Reel Regret

I think a lot. Sometimes too much. I used to think that all my thinking was a good thing. I valued my enhanced intellectualism and self-proclaimed wisdom.

I’ve recently learned, through reading books by Neil T. Anderson, that my mind’s been prideful and deceived for most of my life.

It’s certainly been humbling to learn about all the ways that I’ve been misled. The higher, hidden corners of my mind were exposed for their lowness.

But that’s not the point of this blog. It’s just a pre-explanation for what’s to come. So I’ll get to it.

Since my mind is racing and pacing so often, it’s like I have a movie theater, TV and radio station going all the time. I rewind and replay my favorite movie and television clips. I beebop along to my personal MindTunes soundtrack throughout the day.

The benefit to all this synaptic activity is that I’m not bored because I can just tap into my mind media archive. The drawback is that there’s constant cranium commotion.

As a fallible human, I’ve done things in my past that I’m not proud of. You could even call them regrettable. While my mind replays movies and TV, it also replays memories of my past and ideal situations for my future.

I call the unhappy memories of my past Reel Regret, with word play on movie reels.

I used to punish myself thinking about things in my past that I could’ve done better, or shouldn’t have done at all. I thought I was disciplining myself and preparing myself for a better future.

The truth is that I’d let Satan use those reel regrets to distract me from what I should’ve been doing in those present moments. I spent many days in the reccesses of my mind, completely unattached to what was going on around me. I didn’t connect with people, I just idly observed them as I reviewed the replays in my mind.

It’s safe to say that I missed out on the development of several relationships because I was thinking and not interacting with my surroundings.

Since I’ve began reading the Neil T. Anderson books (and books by Joyce Meyer and others), I’ve gained a lot of insight on the proper way to think. I’ve loosed bondages in my mind and my life. I’m more at peace than I’ve ever been and my mind actually experiences times of quiet.

However, with the increase in my thought control, there’s also been an increase in mental attacks from Satan. He’s tried (and succeeded several times) to make me continue to regret things from my past. He pushes play on the reels of regret in my mind. And, if I’m not taking my thoughts captive, I spend hours rehashing old problems and rehearsing how I’ll act in the future to make up for what I didn’t do in the past.

Satan even uses good things that I’ve done or intended to do and made me feel bad about them. Recently, I planned on giving a CD to a friend because I knew she liked that band’s music. I forgot to give the CD to the friend when I saw her. As soon as I realized I forgot to give her the CD, an onslaught of regret and sadness assailed me. It took me two days to finally get over feeling bad about that. Not only did I beat myself up about not giving her the CD and rehash all the times I could’ve given it to her, I started pre-planning the next time I’d see her and what I’d say when I gave it to her and how I’d make up for my previous forgetfullness.

It’s incredibly distracting to think like that. But I used to do it all the time. I used to think it was good that I was so analytical. I actually thought myself better than others because I analyzed so many things.

*takes a deep breath*

I was once trapped in the prison of my mind. But now I’m free. However, Satan and his legions still follow me around ready and willing welcome me back into mental distraction.

Satan is a player. He pushes the play button of regret. He plays on my emotions. He plays with my mind.

I’m pushing stop, removing his demonic DVD and unplugging the cord.

Curse the crisis

I believe that America has talked itself into a financial crisis.

If you watch or read any amount of news right now, it’s littered with opinions that we’re in a recession or we’re going into one.

I do not agree with those headlines.

I believe we’ve cursed ourselves into crisis. We keep talking about how bad the economy is and how bad things will get. We are speaking curses over our lives.

As a follower of Jesus, I’ve learned that God inhabits the praises of His people. I’ve also learned that we can prophesy things into our lives. We can speak in faith and expect God to work.

Satan is the thief of joy so he loves it when people speak negative things. Satan covets cursing.

People (except for a few) are not living by Kingdom principles. What are Kingdom principles? Well, living by Kingdom principles means living biblically. It means trusting God to be our provision. It means giving God 10% of the firstfruits our income. It means encouraging and uplifting each other. It means believing and living in faith and not failing and falling in fear.

I don’t walk around every day fearing that I’ll lose my job and end up homeless on the street. I do walk in confidence knowing that God is my provision, my shield, my refuge, my comfort, my strength.

Take a look around you. Most of what you’ll see is fear. God is not a God of fear. That means that an opposing force is at work. Satan flourishes in fear and prospers in panic.

I don’t believe we’re in a recession. We are, however, in an excession. A world in excess sin, idolatry, independence and negativity.

God loves to bless His people with prosperity…when they are obedient. Immediate obedience brings immediate rewards. As I walk in faith and obedience to Christ, I’m not afraid of all of these terrible things that the news proclaims. The world’s headlines are not my heartaches.

I have come that they may have life and have it redundantly

Woven throughout the memories in my mind, I recall teachers and preachers who’ve told me that Jesus came and said, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” — John 10:10

Jesus came to give life to the dead and set free those who were captive to sin. He liberated man and frustrated Satan’s plan.

