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"The War for Control of Your Thoughts"

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV) - "For though we live in this world, we do not wage war
as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On
the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish
arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

(Did you realize that there is a battle raging to control your thoughts? No one
can take control of your thoughts, unless you give them that control!)

1. The War

Even Peace Time Training Evokes Fear


"The War, The Whereabouts, The Weapons, The Winner"--It was my turn to do guard
duty, and in my two hour shift, these were the only words on my mind. "The War,
The Whereabouts, The Weapons, and The Winner." We were sent in on a special
operation to protect the small strategic airport from a terrorist attack. I knew
it was going to be a long night. My shift was from 11pm to 1am. I couldn't sleep
before my shift, my heart was racing continuously in fear of what the night held.
Now, as my eyes kept scanning and scrutinizing the dark silhouettes and shadows,
my cold clammy fingers clasped the cold weapon at my side. Standing alone in the
dark, anticipating, contemplating, investigating--my mind was racing constantly,
what was that, was that someone or was it not. After what seemed like an eternity,
my 2 hour shift was over, my fear wasn't. I crawled into my sleeping bag to try
and get some sleep, my rifle riveted to my side.

I kept listening for unusual sounds . . . then, moments later, I woke up to a


machine gun barrel against my head. I must have fallen asleep. Impossible. We had
kept guard so effectively. It was like a dream. "Get up and fall in line, hands
above your head!" A man in a camouflaged uniform shouted. "They actually got us,"
I thought, "How can that be? We had done everything they trained us to do!" So
here we were, the whole platoon, captured by terrorists. We walked single file,
hands above our heads, to the terrorist headquarters. "How did they do it?" I
whispered to the guy behind me. "Our graveyard guards were asleep," he replied. As
we arrived at the terrorist camp, the sun was just coming up. We filed into a
large room. There our Commanding Officer stood, ready to brief us with regard to
our Peacetime Training Maneuver. What a relief. It had only been a training
exercise for peacetime recruits, of which I was one. We did everything right, but
a few sleepy soldiers allowed the drill Sergeant and his corporals, the enemy in.

What About Real War?


As I walked in the line of captives, I thought what would have happened had it
been a real war? The enemy would have shot some soldiers, tortured others, and
kept everyone captive in the cruelest and most callous manner possible. Have you
ever been involved in a war, or close to where a war was being fought? I guess
Americans have had first hand feedback as to the fearsome affair--The Korean War,
the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, but probably the most chilling and challenging was
the Cold War. The Cold War was a term used to describe the deterioration of
relations between the two Super Powers, the United States and Russia, to the point
of war, but without the occurrence of actual warfare. Although no physical battle
was ever fought, the constant anticipation of the possible assault, was almost
worse. Two Super Powers, with opposing philosophies, opposing strategies, and
opposing religions, wrestling for supremacy. Both Super Powers hoarded arms and
ammunition, both Super Powers spent millions in researching and inventing new
counter measures to out whit the other, and both Super Powers were forced into a
state of perpetual preparation for war. (War is cruel, merciless, and aims to
destroy the enemy. It's enough to make the hearts of the bravest men fail with
fear.

War Between Good and Evil


There is a war going on between two Super Powers which is a lot worse than the
Cold War. It is the Age Old War between the Super Powers of the Universe. These
Super Powers are Stronger than Russia and the United States combined. These Super
Powers have supernatural abilities that mankind cannot compete with. What makes it
worse than the Cold War is that the threat cannot even be seen by most people.
Yes, it is an invisible war, of immense proportions, but hidden from the
undiscerning eye. The results of this War can be seen all around, but the
inhabitants of this earth have become so accustomed living with these, that the
presence of the War is not evident. But a War there is! Read the following texts
that speak of this war.

Revelation 12:7 - says, "And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels
fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was
not strong enough and they lost their place in heaven . . ." Verse 17 goes on to
say that, "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war
against the rest of her offspring--those who obey God's commandments and hold to
the testimony of Jesus."

Ephesians 6:12 - "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."

Where Do I Stand?
So where do I stand in the midst of this raging war between Good and Evil? Imagine
Russia with all its tanks, missiles, armed forces, and fighter planes ready at any
time to fight the United States with all its aircraft carriers, stealth bombers,
armed forces, tanks and advanced "star wars" technology . . . and here a small
tribe from Africa, armed with bows and arrows, sticks and flint knives, challenges
one of them to war.

Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? Well not really. In a sense this is what is
happening with you and I. We are caught between the Super Powers of Good and Evil,
Super Powers, as we said before, which are stronger than any Super Power on earth,
and we have the nerve to walk around unprotected and unaware of the War between
these Supernatural Super Powers. We try to overcome the Super Power of Evil in our
own strength. Let's take the time to carefully look at "The War, The Whereabouts,
The Weapons, and The Winner."

2. The Whereabouts

"The War, The Whereabouts, The Weapons, The Winner." Would you please take the
time to just journey with me through a concept that really changed my life. There
is no doubt that there is a War on between the two Supernatural Super Powers. It
can be witnessed in the lives of people. The crime, the cruelty and the crumbling
of the morals of families and individuals, show the presence of the Supernatural
Super Power of Evil. The caring, the concern, and the credibility that clings to
the characters of Christian families and individuals, shows the presence of the
Supernatural Super Power of Good. But how do these Powers work in and through the
lives of mankind? Where is the battlefield on which this mammoth mega-battle is
taking place? Our text 2 Corinthians 10:5 gives us the punch line. ". . . and we
take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Well, where are the
thoughts of man generated? Yes, thoughts are generated in our minds, so the
whereabouts of the war must be in our minds. (Our minds have the ability to
reason, scheme, think and create . . . this is where the forces of Good and Evil
battle for control. See picture below).

The War for Control of the Thoughts of Man


The struggle between the Supernatural Super Powers is to win control over the
minds of men. The thoughts and reasoning of man is what distinguishes him from the
animals. Animals function on instinct. Instinct is a code of actions that the
Creator preprogrammed into His creatures, and are executed without the choice of
the creature. For example: If you go up to any strange dog, and lunge at it as if
you are going to harm it, it is going to bark, and perhaps bite you. If you pick
up any kitty cat, and stroke it lovingly, it is going to purr.

Birds migrate for thousands of miles as the seasons change, on instinct. It is


absolutely remarkable, but, animals still don't have that special gift of how the
mind of man works. Man doesn't act on instinct. He can reason, weigh up the facts,
and make a choice. He then acts on the choices which come from his thoughts.
Jesus taught over and over that what goes on inside the mind of a person, is what
is really important. This is because the actions of a man is determined by what
goes on inside of his mind.

Matthew 5:21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not
murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that
anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment." Matthew 5:27 "You
have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone
who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his
heart." Matt 23:25-28 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you
hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of
greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and
dish, and then the outside will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and
Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on
the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything
unclean."

The Final Sealing Takes Place on the Forehead


If a Supernatural Super Power can control the thoughts of a man, that Power also
controls the actions of that man. In the final great struggle between Good and
Evil, why do those who receive the Seal of God, receive it on their foreheads? Why
do those who receive the mark of the beast, receive it on their foreheads? The
seal of God and the mark of the beast is on the foreheads of man, because the
forehead is the symbol of the mind, and the mind is what either of the Super
Powers wants control of. Note the content of the following texts referring to
this:

Seal of God - Revelation 7:2, 3


"Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living
God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to
harm the land and the sea: Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we
put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

(Yes, a mark on the forehead, in the Bible, is a symbol of control and commitment
to a specific power. In the case of humans, a symbol of commitment to a person).

Seal of God - Revelation 14:1


"Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with
him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. . .
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves
pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men
and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths;
they are blameless."

Mark of the Beast - Revelation 14:9, 10


"A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: 'If anyone worships the
beast and his image and receive his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too,
will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the
cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the
holy angels and of the Lamb.'"

The person receiving either the Seal of God or the mark of the beast is giving the
control of their minds over to either the Supernatural Super Power of Good, or the
Supernatural Super Power of Evil. It is that simple.

3. The Weapons

A War Worse Than the Cold War . . . Unseen !


"The War, The Whereabouts, The Weapons, The Winner." Although there was no actual
fighting in the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, it was as
stressful as war itself. There was a continual watching each other, and a
continual anticipation of some military move from the other side. (The Cold War
demanded both sides to constantly have a presence in areas where the other side
could have launched an attack from).

What if neither of the Super Powers could see each other? Wouldn't that be a lot
more scary? But what if they didn't know that the other even existed? Well, that
is the main weapon that Satan has to his advantage. Satan disguises himself so
that no one really believes that he exists. Also, most people, and even
Christians, think that it is God whom is permitting the suffering, the murder, the
crime, and the natural disasters to take place. It is the work of the Supernatural
Super Power of Evil. People think they are thinking their own thoughts, but
really, it is Satan that is flashing evil thoughts into their minds.

