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!”

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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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A Valentine for Jesus

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Since becoming a believer, there have been many occasions that I’ve heard it is not right to go by feelings, or trust your feelings, or your emotions in regards to God and his word. The whole realm of feelings are discounted as unreliable. The key, they say, is God’s word. And since we humans have a mind, will, and emotions, these are no match for Spirit and Word.

I have plenty of experience with emotions, as do we all. However, with a diagnosis of Manic Depression, I may have even more experience with the intensity and unpredictability of emotions and mood. From being super energized and creative and upbeat to the point of madness, to being down in the dumps, weepy, and full of despair and battling suicidal thoughts. I’ve had them all.

But I also have God, and Spirit. And here’s the rub: This business about not relying on emotions with our walk with God is total bunk. It is even gross. If Jesus Christ came to give us forgiveness and access to the Father, and to reveal his love for us that we can have fellowship with him, what on earth would that even look like without engaging our deepest emotions? We are created to love and worship and adore the Creator. We write him love songs, we raise our hands in abandonment and worship, we sing with all of our heart, and we even shout unto God with a voice of triumph! We love him because he first loved us. And he demonstrated his love for us, in that while we were still in our sins, Christ died for us. To find ourselves in his arms after the world has beaten us and tossed us to and fro like a ship out to sea in a great storm, it is only right that we collapse in brokenness and sob our eyes out.  Jesus even said it would happen: whoever falls on this stone will be broken in pieces. (Shattered, crushed, a complete mess!)

And when we receive the Holy Spirit and begin babbling in a heavenly language, caught up in ecstatic praises with rapturous joy, would this be forbidden too? Paul himself claimed to speak in tongues more than anyone, and directed others to “forbid NOT speaking in tongues.”

If your heart and emotions are not in your bible reading, your prayer, your living walk with your living God, you may not have actually met him at all. It is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness, not the mind. You do not educate yourself into a knowledge of God, any more than you can know your mate by reading about him.

So give yourself to your Savior with complete abandonment, with your whole heart, soul, mind, and emotions, and discover what a Lover we truly worship!

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The Dark Before the Dawn

The day Robin Williams died I found myself out of sorts. I went for a drive. I sat in my truck by the lake and watched a kingfisher in the rain. I cried. I felt the heaviness of defeat hovering over me like the gray sky above. Not for myself, but a painful sadness for the desperate cries of those who end up taking their lives. The Catholics say that to despair is to sin. It is the ultimate in unbelief. I was suffering the pains of life in this world, with its failures and cynicism. I kept crying, and crying. At one point I was on my stairs, back in my home, when I finally surrendered to deep sobs and crying out to my Lord, “It hurts. Oh Lord it just hurts here so bad. So much suffering!” And then he was next to me; sitting bloody and torn with wounds all over and nodding in understanding. “Yes. Yes it does.” He was smiling, His tone lighthearted. He knew all my pain. And more. So much more. I felt a certain affinity toward Him; a connection.

As I write this I remember encouraging a pregnant woman who was only a few minutes from pushing. Her labor was at its most intense, and almost over at the same time. And she was looking at me with fear and in pain. She was so desperate. And I was smiling at her. Not because I had no compassion. On the contrary, I knew all about giving birth without the help of drugs or epidurals. And I knew it was well worth the effort. And so, she could look at me, and see my faith in her. My demeanor said this was a wonderful thing, not a bad thing. And she composed herself, got down to the business of pushing, and delivered her little girl.

“Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” John 16:21-22

Faith Wars

I’ve been praying fervently for a friend.  Health issues can be the best and the worst kinds of prayers.  On the one hand, if a mate gets better, you can thank God, and go on your merry way.  If they get worse, or die however, it makes you wonder about praying for the sick at all! 

 I have a vision in my mind of a praying tyrant who comes to the home of the sickly one and paces the floors. He wears a dark hat and long coat and maybe even steps out for a cigarette every now and then. He sits quietly in the corner and reads, he paces some more, and prays like a pit bull.  He has no intention of leaving until that bloody evil thing gets off the person and runs for cover, leaving the victim sitting upright and smiling and asking for something to eat.  Yes, this is the manner of person I want at my bedside if I am prematurely stricken.  But this is a rare one indeed.  Most who are evoked to pray simply are agreeing to worry, and look very sincerely upward, perhaps even with tear filled eyes, saying, “Do you hear me, God?” 

Most simply don’t believe God operates that way. But Jesus said all you need is a mustard seed of faith.  I’ve been giving some thought to this little seed, and doing a bit of research. 

From Wikipedia regarding the parable of the mustard seed:  There is a “subversive and scandalous” element to this parable, in that the fast-growing nature of the mustard plant makes it a “malignant weed” with “dangerous takeover properties”. Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History (published around AD 78) writes, “Mustard… is extremely beneficial for the health. It grows entirely wild, though it is improved by being transplanted: but on the other hand when it has once been sown it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once.”

So it is with faith! Once it has been sown, it can take over like a weed! And grow so fast it kills the plants around it!  Well, stay tuned to see how it all plays out. 

I have been inspired to add to this these thoughts.  Ask and it shall be given to you, Seek and you shall find, Knock and it shall be opened unto you.  These scriptures in the Greek mean KEEP ON ASKING,  and KEEP ON SEEKING, and KEEP ON KNOCKING.  With persistence, and with expectation.  Have you ever been searching for a kitchen utensil that is missing?  You frantically dig through drawers, and look through cabinets, and every place it could be. You search with a determination because you just KNOW it’s GOT to be there! You aren’t thinking you will never find it, you are SURE you WILL find it, and you are sure it IS there!  So it is with faith.  We KNOW God is merciful, we KNOW HE is good, we KNOW he is full of compassion.  And so when we pray and look for healing, it is with a certainty that it exists, that it is there, and is right.  Love hopes all things, BELIEVES all things.  Love NEVER fails.