Eternal life through Jesus is a colossal thing. But it is so minimalized, marginalized and mundane-ized with the lifestyles we live now.

For many of us, we do the same thing every week at the same times every day. Here’s a bit of my schedule, to orchestrate the point:

Monday: Get up at 5:20 to leave for work by 6 a.m. Work from 7-3:30. Come home and clean the apartment and cook meals for the week. Take the dog out. Play with the dog. Go to bed.

Tuesday: Get up at 5:20 to leave for work by 6 a.m. Work from 7-3:30. Drive to Franklin. Eat. Meet with my mentor at 5:45. Arrive home around 8:30. Take the dog out. Play with the dog. Go to bed.

Wednesday: Get up at 5:20 to leave for work by 6 a.m. Work from 7-3:30. Come home and let the dog out. Leave for Life Group at 6, to make it there by 6:30. Stay at life group until 8:45. Come home. Take the dog out. Play with the dog. Go to bed.

Thursday: Get up at 5:20 to leave for work by 6 a.m. Work from 7-3:30. Drive to Franklin. Eat. Sing in choir from 6:30-8. Drive back home and arrive around 9. Take the dog out. Play with the dog. Go to bed.

Friday: Get up at 5:20 to leave for work by 6 a.m. Work from 7-3:30. Drive back home. Take the dog out. Play with the dog. Go to bed.

I do that every week. It’s crazy redundant. I bet you probably got a bit bored reading it, right? I got bored writing it. But, I had to do it to illustrate my point.

Jesus didn’t liberate me from sin and eternal torment in hell so that I’d do the same, mundane thing every day. He didn’t deliver me from a life of deception so that I’d live a life of drabness. He gave me life so that I’d live it in abundant obedience to Him.

I confess that I sometimes get bored with my weekly schedule. However, A New Way, A New Day is my church’s prophetic word for the year. I’ve been learning how to live and proceed in A New Day, everyday. God makes each day unique. Each day is the day of salvation. Each day is the day of the Messiah. The day that Jesus conquered death and closed the gap between God and man was the first New Day. Jesus did things that’d never been done before.

As the Bible instructs, I’m to be an imitator of Christ. So that means that I need to live each day as a new day and not a continuation of a series of endless, busy days.

My challenge and commission for myself is to live abundantly, not redundantly.

I challenge and commission you to do the same.

Care Actor Trait

I confess that many of my blogs grow from a clever idea for a title. Take this one for example. I was thinking about character traits one day. My mind moved on to the verses in the Bible that talk about being not only hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. It moved on further to reminding that I need to (and we need to) act in kindness and compassion to one another. Those actions need to define our lives.

All of this is taken from James 1:21-24.

21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (Emphasis mine.)

I’ll break it down.

Care: Several verses in the Bible talk about Jesus being overcome with compassion. The Messiah of the world cared a lot about those around Him. Think about it. He had to. He endured the worst suffering of all humanity. To me, that means He cares more than this mortal, limited mind understands. And because Jesus cares, I care. Why? Because the Bible instructs me to be Christ-like.

Care.

Actor: This word puts the movement into this whole concept. The verses above basically mean that we can’t just listen to the Word. We can’t just soak in biblical instruction because we’ll forget what we learned if we don’t act on it. We can’t just go to church and sit there half interested, cuz if we do we’ll live half lives. We can’t go through the motions in life, because if we do, life will be motionless. We need to be doers and be active. We must take what we hear and put it into practice.

Care Actor.

Trait: A distinguishing quality. Distinguished is an important word here. Biblically, we’re told not to conform to the patterns of this world. It’s easy to just do what the majority does and to follow the path that most have trudged to get where they got. Conformity is not distinguished. Not in the least. Conformity is actually boring, messy, disappointing and uninteresting. But distinguishment…that’s sophisticated. That’s endearing. That’s special. That’s unique. That is a term of identity. In this case, an identity in Christ. Nothin’ more distinguished than that.

Care Actor Trait.

Weakly Wednesdays

I am often in a bad mood on Wednesdays. I may have blogged about this before. I can’t remember.

Every Wednesday evening I meet with a group of people from my church. We eat a meal together, talk about what was taught in church the Sunday before and then pray together. It’s Christian fellowship and hangout time. It’s fun. It’s encouraging. It’s nice to connect with people from my area.

However, every week I find myself in a foul mood on Wednesdays. I believe it’s because Satan’s trying to get me down and convince me not to go to the gathering. He wants me to stay home and be alone, sulking about my bad day, eating and watching TV.

Satan’s aim for me is to be a sedentary sulker.

God’s will for me is to be a connected Christian.

The greatest dream God has is that His people be unified. It makes perfect sense that Satan would do his best to prevent that from happening.

I’ve often heard it said that opposition from Satan is a good thing. It means I’m doing something right. With these weakly, weekly Wednesdays, I’m convinced that I’m doing God’s will by going to these gatherings. So I’ll persevere through the tiredness, irritability and laziness in pursuit of God’s purpose.