Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. We will not be doing a study this week or next so that we may all slow down and really find the Christmas spirit this year. Try not to get caught up in the stress and making everything important. Let's all slow down and really "be" with our children as we celebrate the day that Christ was born!

We'll continue our study with Chapters 7 and 8 after the New Year! If you have a prayer request or a praise, please share so that we may all lean on each other this Christmas season!

With lots of love,
Chrissy, Jessica and Nicole

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Delivered and Set Free

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 6 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)

Have you ever felt like you were bound, blocked, or just too confused to see what was once made so clear to you by God? The first thing I thought of as I read this chapter was the very beginning of this journey with autism, when I was researching, researching, researching. I felt nearly paralyzed and completely overwhelmed with all I could pursue to help my son. I relate to this where I am now also, as trials of various sorts come at me as I do my best to maintain everything I have in place and follow where we are meant to go. Sometimes the present crisis takes so much attention that it is easy to forget all that God has done for us in the past. It is easy and quite understandable to be thrown off focus in this way with so much going on.

It becomes very apparent in these times that we need to lean on God's understanding completely. Joyce shares a struggle that she had early in her ministry with confusion, self-doubt and unbelief. This nearly threw her completely off course to where she couldn't possibly see how her ministry could grow into what God had showed her it would be. In prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed and confirmed repeatedly that there were "mind binding spirits" at work. As soon as she prayed for deliverance, she was set free and was able to believe again.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. -Romans 8:26

This journey requires faith, stamina and motivation far beyond what any of us could have imagined. The only way to have this is through God. If we ask in prayer, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us things that we could not possibly know otherwise and lead us to pray the way we need to. We are drawn closer to God into deeper relationship and are better able to be used by Him.

As Joyce prayed for her deliverance, she confessed these two passages of scripture, out loud:

John 8:31-32
If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Psalm 107:20
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.

I love the way Joyce reminds us that God "chooses weak and foolish things to confound the wise" (1 Cor 1:27, p.58). It may seem to others that we are foolish in our hope, optimism, faith and the lengths we are willing to go to for our children. It makes me feel better to know that even at my weakest moment, God can and will use me for something great. So if you've ever felt like you were too weak, confused, tired, weighed down or overwhelmed to make any difference, take heart! You are in very good company, as one who can be used by God in extraordinary ways.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for hearing us when we pray to you. Thank you for each and every mother that you draw closer to you and for all of the ways you have blessed us as we raise our children with autism. In the name of your son Jesus, and by the power of His blood, we come against any "mind-binding spirits" that have been causing difficulty as we live to fulfill your purposes. In Jesus' name, set us free from anything that holds us back and is not of you. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, give us faith, insight, wisdom, love, healing and deliverance where you know we need it most. We turn from our old ways of relying on ourselves and surrender fully to you. We trust in Your ways and Your perfect plan for our lives and the lives of our children. Speak Lord, we are listening. We ask this in Jesus' name.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It All Begins With Being Positive

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 5 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question or scripture in the comment section below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!) shall be done for you as you have believed.... -Matthew 8:13

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.... -Proverbs 23:7

Negative Nancy....have you ever been called that before? I'm sure we all have. It's so hard in today's society to not be negative. We look at all of the devastation around us in this time of war, this time of poverty and this time of sickness and it's very hard to be positive. However, what Joyce teaches us in Chapter 5 is that now is the time for us to be positive. It doesn't mean you run around being Miss Perfect-Happy-Go-Lucky. It means that you have the faith in God to help you through any negativities that are thrown your way. You accept your situation and realize that it is happening but you also rely on God to allow the good to come out of it.

Being a positive person doesn't mean you are living in your own little perfect world where nothing can go wrong. It means that you can be the person that Joyce reminded us that Apostle Paul tells us to be in Romans 12:16....the kind who plans things but doesn't fall apart if the plan don't work out. I think back to the moment I was told I was having twins. For the next three years, I had our lives planned out. They would be the best of friends. They would go to school together. They would build forts throughout the house. Climb trees. Play in the treehouses. I even had them marrying sisters. All of a sudden, my plans came crashing down when one of boys was diagnosed with autism. Then, over the next three years I slowly watched their relationship change. I didn't have a choice. I had to change my plans. They were now in two different schools. One would make new friends. One would try his hardest to get his brother to play with him. Climb trees, build forts, chase him around the yard. He didn't care, just play with him. While the other slipped into his own world as we desperately tried to get him to be with us. As his mother, I had no choice. My plans changed. I couldn't be disappointed because then I felt like I was disappointed in God. This is the life we were given. God knows what we need in our lives. We just have to adjust our plans a little. Yes, my boys are the best of friends. Sure they may need a little help from me but they climb trees together, build forts, and play in the treehouses. (I even have two sisters picked out for them who live right up the street.)