Here is a statement I found in a book called, More Incredible Answers to Prayer -


Roger J. Morneau p. 58. "A Satanist priest bragged to me how Satan had forced the
Creator to leave the devil's newly acquired domain. The man said that Satan
declared that such a demand was his legal right before the universe, and that the
devil had gotten his wish. "At that time," the priest said, "the master (Satan)
stated that he and his angels would make themselves invisible to human beings
also, thus leaving people free to live their lives as they wanted to. He
emphatically argued that the only fair way for supernatural forces to influence
human conduct should be by flashing thought images into individual minds." (Yes,
the worst weapon to have to fight against, is a weapon you can't see! Visible
weapons can be counteracted).

E.G. White, Great Controvercy, p.516-517


"None are in greater danger from the influence of evil spirits than those who,
notwithstanding the direct and ample testimony of the Scriptures, deny the
existence and agency of the devil and his angels. So long as we are ignorant of
their wiles, they have almost inconceivable advantage; many give heed to their
suggestions while they suppose themselves to be following the dictates of their
own wisdom. This is why, as we approach the close of time, when Satan is to work
with greatest power to deceive and destroy, he spreads everywhere the belief that
he does not exist. It is his policy to conceal himself and his manner of working .
. . And it is because Satan can most readily control the minds of those who are
unconscious of his influence, that the word of God gives us so many examples of
his malignant work, unveiling before us his secret forces, and thus placing us on
guard against his assaults."

(Satan wants people to just carry on with their lives, ignorant of the unseen
weapons which he cunningly uses to influence them to think his thoughts, and then
do his deeds).

Satan's Only Weapon Used in 4 Ways


This is Satan's only weapon against us, and what a powerful weapon it is. Not
seeing the enemy, and not being aware that he is even there. It takes sober
judgment, spiritual discernment, self control, and a surrender of any individual
attempts to stand up to the enemy--to win this war. Satan is at war with us, 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. Yes, he never rests, he never lessens the intensity of
his attack, and he never gives up. Satan uses his invisible weapon to achieve the
following in our lives:

(We think we are thinking our own thoughts, and that they are good and rational.
But really, they are thoughts that Satan has planted in our minds, and that mostly
lead to evil).

1. Destroys Personal Relationship with God by Error


Satan distorts the messages we get from studying the Scriptures and from the
spoken word. He misleads us to believe that we have the strength to overcome evil.
When we fall repeatedly as a result, he tells us that we have to first overcome
before we can come to God. This frustrates us, discourages us, and totally
overwhelms us.

2. Destroys Family and Marriage Relationships


Satan flashes thoughts into our minds that we are always right and everyone else,
especially those close to us, are responsible for our personal struggles. He
inspires us to be real easy on ourselves, and very hard on those close to us,
making us forget how selfish and stubborn we are.

3. Destroys Christian Relationships and Fellowship


Satan works on the minds of believers to make them critical of each other, and by
criticizing each other, making them think they are better than the other person.
When this critical nature of believers is combined with the error of being saved
by works, the love of God between believers is totally destroyed. When a person is
focussed on his or her deeds, they will also focus on the deeds of others and be
critical of them. Consequently, there is no forgiveness, and only division and
discord between believers.

4. Destroys Spiritual Discernment and the Ability to Meet With God


A person who is struggling to live a perfect life in their own strength, who has
inferior and crippled personal relationships with his or her family and marriage
partner, and who has unreconciled disputes with other believers, will not be able
to discern the deep spiritual truths in the Scriptures, or hear the still small
voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to him or her.

(Our minds determine what decisions we make and therefore what our actions will
be---either good or evil. If our thoughts are good our actions will be good. If
our thoughts are bad, our actions will be bad. Therefore we should build our lives
around letting God control our minds by His Spirit working through His Word).

Our Only Weapon that Works in 4 Ways


We know, from the Word of God that The Supernatural Super Power of Good is far
stronger than The Supernatural Super Power of Evil. Our greatest weapon against
the enemy is to ally ourselves with the Stronger force. Like that small African
tribe. Join the stronger of the two super forces. Our only weapon against these
invisible thought images which are flashed into our minds, is found in our text, 2
Corinthians 10:5". . . taking every thought captive and making it obedient to
Jesus Christ."

An Illustration of How to Take Every Thought Captive


A good illustration of the point is an experience I had when I came over from
South Africa this last time. I brought a whole lot of samples of health products
with me. Among these products were samples of soya milk . . . white in color, and
I it was contained in clear plastic sachets. It looked a lot like drugs. Well,
needless to say, I was stopped by the customs official, and my little packs were
"analyzed" at this check point. Yes, everything that looks suspicious, is opened
and examined before it comes into the United States. Wow, we can relax and feel so
safe because of this. This made me think, well, why don't we have this kind of
check point at the entrance to our minds?

