Regardless of the countless distractions, fears, and setbacks in life, if you are a fighter and ready for warfare, you are resilient and will tenaciously focus on the vision or goal that you have created for your life.
I highly recommend writing out your vision or dream and cementing it with a mission statement so that it becomes clear and compelling.
Next, you may want to review it occasionally and record the different lifestyle changes that have taken place and make necessary adjustments as unforeseen events inevitably might occur and reshape the basic logistics of your vision.
Reviewing and adjusting solidifies your original foundation and helps you to ascertain whether or not you are thriving within your environment.
Speaking of thriving and surviving- Did you know that fighter pilots in World War II had different methods and tactics of survival they developed in order to remain steadfast through every mission they had to fly?
In order to get through the numerous moments of being tired, stressed and on the verge of panic at the sight of each new enemy plane, the fighter pilots would leave behind or carry sentimental objects that reminded them of loved-ones or they would make promises to their loved ones that they knew they had to keep.
For example, a letter that remained unread or a promise of marriage to someone left behind.
The following movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption, which was directed by Angelina Jolie is a magnificently portrayed example of survival and the strength of the human spirit in spite of numerous obstacles.
Also, as the fighter pilots in World War II story unfolded, I learnt that not only did they leave something or someone behind to look forward to, they may also leave something to complete.
That way their minds could focus on that thought and arouse or stimulate the necessary motivation to face one more “dogfight”, or survive another loss of a dear friend on the battle field and get through one more mission.
Just like in the movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption, the story I read illustrated where the real battle begins and ends.
The fighter pilots knew that while in battle the temptation to give in to physical wariness and breakdown under various psychological traumas was extremely high.
The real war wasn’t on the battle field- the real war was in the mind.
See my previous article: The Fear of Oblivion- Are you Resilient? Lest we Forget: Remembrance Day
Even though we celebrate our veteran’s heroism, the ugly truth is many of them both locally and around the world have been exposed to numerous traumatic events.
Many Research Experts have agreed that most of the times, PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) develops shortly after exposure to the traumatic event. Sometimes, it may even be delayed months or even years later and may be triggered by something that is reminiscent of the original stressor. Wow!
However, please note that not everyone who is exposed to a terrible event goes on to develop PTSD. It really depends on the individual and the nature of the event.
Some people, particularly those with preexisting emotional or personality problems, are naturally more susceptible to being scarred by traumatic events.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder was born originally on the battlefield and was known by a number of names such as “shell Shock”, “combat fatigue”, or “war neurosis”.
However, according to Allen Frances M.D. and Michael B. First M.D., horrifying experiences are by no means restricted to only warfare.
Community surveys that were done uncovered the fact that the majority of us have been exposed at some point in our lives to an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury.
For example, car accidents, natural disasters, torture, concentration camps, rape, sexual or physical abuse and other crimes.
See the two following articles which illustrates behaviors and circumstances:
Smooth Criminal/Love the way you Lie: Traumatic Bonding
Fifty Shades of Play: Happy Valentine’s Day!
Dancing away the Depression: Discovering your unique Talents
Let’s also not forget other forms of psychological manipulations such as gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.
In order to gain more power, the person or entity makes the victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders.
It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.
A gas lighter will tell you that you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have such a long list of negative traits. They attack the very foundation of your being.
When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.
Occasionally, they may throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are!
This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality.
Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gas lighter.
Gas lighters know that confusion weakens people.
Gas lighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gas lighter.
They often project their opinions on their “prey”.
Many times, they are drug users or cheaters, yet they are constantly accusing you the victim of that very behavior. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gas lighter’s own behavior.
Unfortunately, they may even try to align people against you.
Gas lighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you.
They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right in your head or have a tendency to ‘go crazy’”.
Or “you’re always gazing off in space,” or “This person knows you’re useless too” or “This person does not trust you either” or “This person also does not believe you are capable of holding down a regular job consistently”.
Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gas lighter is a constant liar.
When the gas lighter uses this tactic, it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gas lighter.
And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.
Once again, they love telling you or others that you are crazy. This is one of the most effective tools of the gas lighter, because it’s dismissive.
The gas lighter knows that if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them that the gas lighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.
The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into a gas lighter’s trap.