Here's the thing, if we consume our minds with negative thoughts how in the world will good ever prevail in this world. Sure it hurts if what we hope for doesn't come true. But how much more sad is it if it doesn't come true because we didn't hope for it. As we pray for God's will to be done in our lives, we have to accept whatever his will is and know that it is the best for us all.

No matter what is thrown at us in this life...autism, cancer, divorce, poverty....we have to remember what Joyce tells us on page 50...."have a ready mind". Having a ready mind isn't being negative. It's basically accepting what is going on, being positive and trusting that God is with you through it. There's a bigger reason that we can not see.

I'd like to close this post with what Joyce says on page 50 in regards to the young lady whose engagement was broken off. (She put a small paragraph showing us how to have a positive ready mind.) However, I've changed it up a bit to focus it around our children having autism. I hope it helps you as much as it has me today.

...I'm really sad that my child has autism, but I'm going to trust God. I hope my children will still be the closest friends, share the deepest secrets and the have the most fun together. I am going to ask and believe that my son will be healed from autism; but more than anything, I want God's perfect will. If it doesn't turn out the way I want it to, I'll survive, because Jesus lives in me. It may be hard for a while, but I trust in the Lord. I believe that in the end everything will work out for the best.....

As Joyce puts it afterwards...."this is facing the facts, having a ready mind and still being positive."

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5

Dear Lord, I thank you so much for everything you are giving us through this study. I pray that you will keep us all safe from negative thoughts. Help us see the positive in everything that comes our way but to most of all trust in you. Amen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Little by Little

(Below are Jessica's thoughts for Chapter 4 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question or scripture in the comment section below each post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)

And the Lord your God will clear out the nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you. -Deuteronomy 7:22

This is a chapter I really needed to read, right now. I have been struggling with discouragement and it has been very hard to keep focus on what I need to do. That plus the beginning of the holiday season, and some other stressors make me really "get" the whole "Battlefield of the Mind" concept. I'm going to start out with what jumped at me right away, as if God meant it just for me.

"When you fail (which you will), that doesn't mean that you are a failure" (p. 40). Just last night, in a moment of weakness I asked my husband, "Am I failing Matthew?". In the light of discouragement (or as Joyce puts it, lack of hope), I was only seeing what he couldn't yet do. The truth of the matter is that my son is growing, learning and progressing-but little by little, often in a back-and-forth fashion, not in huge spurts. Joyce reminds us that we should turn to Christ and let Him be our strength when we feel weak. As long as we keep getting back up, and leaning on God, we can't fail. If I am doing what God wants me to do (which I believe that I am) and he is there every step of the way (which I know he is), then I know that only victory can be the final outcome.

Why are you so cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted withing me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. -Psalm 42:5

Joyce identifies condemnation and discouragement as key weapons that the devil uses in an attempt to keep us from reaching our victory. This is a good time to use our weapon, the weapon of the Word, and speak out loud the truth of God over our lives. There are some key verses that I lean on heavily in difficult times:

Jeremiah 29:11
Romans 8:28
Philippians 4:13
Isaiah 40:31

Hope is the opposite of discouragement and getting ourselves in line with God's will for our lives will involve putting more weight on what God says for our lives than our feelings or even what we see in front of us. Hope creates strength and energizes us. There is great power in praying out loud the word of God and also in praise during the times you least feel like it. Praise keeps us connected to God, the source of all things at all times. It also confuses the enemy when we are praising when it feels more logical to despair.

I like how Joyce gives us two different scripts to illustrate negative versus positive thoughts. In this respect, I would like to humbly offer this prayer:

Dear Lord, I thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. I thank you for your love, faithfulness and patience with our human frailty. Thank you for setting us free from condemnation and for carrying the cross on our behalf. It is by your blood that we are made right with you. Help us to remember this always, especially in times of discouragement. Help us to always stay mindful of what you say about our future and our potential. Thank you for telling us in your word that you want good things for our lives and for your encouragement and your mercy. Give us the grace we need to develop the fruit of patience that you placed within us as we persevere toward our victory, little by little. We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.