What is Spiritual Warfare?

Oftentimes, spiritual warfare is seen as an attack from the outside.  Some larger outside force  attacks with the intent to cause personal harm taking the form of financial failure, marriage infidelity, natural disasters, rebellious children, economic depression, war, or dissension in churches.  And sometimes, this is spiritual warfare.

But sometimes it is not. Rather, these events are direct consequences of yours or others actions and desires.  The greatest battle for spiritual warfare is not the larger than life events; instead it is in the smaller thoughts and feelings stirring inside.

Thoughts.  Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly to better evaluate your thoughts.

  • What do you think about? How much time do you spend thinking?
  • Do you replay conversations over and over in your head?
  • Do you fantasize about how to get even with someone?
  • Do you image achieving a great result to vindicate yourself?
  • Do you focus your thoughts on one area of our life (i.e. work) at the expense of another area of our life (i.e. family)?
  • Do you wish for someone else to experience the same pain as you?
  • Do you dream about winning the lottery?
  • Do you focus on your past failures wishing you done it differently?
  • Do you call yourself a failure, loser, or other self-depreciating statements?

Each one of these thoughts is actually part of your spiritual battle.  More appropriately named distraction.  These negative thoughts distract you from thoughts that are good, pure, just, and holy.  Eventually your focus moves off God and onto more worldly desires.  Some of these desires seem innocent such as winning the lottery and giving the money to family and charity.  But this simple fantasy sows seeds of dissatisfaction in your current financial state and seeds of envy for those who have such luxuries.

Feelings.  Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly to better evaluate your feelings.

  • If it feels good, do you do it regardless of whether or not it violates your standards?
  • If it feels good to buy a new piece of clothing, do you do it even if you don’t need it?
  • If it feels good to flirt with someone, do you do it even if it jeopardizes your marriage?
  • If it feels good to have a drink or two or three, do you do it even if you risk becoming drunk?
  • If it feels good to mouth off to someone, do you do it even if you risk damaging the relationship?
  • If you don’t feel like reading the proposal, assignment or book, do you do it anyway?
  • If you don’t feel like parenting your children today, do you do it anyway?
  • If you don’t feel like dealing with your grief, do you do it anyway?

Feelings or emotions can drive you to do an action or not do an action in spite of your thoughts.  However, just like thoughts can lead you astray, so can feelings.  Intense emotions such as fear may propel you to do something to supress the uncomfortable feeling instead of confronting it. Or discouragement may cause your to do nothing at all. Feelings are not bad. God created them. But feelings which drive our behavior without a thought can be destructive.

Spiritual warfare is not always the big things happening around us; sometimes it is the little things happening inside of us.  Take an inventory of your thoughts and feelings to see if they need a cleansing.  After all, most historians will tell you that the greatest battle is the one you are fighting right now.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Sermon on Depression and Suicide

National Presbyterian ChurchIf you are struggling with depression or know of someone who is, please read this tender yet honest sermon from Chris Erdman about the death of his friend and Pastor Jamie Evans.  I knew Jamie as a child as his parents were and still are dear friends of my parents.  His father, Louis Evans Jr., now deceased, was also my pastor at National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C., the one who taught me to have a love for God that is still strong within me.

I have nothing but fond memories of Jamie as he would often pick my brother and I up to attend youth functions at our church.  He was always so full of energy and life, so much fun to be around.  In fact, my first motorcycle ride, much to the dismay of my parents, was on the back of his bike.

This wonderfully written sermon is a testimony to Jamie’s life and struggles with ADHD, dyslexia and depression.  It reminds us of the importance of treating mental illness and not pretending everything is OK when it is not.  It is well worth your time to read.

http://chriserdman.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/God-and-Suicide-Luke-13.31-35.pdf

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

What to Do When You Are the Cheating Spouse

cheating-spouse-surveillanceYou are having an affair.  This wasn’t intention, you didn’t even see it coming but here you are anyway in   the middle of an affair.  It started off easily and innocently with a glance when you noticed the other person and got noticed back; it felt good to have someone look at you like that way again.  The other person took an interest in you, in your problems, in your frustrations, and in your successes without judgment, resentment, or selfishness.  It began with an occasional face-to-face conversation then the conversation became more private through texting and emails.  You found yourself looking for opportunities to meet and to touch casually noticing their smell, their look, and their eyes longing for the next meeting.

Finally it happened, the connection that began as emotional became physical.  It seemed so natural, so comfortable, and so normal that you hardly noticed something was wrong.  But something is wrong because you are married and the other person is not your spouse.  Mixed emotions of guilt, fear, excitement, anticipation, worry, anger, and anxiety flood your body leaving you with a complete lack of clarity. Now you are stuck, not knowing what to do without anyone to talk to, knowing that no matter what someone is going to get hurt.   You know that having an affair is wrong, but here you are.

