You see, we cannot always be trusted to know if we are believing a lie or not. Our hearts and minds have all kinds of emotions going on that just can't be trusted typically. So, we need help. I believe that help comes in three ways: 1) We need to go before the cross. It's here that we are reminded of who we were. We are reminded of our sin which required Jesus to die in our place. We are reminded of the Gospel. We are reminded that Jesus died for our sins and was raised again so that we might have victory. Victory over sin, shame, flashbacks, and lies. At the cross, we are reminded that the same power that raised Jesus is the same power at work in us. 2) We need to be in His Word, the Bible. We need to read, study and meditate on the word of God. The actual Bible, not books written about it. Without the truths written in His word, we cannot distinguish the truth from lies. We cannot know God, the One true God of the Bible. 3) We need who know Jesus. We need friends who will always point us back to the truth, to Jesus when we have forgotten. When we can't see the truth we need those around us who can. We do not need "naysayers" who agree with us or tell us what we want to hear. We need those willing to "hurt" us with the truth. Friends, I do not always get this right but I am so grateful that God does not give up on me. stubborn I can be, no matter how often I forget, is always there to point me in the way I should go.
* Swindoll, Charles R. Insights on Mark. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2016. page 140