We finally reach a key survival tactic, how do Christians win wars? Apostle Paul is really an expert in this field judging from the long list of challenges he went through and his always emerging as the victor and not the victim! I have done a simple chart with the key Bible verses from 2 Corinthians 10. Please read the whole chapter for a better understanding. Paul’s other letters speak of how we can control and train our thought life. For example, Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start your meditation.
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Today we are reminded that the ten plagues only struck those who chose not to believe and acknowledge the righteous God whom Moses and his people believed, the same God we believe. Take note the idolatry arrogant heart of Pharaoh caused him to make foolish and self-destructive decisions. He exalted himself above the righteous and holy God. Pharaoh did not fear God because he thought he himself was god. While he comfortably indulged himself in his luxurious palace wining and dining opulently, his people suffered in prolonged incremental fear and torment. He had no love or compassion even for his own people. Why was his heart hardened? He was obsessed with keeping an ample supply of cheap/free labor the miserable enslaved Israelites provided to perpetuate his wealth and related social-political power. He was consumed with jealousy of Moses, a former prince of Egypt, now the formidable great transformer leader championing for the justice, freedom and wellbeing of the Jewish nation.
Moses, on the other hand, after his miraculous encounter with God, was truly supernaturally transformed into a great and courageous leader who at the age of 80 would leave his comfort zone and even stick out his neck for the love of God and God’s own people. What happened in the end? “Exodus 12:40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” The rest is history.
The life of Moses produced good fruit that lasts to eternity. Pharaoh’s life? Plagues and burning.
Today we learn how effectively Paul use both his mind and spirit: aligned with the mind of Christ and the Spirit of Christ.
His challenge list reads like a horror movie, far worse than any nightmare: five times whipped with 39 stripes each, three times beaten by rod, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, one night and one day in the deep, in journeys often, in perils of waters, robbers, own countrymen, gentiles, city, wilderness, sea, false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness often, hunger, thirst, fasting often, cold, nakedness, deep concern for all churches, threat of imminent arrest (his life) from city authority. He was in constant physical and mind challenges: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, and labors. (2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 6:4-5)
Imagine a human always being hounded, on the look-out, on the run, slandered, taunted, intimidated, verbally and physically abused, violently assaulted, falsely accused, brutally arrested, beaten, condemned as guilty without evidence, imprisoned without a just trial, and always overhung with the death sentence.
But what did Paul say about his conditions? How did he deal with such an overload of injustice and schemes of torments after his life? His letters showed how he looked at things both sides. He lived in both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, the spiritual and the physical realms, the temporary and the eternal, the external and the internal, the seen and the unseen. To Paul, both were real. He really experienced them, the natural and the supernatural. By knowing the two parallel realities Paul was able to handle the challenges confidently and overcome them successfully. Because his focus and priority are always on the side of the real victor, Christ.
He explained this plainly in his letters (2 Corinthians 6:6-10). There are two sides in everything: the view of the enemy and the view of a Spirit-filled Christian (reflecting God’s view). The evil and the good. The good will always overpower the evil one. Paul effectively and fearlessly exercised his spiritual power and authority over his unseen foe who worked through other human and natural elements. I append below self-explanatory Bible verses on this awesome revelation!
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NKJV)
4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
24 Festus interrupted Paul’s defense,[a] blurting out, “You’re out of your mind! All this great learning of yours is driving you crazy.”[b]
25 Paul replied, “No, Your Excellency Festus, I am not crazy. I speak the words of truth and reason.[c]26 King Agrippa, I know I can speak frankly and freely with you, for you understand these matters well, and none of these things have escaped your notice. After all, it’s not like it was a secret!
Acts 26:24 The Aramaic can be translated “As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul, Festus interrupted.”
Acts 26:24 Or “So much Scripture has made you senseless!”
The way we think influences the contents we speak of. Some people may prefer their life colors remain in varying shades of grey. But there are times in lives we stand at the watershed between truth and untruth and need to make a clearly demarcated decision.
A current news event has stirred up my memory of a story I read sometime ago about a young woman uncovering her unmarried aunt’s reason for remaining single. She still could not forget her first love from junior high school. She did not marry him because she was ambitious and felt that he could not possibly give her the financial freedom she yearned for. They separated and lost contact for decades. She became a famous commercial artist in her own right. The young niece did some sleuthing and finally tracked down the man in question. He turned out to be a very successful but reclusive industrialist manufacturing highly sought after exquisite glassware. He had married, divorced and remained single. He soon detected this young girl stalking him and confronted her. Here is the anti-climax: when she told him she was trying to reconcile him with her aunt, he categorically denied having ever known her aunt!
What really happened? The girl was disappointed and puzzled. The aunt told her the name of her first love and this man bore that name. But this man had no idea who the aunt was and denied ever loving any woman of that description. The girl finally found and showed him the faded photo of her aunt and her young lover from high school. It dawned on the industrialist that the young man was his classmate and good friend then. Apparently the aunt remembered a wrong name. The girl was shocked. All these years the aunt was stalking/thinking of the wrong man when she kept abreast of news about his development and achievements in life.