Lie #1:  No one is going to get hurt.  The truth is everyone will get hurt.  Your spouse will get hurt when the affair becomes known, a promise of fidelity is broken, trust is destroyed, and intimacy is denied.  The person you are having the affair will get hurt when reliability is forbidden, stability is deprived, promises are broken, and intimacy is one way.  You will get hurt when forced to make a decision, lies become standards, secrets become gossip, promises broken, and intimacy becomes a farce.  Your friends, family, and God all become hurt as well since your marriage was a promise of commitment in front of all and now that promise is broken.

Lie #2:  It’s my spouse’s fault I’m having an affair.  The truth is both of you are to blame for the affair but you more than your spouse.  Pointing fingers is not going to accomplish much right now, it’s kind of like Adam and Eve in the garden when each blamed someone else for the reason they sinned.  What is done is done and blaming someone else is not going to more you forward.  Own your own mistakes; this is adult behavior instead of childlike blame shifting.

Lie #3:  There is nothing I can do.  The truth is you have many options but all of them are far more difficult than the decision to have the affair.  Once you recognize that you are really hurting everyone by having an affair and you own up to your responsibility in the affair, then you need to take action.  Remaining in the same place and continuing on with your life as it is now will cause significant anxiety and lead to panic attacks and depression.  Having an affair is lying.  So begin the process by not lying anymore and then confess previous lies.  It will be painful of there is little doubt but continuing the lying is even more painful.

No one likes to admit that they have done something wrong.  It is painful, revealing, exposing, and humbling however nothing can be resolved if the affair remains in secret.  Get some counsel, ask for help from a non-biased person, and take action.  In the end, you are responsible for your actions and the decisions that you make both for good and bad.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Detach from the Ranting

Your spouse is going to rant about something sooner or later.  Unfortunately the ranting may even be about the same topic, the same people, or the same circumstances you have heard about a thousand times before.  In your response, you are likely to fall into a pattern of defending, explaining, shutting down, minimizing or personalizing the ranting.  None of these responses are correct and all are likely to incite even more ranting from your spouse.

So what can you do?  First recognize that you rant as well and stop pointing the finger at your spouse as if they were the only one to blame.  Second, remind yourself that you do love your spouse and that your love in unconditional, not based on performance.  Afterall, this is what you expect from your spouse so you should give them the same consideration.  Finally, detach from the ranting by reminding yourself that their ranting is their issue and not yours.  You do not need to take your spouse’s issues on like a weight to be carried around.  This is not helpful, this is hurtful.  Your spouse is responsible for their behavior, their actions, and their words; just like you are responsible for your behavior towards your spouse, your actions and your words.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Get Real

So you say that you want your marriage to be better.  You read books, listen to others, pray, and talk about the importance of marriage but how committed are you really?  It is much easier to talk about communicating and the importance of it for instance, then to actually communicate effectively.  The same is true for your marriage.  It is much easier to talk about having a good marriage and the importance of having one rather than making positive steps to improve your marriage.  Strangely enough, no matter what your spouse has done, a better marriage starts with you and not the other person.  Stop looking at what your spouse is doing wrong or has done wrong in the past and start looking at your contribution to the failure of your marriage.  Get real with yourself and God before you go on the attack.  This is far more productive than blaming your spouse as Adam and Eve discovered in the Garden.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Don’t Be A Spouse Pleaser

Yes, I know that this is strange advice and most likely contradicts the latest marriage book you read but it doesn’t work in the long run.  Sure you can get great results in your marriage by always trying to please your spouse short-term but sooner or later you run out of steam especially when the gesture is not reciprocated to your satisfaction level.  Pleasing your spouse ranks right up there with pleasing others which should not be the focus of your life.

What is wrong with pleasing your spouse or others?  The standard for pleasing others is constantly changing and therefore is not a foundation upon which you can stand firm.  However, going to the opposite point of view which is pleasing yourself is selfish and an equally troubling foundation for a marriage.  Pleasing others elevates their feelings, beliefs, and standards as more important as your own.  Pleasing yourself elevates your feelings, beliefs, and standards as more important than others.  Neither is good.

There is only one to please, one to praise, one to worship, one to follow, one to hope, and one to love.  God.  His standard is unchanging, unwavering, and full of grace all at once.  By setting your sights on pleasing God, you will naturally please others and yourself but not because one is elevated above the other.  Rather, you will be  more focused on His ways of grace, mercy, love, patience, kindness, order, and structure.  This is the best foundation for your marriage.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Forgive Your Spouse for the Little Things

It’s the little things that count.  Too often the big things in a marriage get the most attention while the little things go unrecognized for lack of importance.  However, if you can begin the practice of forgiving your spouse for the little things, then when the big things come up it will be a much easier task.  It’s like running a race.  You train for the race gradually, increasing your speed, intensity, and distance with each practice.  Eventually you are prepared to run the race at your best because of the practice even if you didn’t feel well that day.  Yet, if you were to run the race cold, even with the best intentions at heart, you would not do as well as if you practiced a little every day.  It is the same with forgiveness.  Practice forgiving the little things each day and when the big things come along you will have your training in forgiveness to fall back on even when you don’t feel like forgiving.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.