Mind Worms…

I don’t know about you…but when I get out of bed in the morning, the first things I hear with my ears can stay with me all day. My kids knew this about me and sometimes, they would play some annoying song when I got up and it would stick in my head all day long. There is nothing worse than having something like “Baby Shark” in your head when you’re trying to concentrate on something else…it’s what I call a mind worm. A mind worm travels into your ear canal and eats its way through your mind until it finally either dies or is substituted by something else.

While that may be a funny story, mind worms are a serious matter. Our thoughts in the morning play a major role in how we well we function. I consider very carefully when I get up in the morning what I listen to because it can set the course of my day. Some might say I am placing too much emphasis on our thoughts, but something one of my readers posted the other day reminded me of a book I read years ago about sheep and the meaning of the verse in Psalm 23 where it reads, “He anoints my head with oil.”
In the book “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm”

“For in the terminology of the sheepman, “summertime is fly
time.” By this, reference is made to the hordes of insects that
emerge with the advent of warm weather. Only those people who have kept livestock or studied wildlife habits are aware of the serious problems for animals presented by insects in the summer.

Sheep are especially troubled by the nose fly, or nasal fly,
as it is sometimes called. Here little flies buzz about the
sheep’s head, attempting to deposit their eggs on the damp,
mucous membranes of the sheep’s nose. If they are successful the eggs will hatch in a few days to form small, slender, worm-like larvae. They work their way up the nasal passages into the
sheep’s head; they burrow into the flesh and there set up an
intense irritation accompanied by severe inflammation.


For relief from this agonizing annoyance sheep will
deliberately beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, or
brush. They will rub them in the soil and thrash around against
woody growth. In extreme cases of intense infestation, a sheep may even kill itself in a frenzied endeavor to gain respite from the aggravation. Often advanced stages of infection from these flies will lead to blindness.

Only the strictest attention to the behavior of the sheep by
the shepherd can forestall the difficulties of “fly time.” At the
very first sign of flies among the flock, he will apply an antidote
to their heads. I always preferred to use a homemade remedy
composed of linseed oil, sulfur, and tar which was smeared over the sheep’s nose and head as a protection against nose flies.


What an incredible transformation this would make among the sheep. Once the oil had been applied to the sheep’s head there
was an immediate change in behavior. Gone was the aggravation; gone the frenzy; gone the irritability and the restlessness. Instead, the sheep would start to feed quietly again, then soon lie down in peaceful contentment”. 1

The analogy here is obvious. The reason many people go through their lives with such disturbing mental issues that seemingly cannot be defeated is because of seeds that the enemy of their souls planted years and years ago, many times in their youth. As children, we are susceptible to all kinds of destructive eggs that the enemy has laid just waiting for their opportunity to hatch and cause us to dash our heads against the ground in agony trying to silence the irritation and noise of mental strongholds.

Many of those seeds are the comments made by parents, teachers, relatives or important authority figures we respect. When a person in authority speaks destructive words into the heart of a child, the damage may not seem immediate, but just like eggs, they will incubate until the personality becomes entirely directed by the wrong thoughts that hatch due to insensitive comments, accusations and even just hate-filled words. If you constantly or even intermittently have trouble with repeating thoughts of accusation, depression or any negativity whatsoever, this blog is for you…

I have told the story in my blog “How I Became Stupid” how the words of a vindictive teacher caused me to believe that I was stupid, and I did my very best to fulfill her hateful prophecy over my life. For years I struggled with rebellion and hate for learning because the eggs laid in my little soul by a teacher who was angry with me hatched into fully grown beliefs that caused me to hate myself and begin down a self-destructive behavioral pattern. Mind worms destroy reality and cause us to believe lies.

I once counseled a man who was fully convinced that he was born to be killed in a tragedy. He didn’t know what it would be, but he had already been involved in two near-death automobile accidents, a fall from a second-story window and a near-fatal electric shock. He used these examples as proof that God created him to die a tragic death.

When I did some investigating, he related to me of growing up with a maniacal father who tortured him by burning him with cigarettes because he would wet his pants as a little boy. His father had told him, “You will never live a long life…God wouldn’t let someone as stupid as you to live!” His father also had told him, “All the men in our family have died before they lived a full life…it’s your fate…just like it will be mine!” His father was killed at 43, being crushed by a crane on a work-related accident. It wasn’t until that belief system in his mind was rejected and he accepted the scripture Psalm 91 that he was able to be free from the destructive mind worm and its poisonous eggs.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly plague. He will cover you with His feathers; under His wings, you will find refuge;

His faithfulness is a shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the pestilence that destroys at noon. Though a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, no harm will come near you.

You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD your dwelling—my refuge, the Most High— no evil will befall you, no plague will approach your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and cobra; you will trample the young lion and serpent.