The Bible says that we must. In our text, and in other parts of Scripture, we are
warned to guard and protect what comes into our minds. So let's set up an
imaginary check point at the entrance to our minds, and put the Holy Spirit,
dressed in a black police uniform, armed with his shiny badge and baton, at the
check point.
Every thought that comes into our minds must pass through that long tunnel-like x-
ray machine, like those situated at the airports, and if there is any suspicious
thought present, we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to take it captive, in cuffs and
chains, and make it obedient to Christ. Yes, our only defense against Satan's
attack of flashing invisible thoughts into our minds takes place in 4 ways:

1. Forgiveness From God to Us and Us to All Others


Without forgiveness from God to us, and us forgiving all other people who have
hurt us, we cannot understand the deeper spiritual aspects of God's Word and His
truth. We can't allow even the smallest dispute to stay between us and the people
close to us, or the people in the church. Our minds need to be relieved of the
pressure that comes from resentments, bitterness, and anger.

2. Constant Prayer in All Things


Prayer is the link between us, who are so weak, and God who is so strong. Prayer
keeps God on our side, and binds us to Him with cords that no evil force can
sever.

3. Holy Spirit's Protection, Screening and Censorship


God promises the Holy Spirit to be with us, and in us, to protect us from the
unseen attack of the evil forces. The Holy Spirit will guard us and protect us
constantly if we ask Him to.

2 Timothy 1:12, 14
"I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I
have entrusted to him for that day . . . Guard the good deposit that was entrusted
to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us."
(Before we start our day, we need to spend time alone with God, allowing the Holy
Spirit to work through God's Word to insulate our minds from the evil thoughts
that Satan wants to flash into our minds).

4. Daily Time in Clearly Understanding the Word


As the Holy Spirit lives in us, He imprints the Word of God on our minds and makes
us think and act in accordance with God's Word. The Holy Spirit, is the "Spirit of
Truth" who works in tandem with God's Word to bring us closer to having the mind
of Christ.

4. The Winner

"The War, The Whereabouts, The Weapons, The Winner." The only way we can lose is
when we aren't allied with the Stronger Super Power. The only way we can lose is
if we don't realize that there is a war, if we don't realize its whereabouts, if
we don't realize what the weapons are that we can use, and if we don't realize the
importance of daily allying ourselves with the Stronger Super Power.

E.G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 324


"It is not necessary for us to deliberately chose the service of the kingdom of
darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally
ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not cooperate with the heavenly
agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his dwelling
place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart
through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God,
we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and
temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part
company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender
of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal
acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the
enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end."

We Die, He Lives and He Fights


Imagine trying to beat up the school bully all by yourself. He is the strongest in
the school, and no one you know in school can beat him. But, imagine that Mike
Tyson stands behind you, takes your fists in his hands, and fights for you. He
will direct your fists exactly to where it is going to put the school bully out of
action . . . before he even knows what hits him. If we are too afraid to fight
against Satan, the cowardly bully of the ages, before we put our hand on the front
or backdoor handle to leave for the day, we have to first ally ourselves with the
Super Power of Good.

If we ally ourselves with the Stronger Supernatural Super Power of Good, we will
win. Not only do we become part of the Stronger Super Power of Good and of Light,
but the Leader of the Super Power actually lives inside of us and fights for us.
"Greater is He that is IN YOU, than he that is IN THE WORLD." 1 John 4:4

(When I ally myself with God on a daily basis, He stands in and fights for me.
When He gets the chance to fight, He always wins).

So, I build my life around having time, before my day starts to ally myself with
the Stronger Supernatural Super Power of Good. I fall on my knees, and pray for
forgiveness for any independent efforts to change my life, or to work out my own
plans. I spend time in thanks for what God has done in my life, I spend time
praying for everyone who has come into contact with me over the years, and I then
pray for the things for myself, that I know will bring me closer to God. I then
spend time, in a meditative mind-set, in studying God's Word and gleaning the
crucial truths that would inspire a greater commitment to God, and draw me away
from anything in my life that could hinder oneness with God. As I ally myself with
God in this way, He promises to dwell in me for that day, He fights away any
thoughts that come from Satan or from within my sinful mind. I have the mind of
Christ as I surrender my thoughts to His control, moment by moment. Yes, through
allying myself with General Jesus in this way, I have His strength, I have His
power, and I have His mind. Praise God. I win the war through Christ Jesus.

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