Additionally, my bible tells me the following in Ephesians 6:12 (New International Version) NIV
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
According to Commonweal Magazine, The New Testament’s extensive language concerning malevolent spiritual forces is never humorous.
Apparently, the terminology varies and some texts speak of the Devil or Satan, while others speak of demons or unclean spirits which represent powers and principalities.
There are also such descriptions as the Ruler of the Power of the Air and the Dragon or Ancient Serpent.
Regardless of the description, when taken together, these terms point to a conviction, broadly shared by the writers of the New Testament, that a cosmic power, lesser than God but greater than humans alone, inhabited the world and worked against human good in a manner that was far from funny or creatively orchestrated like in the movies.
Satan hates ALL humans and he does not discriminate!
At the personal level, the bible says that Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, speaks of Satan as a constant threat, one lying outside the community yet capable of causing damage within.
More cosmically he envisions “powers and principalities” which, though conquered by the death and exaltation of Christ, remain capable of opposing believers, who must continue to do battle “against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Once again, as I mentioned from Ephesians 6:12).
Similarly, Peter pictures the Devil as a ravening beast out to destroy unwary believers, and counsels them to “be sober and watch, because your adversary the Devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
In the bible, Luke imagines Satan as the arrogant ruler of a kingdom counter to God’s own, capable of granting great power to those willing to worship him, and commanding a vast army of demonic spirits.
John declares that “the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.”
Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Ephesians Chapter 1, vs 3:13, New International Version (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.The Holy Bible
Finally, the Book of Revelation imagines the world caught in a cosmic battle between Christ and Satan, the great beast waging ceaseless war against the saints in unholy alliance with the corrupt power of an empire that buys and sells human lives and brands them with its mark.
The Thousand Years
20 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.
They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
The Judgment of Satan
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.
9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Now, many of the previous paragraphs and links illustrated negative behaviors and their affects, however, how many of you know that God’s correction is different.
With God’s correction-conviction is concerning the attitude or deed of the person and then there is a call for repentance.
Next, there should be an assurance of forgiveness and restoration to remind the individual of their value as God’s child.
7 Deadly Sins
People have always been known to be immoral, shiftless, and self-gratifying. For ages, humankind struggled to find a conceptual system to understand their spiritual shortcomings.
Wrath is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Anger.
Speaking of wrath; from a biblical perspective, the New Testament also has references regarding the Great Tribulation and the wrath of God.
The Wrath of God and the three angels (Revelation 14:6-13)
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth- to every nation, tribe, language and people.
7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgement has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
8 A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand,
10 they too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.
11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise.
Pride is also known as Vanity.
Babylon The Great, The Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the Earth
17 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”
3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 The name written on her forehead was a mystery:
BABYLON THE GREAT
THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.
When I saw her; I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns.
8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.
9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”
Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation.
Submit Yourselves to God (James 4:1-10 NIV)
4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
Like other bears, pandas spend most of the day eating and sleeping. Bamboo is the most important plant for giant pandas. They spend at least 12 hours each day eating bamboo. Because bamboo is so low in nutrients, pandas eat a lot of it daily.
Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
The final sin as mentioned above was sloth and is said to be the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
However, how many of you know that once you have been called, it is then critical that you share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?
According to Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, coauthors of Left Behind and Charting the End Times, it is difficult for non-Christians to understand that a God of love would allow the tribulation.
But I agree with them that God really wants to draw as many people as possible to Him before Jesus returns to set up His Millennial Kingdom, and He will use the Tribulation to get their attention.
They believe that in grace and love, He will give more supernatural signs and leadings of His Spirit than at any time in the history of the world, proving that he is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
In the book of Revelation, Chapter 3, the Bible says to the angel of the church in Sardis:
1 These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Then to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:
7 These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
9 I will make those who are the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars- I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Revelation 3:11)
Now in reverse, the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3)
3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3)
Mr. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice states that in Revelation, we find the seven years divided into two periods of 1260 days, or 42 months, or three-and-one-half years, or “time and times and half a time” (Revelation 11:2-3;12:6,7,14; 13:5).
Every one of those time spans totals up to seven years. The first half, or first 42 months, is the Tribulation, while the last half is called by our Lord “The Great Tribulation.”
The Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:1-24)
5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,
2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.
7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.
13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt
21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,
22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.