“Because he loves Me, I will deliver him; because he knows My name, I will protect him. When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver and honor him. With (a) long life, I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.”

It is for this reason that the crown of thorns pushed into the head of Jesus on the cross was an important part of your salvation. The blood that covered Christ’s head was the payment for a sound mind…a payment that must be appropriated every day when we rise from bed and every night when we lay our heads upon our pillows. Scripture is very clear about how our thoughts AND WORDS can determine both our destiny and our outlook on life.

While our minds were purchased by his blood, the renewing power of washing it daily with God’s Word is WHAT KEEPS IT CLEAN from destructive mind worms. Counteracting accusations and lies that are thrown at us by the enemy of our souls is something we cannot just pray and ask God to remove from us. God tells us the RENEWING OUR MINDS IS A JOB HE HAS GIVEN TO US!!!

“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND. THEN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TEST AND APPROVE WHAT IS THE GOOD, PLEASING AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD.” Romans 12:1-2

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE to obey Christ”. – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

“In I John 1:7, the apostle writes that we are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. But the cleansing found here in Ephesians 5:26 is of a different kind. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Almost all things are purged by blood.” Almost all but not everything is. There are some things that must be purged in another way.

Ephesians 5:26 tells us that we are cleansed “with the washing of water by the word.” There are things that will be cleansed—things in our minds, things that deal with conduct, things that have to do with character and attitude—that are cleansed by water. The word “water” here is symbolic, referring to the Word of God, as well as to the Holy Spirit.

Christ gave a long discourse in John 6, which we often apply at Passover time, about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Towards the end, He says to his audience, “The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

We have in the Bible the Word of God—and Jesus says it contains power. It has the power to cleanse a person’s mind because we can think only by what goes into the mind, concepts that are contained in words. Words are merely symbols of ideas that we use to reason. We turn those ideas into action, into conduct, which becomes part of our character and our attitude.
In other places in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is compared to water and to oil. Both of these have revitalizing, nourishing, cleansing, purifying, and sanitizing properties to them.

We are familiar with how we use water to cleanse things; water is the universal solvent. We do not use oil so much to cleanse things, but, on the other hand, the Samaritan in the parable treated the man’s wounds with oil (Luke 10:34). It had a purifying effect on him.” 2

Today, begin by filling your mind with God’s word…with God’s thoughts, and discover a new and living way of being free and breaking destructive thoughts that seek to derail God’s perfect peace over your life.

1.http://keithhunt.com/Shep10.html
2.https://www.bibletools.org/…/12320/Washing-Water-by-Word.htm

The Power of Words…

This blog will be an eye opener for many of you. If you know me, you will understand my being timid about sharing this. Allow me to ask you to read it to the end. I serve a redeeming God. And I have been redeemed.

There was a time in my life when I was very careless with my words. I was a well-intentioned person, I was gifted and the recipient of abundant blessings.

I was also a verbal abuser. Even though it wasn’t recognized back then like it is today, my words could wreck a peaceful atmosphere in seconds. I could eviscerate those closest to me, I could wither my critics with a barrage of hateful and hate filled words designed to silence anyone who would dare to contradict anything I said. I destroyed one marriage and came chillingly close to destroying my own life.

Today, I continue to seek repair and reconciliation with my children due to those days. We have made great progress and I see their willingness to forgive and my continuing repentance as reason for hope that eventually God will completely restore my relationships. My ex-wife and I are now dear friends, and I know and feel the forgiveness of God. Even though I have remarried and have the most wonderful relationship with my wife Mary Ann, my ex and I realize that we continue to be and will always be the parents of our children and grandparents of our grandchildren. But it has taken it’s toll.

If I could go back and take all the harsh, hateful words back, I would RUN back and do so. But I can’t…I can’t retrieve the words I spoke. That’s because words are not mere sounds that hit the air. Words are containers of power. Both Good and Bad power. God created the world with power filled WORDS.

It is obvious from the world we live in that “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” is not the truth. Words Can Kill. Words don’t stop when they are spoken, their damage continues to rip through our lives and our minds like a hollow point bullet, tearing and blasting our Psyches for decades.

This is why it is so important today, at the beginning of the year that you make this the Year of Mindful Speaking…speaking words that will build up and not tear down. Words over your children that bless them, that encourage them, that lead them to trust in authority and believe in goodness and right things. Words over your spouse that enhances their life and doesn’t fill them with insecurity or angst about the future.

Speaking blessing over your spouse, over your job, over your employer and fellow employees. Saying encouragement, hope, and believing the best. It is a sign of maturity that we pause…before we speak. It is adulthood, to not say something when we feel the heat of anger coming upon us, but to wait until we can control our spirits, and then, with love, respond, even if that response has to be corrective. Oh yes, we most certainly can correct, we can reprove (Reprove is a verb used in the same way as “scold,” or “dress down.” To reprove is to express your dissatisfaction or disapproval with something) without destroying the spirit of another person.