But what happened to the other man? The undistinguished real lover? The girl eventually found him, an ordinary man at his death bed in a hospice. He had married, propagated, widowed, retired and lived with his grown-up son and family. He thought she was her aunt because of the resemblance. In the story she let this poor man hold her hand until he breathed his last.
I know my memory cannot be classified as totally objective, factual, accurately organized and stored like untempered computer data. I used to think otherwise. But one day my younger sister unknowingly challenged the accuracy of my facts. I overheard her recalling a historical family incident to our younger relatives. I remember everything just as she narrated except for one crucial fact. In my memory I was the hero who did that act of charity. In her narration she became that charitable person! How can that be? I was stunned. I stayed silent. Either one of us has to be wrong. Who is it? She is an honest person. I know that as a fact. So am I. But one of us remembers an untruth.
What affects my memory? How do I remember things? I use ways to memorize different details, often by associations which are not entirely reliable. Despite being a very careful reader of maps, when I am driving in a less familiar terrain (and without GPS), suddenly realizing that some familiar landmarks have changed without my previous noticing, I would find myself stopping my car in the middle of the road, pulling aside to figure out where I am on the map, because I cannot rely on my internalized auto-pilot system anymore.
I personally find that faces, names and places are the most difficult items to synchronize when recalling. Often I have to put memory pieces like jigsaw puzzles (real and imagined?) together to form a coherent (in my thinking) narrative picture. Association can be misleading and deceptive too like the story above of the two young men and their names being mixed up in the memory of a young girl.
Being fond of writing and reading words, I realize that my thinking formulates pictures the way I see them in my mind which is in turn influenced by many variable factors, some real, some unintentionally and often unconsciously creatively imagined. After awhile, I even speak as if they are real. I am thankful that I have a family and loved ones with enough common sense and who are not afraid to point out where I err in this memory-recalling processing task.
What matters is how God sees us. Knowing how He sees me and aligning with His view will be the best guide for every aspect of life. What about memory? Leave it aside unless it fits the following happy thoughts.
So keep your (my) thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your (my) thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. (Philippians 4:8)
Today I am sad to be reminded how human mind can be so limited that we tend to forget the big picture when the enemy lures us to pick on the nitty gritty of stuff he displays with a fanfare, dangling like a carrot in front of the donkey’s nose. I really cannot believe my ears when I watch the current campaign of a popular young (in age comparatively) yet veteran (in terms of two decades of being an elected representative) politician who represents hope and justice in a small nation. He performs well and I fully agree with the pertinent economic and legal issues he raises about his country’s political scene.
But he made a slip when he commented on the election of the greatest nation in the world. I am disappointed that he did not do a thorough study (being an obviously brilliant oratorial lawyer) on the other nation before he passed that comment on the final choice of the presidential candidate. No doubt he intended to make the point that every vote mattered as around 40% did not vote. He omitted to mention the fact that 62,979,636 voters had voted for the winning candidate. He also erred in making the presumption that the 40% dormant votes could have been in favor of another candidate!
I pray we all become more responsible and careful with our words. Globally. I have readers from nearly all the nations of the world who have internet access and those who read the downloaded articles sent to them by their loved ones. I do not presume to know all but I maintain my belief that the truth and each individual’s integrity matter. In my seven decades of life on earth I have come to the conviction and conclusion that each word we speak really matters. A person’s word may not influence others but it does speak to oneself and could inadvertently lead one to believing in deceptions that harm oneself and even stumble others. I do agree with the young politician that every vote counts. So it is time to register your vote and turn out to vote with the care that it may mean a life and death matter to you and your loved ones, and the survival of your people and nation.
The Bible verses that I received today are from Jesus in Mark 13:33-37, “Be on your guard [constantly alert], and watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man [already] going on a journey; when he leaves home, he puts his servants in charge, each with his particular task, and he gives orders to the doorkeeper to be constantly alert and on the watch.
Therefore watch (give strict attention, be cautious and alert), for you do not know when the Master of the house is coming—in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning—
[Watch, I say] lest He come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep.
And what I say to you I say to everybody: Watch (give strict attention, be cautious, active, and alert)!
It’s common to wonder what causes someone to be a sociopath as we watch in disbelief as the sociopath lies, manipulates, harms, and feels no empathy for anyone. Trying to teach empathy and emotion to a sociopath is like trying to teach a cellphone to cook a pizza. If it sounds ridiculous to teach a phone to cook a pizza, it’s because it is. A phone isn’t wired to cook, and it’s not bothered by this fact. Likewise, a sociopath’s brain isn’t wired to feel empathy or other emotions, and like the phone, the sociopath isn’t bothered about it.
Quoted from an answer in Quora about dating a sociopath: She will lie about almost everything, and if you ever call her out on it, she will deny it vehemently…to the point where you start to question yourself and your own memory. She will create a LOT of drama. She will…