Beloved, believe not every spirit

truthTurn to your God, the God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, the Only Wise God our Savior who gave us the gift of His Son Jesus, to wash away the sins of humanity, and to give us hope and a clean slate. Whoever turns to mediums or spiritists to prostitute himself with them, God will also set his face against that person and cut him off from his people. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for He is the LORD your God. And you shall keep My statutes and practice them. I am the LORD who sanctifies you.(Lev 20:6)

I wash my children with the water of the Word, and cleanse them with the blood of my very own Son. Not all spirits are clean spirits, my children. Not all spirits are my Holy Spirit. There are lying spirits, and deceiving spirits, and even Satan himself appears as an angel of light. Don’t believe every spirit. Jesus said, “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. The Holy Spirit comes in Jesus’s name. He is our Comforter. He is our Healer, our Teacher, our Counsellor.

Is anyone thirsty? Come, with no money. Come and drink. Why spend money on that which is not bread, and your labor on that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of foods. All sorts of therapies, spending hours researching diets, and herbs, and spending years meditating, money on conferences, and reading every self-help book you can get your hands on. But one moment, one whisper, one breath, one touch of the Holy Spirit and you will be changed forever. FOREVER.

I remember early in my spiritual journey, I became very aware of a distaste toward all things Jesus. In the world, in my own life, in the past, in my family; the name of Jesus would make people uncomfortable. I felt disdain for anyone trying to tell me about Jesus, or share their faith. It was as if He were the scum of the earth. “Have you declared Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior? Have you been born again? Do you know Jesus? Are you saved?”

Eww. Why would you want to be one of those people. Even on the cross, He was weak, He was a victim, pathetic. I was confused and turned off by this Jesus. But after the Holy Spirit had baptized me, I was on fire. I was hungry and thirsty for this Jesus. I wanted to understand him, to know him, to be at his feet gazing into his eyes. I wanted to touch him, and see him and hear his voice. A friend said to me, “Jeez, we’re supposed to be a light. You’re like a blow torch!”

blowtorch

I read everything in the bible that was red letters. I rented all I could find of movies about him, I ran after him with my whole heart.  What made that happen? How did my desires change so instantly?  It was Holy Spirit. One touch by the Spirit of God, and I could not help myself. I could never go back. All the disdain for Jesus Christ turned to desire. Just like that. redletter

I read in the New Testament,  “ I cannot speak with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. But he has no power over me.” And “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  And it became clear to me that there was a simple explanation for why things are the way they are here in the world. And also why Jesus is rejected and hated. We are the victims of an agelong war, wrestling against spiritual wickedness in high places. And most don’t even know it.

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Be not deceived. There truly is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and the name Lucifer means “light bearer”.  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

 

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Patience

The night I was voted onto the planning board, the chairman took me aside and welcomed me.  He was a relaxed fellow with an easy armchair manner.
“It’s like watching paint dry,” he shared. I nodded.  A slow-moving venture; I liked the sound of that.

Yesterday, Michael held the car door open for me to get in,  and then scraped the near-April snow from the windows and mirrors and windshield.  He was wearing dress pants and cowboy boots and had agreed to come with me to church.  This is the man who I reached out to fourteen years ago with the gospel.  This is the man whose atheism challenged me to convert him. This is the man who I fell in love with, dashing all of my evangelical confidence.  This is the man who made me recoil and stop sharing the good news; for fear that I was not a trustworthy vessel.  And now this man is my dear husband, scraping snow off the car so we can go to church.

Has he been saved?  Not to my knowledge.  Yet twice in the last week I have witnessed him pulling out his phone and sharing scripture stories and trivia with those gathered around the table.  Those listening to his readings are perplexed, thrilled, or a little turned off.  His own father says with some sarcasm, “I think he’s going to fill in for the preacher up there,”  signaling toward the church uptown.

I beam with a smile I cannot hide.

I look back on the years this story has taken to unfold and wonder if it has even begun yet.  He gets in the driver seat and off we go.  My head spins a little thinking of the first conversation we ever had about God.  We arrive at the Catholic Church.  The standing and sitting and standing and sitting don’t deter him.  But the big surprise was the kneeling.  The man knelt down like the rest of us.

This is a little more interesting than watching paint dry.  Even if the pace is similar.