Why do you suppose that after having turned from my foolish past behavior, that would God release me to inspire and encourage others?

Well…

You were not there my friend when I spent many a night in brokenness on my living room floor experiencing the excruciating pain that comes when you realize that you have pulled the trigger that destroyed the people closest to you. You were not there sitting cold on the floor of a rented house contemplating your own demise. The horrible self hatred that my enemy tired to pull over my face like a blanket and suffocate me with. When, at one of my most desperate moments, I saw my Bible sitting on the shelf, and with one final reach, pulled it down and read the scripture,

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 New Living Translation.

Allow me to answer my own question as to why God has allowed me to do what I do.

It is because encouragement and inspiration are the exact opposites of verbal condemnation. It is because, God wants to actively redeem the gift that He placed in me and wants that gift to produce blessing and not cursing. It is because I was not born an abuser. We are born with the giftings of God upon our lives that the enemy of our souls tries to steal.

We are born with the whisper of a hope that the little personalities we have been given will bloom under the careful watering of our parents and the Holy Spirit and produce a world of great peace and blessing for others. I was no different. I was born a lover, a child who would crawl up on the lap of any stranger and hug and kiss them.

My parents were even a bit embarrassed by my behavior as a tiny boy. I was born to love and embrace. I was born to be accepting and caring. I was not a rough tough cowboy like John Wayne…I was Gene Autry a singing cowboy.

But somewhere along the way, something went terribly wrong. The record that was to be written upon with love and care, was scratched by abusive, hate-filled and wreckless words. The words from family, friends, teachers, coaches, church leaders and classmates…all took the shine off the record and it began to skip. And, in all openness and honesty, I chose to become bitter.

In my 20’s I joined an organization that was quite heavy handed with me when it came to my Christian walk. Nothing was good enough…and due to poor decisions on my part, instead of correcting the error within the organization, I also became very rigid and inflexible. My decision made me judgmental and proud. It stomped the life right out of my loving tender nature. You can’t be loving and tender if you’re taking the world for Jesus…right? So much for youthful zeal and wisdom! I HAVE forgiven, and today, those who made errorsand spoke harshly over my life have repented and we are close friends. But this is how harsh words can affect our lives. Even well intentioned, the right words with a harsh spirit make for bad results and can take us off track for years!

 If you want to know how to stop a life of love and service, if you want to know how to insure a child never fulfills his or her potential, if you wish to make the future of a child shame filled and with no confidence…use withering words and attack their character. Tell them they are useless. Tell them they were a mistake. Tell them that you wish they had never been born. Tell the child that God destined to influence others with love and unconditional acceptance, that they are going to be trouble for the rest of their lives. Say it in anger, make sure you scream at them. That will do the job. That will do the very job you intend it to.

I do not use my hurtful past as an excuse. But once you have come out from under the cloud, by forgiveness, by the power of The Holy Spirit, God transforms even older children like me. He gives us eyes to see again and a heart to feel again. This is what repentance brings. It brings beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the cloak of praise instead of the hateful, vengeful spirit of heaviness. Instead of using my tongue for angry words, the Lord has graciously given me a pen. He has allowed me to see in the Spirit the needs of others. It’s why I can walk into a crowd and zero in on hurt and place bandages on it. It’s why hurting people are placed around me and my friend, God wants to do it with you too. IF you will only let Him. If you will only throw out the bitterness of years past and embrace the new things.

It is why I can now, by the goodness of God, that I can begin to encourage the broken-hearted person. ME, The breaker of hearts, being used as a healer. Binding up the brokenhearted, doing it in secret. Visiting the forgotten, using my mouth to bless and love. You don’t realize my gentle reader, how wonderful it is to be able to HUG people again! You cannot fathom the feeling of being let out of prison.

This is why I write and catalogue my life. It’s because I have experienced the forgiveness and have been let out of my cage of anger. It is because I can now see with such joy all the beautiful people in the earth that have a calling on their life. It is because I know what many of you may have missed.

That God will use even the filthiest of us after he has cleaned us up to be a golden vessel.

He will take the abused and the abuser, and if they are willing, God will transform them into powerful examples of His Glory and Might.

I had two people write to me on my birthday this year, the same scripture. One of them…my former wife.  They said, “this is your scripture this year”. Know what it was?

“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”…” Isaiah 61:1

This year, the day after Christmas, I turned 61. There is nothing magical or mystical about that. But I write this blog today, to be totally transparent with you. And to demonstrate that if God can use, a wretched man, like I used to be…Oh my friend, How greatly can God, if you are willing, use you?!