It slipped right past me. I'm not much for celebrating milestones, and Lord knows, I don't need or seek accolades for myself. But today I have occasion to be greatly humbled. Since I began this blog nearly five years ago, over 1 million people have taken the time to consider what I have to say. That totally blows me away! Considering that I am not at the same place that I started -- in my thoughts, my goals, or my faith -- I find it astounding that so many have taken this journey with me.
Perhaps you began where I did. In December of 2011, I was three years into realizing that profound changes were coming upon my country. At the same time that my conscience was telling me that our society and culture and national experience were deteriorating, my spirit was telling me that I would not find the answers or solutions I needed in this world. I was hearing "PREPARE" in the recesses of my mind and my soul, and after seeking the Lord on the matter, my spirit validated the message. So I began a two-fold approach to dealing with whatever was coming our way. I joined the ranks of people known as "preppers", and learned new sustainable skills and tried to become as independent of the "system" as I could. But I had a second component; one that ultimately taught me the true path I needed to be on. I added the Bible as the primary element of my readiness plan, and soon realized that I needed to prepare for more than what this world was going to throw at me. Yes, there were enemies, foreign and domestic, that I needed to be aware of; but there were spiritual enemies, as well -- and these adversaries would, in the end, influence everything and everyone I might need to face in the future. But I also learned that I could face this uncertain and frightening future because there was a greater purpose to my life than my personal safety and security.
I was to speak out loudly and forcibly about what my Lord wished to do with those who believed in Him. There is work to be done in preparation for His return, and it involves each and every one of us getting ourselves in fighting shape for the battle to come. That doesn't mean that we abandon His message of love and tolerance and salvation and caring for others. That message has been well covered by the Church. But it is absolutely necessary that we go beyond those themes and minister to the spiritual needs of His people; ready them for the troubles and sorrows and suffering that He warned would come before His return. That assignment has woefully been ignored by the Church.
So, now I find myself not only reflecting on where I started, but where I need to go! So I want to give a quick synopsis of my understanding of this world and begin to develop the next phase of this journey upon which God is taking me (us). I feel it's time to stop and get our ducks in a row; revive the mission of all Believers and restore the apostolic characteristics of our commission. So, here's the way I see it...
From the beginning of the Bible, it is established that spirits play an important part in this world. God is Spirit, and we are made in His image. In fact, we are embodied spirits; spirit beings housed in human bodies. There are disembodied spirits called demons, who are Satan's agents and representatives on earth. They are spirits seeking human bodies to use to control the world, spread sin and establish the Kingdom of Darkness. They use human bodies to perform the work assigned to them, and to carry out Satan's instructions. Their sole purpose is to carry out Satan's will, which puts them in total opposition to the Believers in Christ. They follow Satan's instructions by trying to destroy mankind through every imaginable natural or supernatural device. All violence, anger, hate, horror, war, death, and destructive influences against man can be attributed to demonic influence, and it all comes from Satan.
At this point, I need to reiterate something I believe very strongly ... Christians cannot be possessed by a demon, but they can be oppressed. When a person receives Christ as their Savior, the human spirit is regenerated and the Holy Spirit lives there, so nothing else can take possession of our spirit. Christians can, however, have demons that attack their minds, their emotions, their free will, and their bodies -- that is called demonic oppression. So, how does that work, exactly?
It is my opinion that just because a person experiences salvation (which I also believe is the starting point of our journey towards eternal life), it doesn't mean that he is no longer without sin. There is only one man who has walked the earth that was without sin. But, as our Master has told us, we can confess our sin, repent of it, and ask forgiveness, and we greatly reduce the effects of innate sin upon our lives. But here's the thing ... sin is what Satan thrives on! And our particular sins -- or those perpetrated against us! -- are what makes us vulnerable to the assignments the devil gives his demons when they attack us.
I want to make it clear that not all our sin is demon-driven. Our free will can open us up to the temptations that satan offers. Pride, Self-interest and Unbelief are just a few of the sins with which he can manipulate us. But once he knows we are vulnerable in that area, he can assign a spirit to us and keep us in perpetual conflict between our faith and our sin. Discernment is required to determine the root cause of all our sin. Is it our own free will, demonic, the result of someone else's sin carried out against us ... or a combination?
Deliverance Ministry can help you determine the root cause and allow a Christian to connect his spirit with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in order for the cleansing and healing to be accomplished. BUT, I want to stress that sin must be confessed and repented of, and forgiveness is essential! Yes, Jesus wants to set you free, but He wants us to approach Him with an honest, truthful, and sincere spirit. It is essential that we take responsibility for our sins, and forgive others, as we desire to be forgiven.
This is not what Jesus died for! He sacrificed Himself so that we would not die in our sin(s). Yet, far too many Christians live under the oppressions I listed above. No wonder the secular world has no interest in our message! They don't see us authentically living what we preach! They aren't being drawn to us, even though the Bible says when we walk with God, "through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere". The sad truth is that the Church offers neither fragrance nor fascination to the world. In fact, our aroma is either non-existence or unpleasant.
So Who is the fragrance that spreads through us and the Church? Who dwells in us, seals us, works truth in us, testifies about Jesus, and helps us to produce "fruit"? It is the Holy Spirit, and I oftentimes wonder if He hasn't left the Church building. Have we traded the Holy Ghost for theology; exchanged His power for powerless academic teaching; reduced His Authority in favor of attracting "the world" with more tolerant standards?
As I am studying the Book of Acts and the New Testament Church, I am seeing the presence and the influence of the Holy Spirit everywhere! I see Him supernaturally changing the hearts of the Twelve Apostles and 3,000 new believers. I see Him supernaturally effecting the preaching of Peter and Stephen. I see Him influencing Philip, the Evangelist, and the hearts of Simon, the Sorcerer, and the Ethiopian eunuch... and all in the first eight chapters! Ultimately, I see the POWER and AUTHORITY of Him on display for all to see ... and nowhere more powerfully than in the life of Paul! He is evident in all His Might for the Church to witness.
But in today's Church, we talk about Him, then leave little or no time for Him to perform His Mighty Miracles in our services because of fear, confusion and the threat of doctrines of demons. We are afraid of Holy Spirit manifestations like those that happened in the First Century Church, because when you invite the Holy Spirit to be present, there will be inevitable opposition from the Prince of this world, and the simple truth is that the Church does not know how to be Holy Spirit warriors. When we become "seeker friendly" congregations, and life-coaches and counsellors, instead of spiritual, armor-clad soldiers for Christ, we are left with scared and confused Christians who are ineffective against Satan's army.
But here is why we should not be fearful of engaging in spiritual warfare ... the spirits or demons that Satan assigns to us fear the Holy Spirit more than anyone else in the universe! Why? Because He has as His weapons the Blood of Jesus, the Name of Jesus, the Cross of Christ, and the Word of God! And because He indwells us, we, too, have access to those spiritual weapons!
I also am trusting in the Holy Spirit to infuse Christians with their purpose; to be genuine examples of the power and authority of Jesus, as given to us by our Father; and to realize that we have been commissioned by God. We each have been given a definite task and specific assignments to advance the Kingdom of God. What are yours? Preaching the Gospel Message is part of our commission, but we are also Ambassadors for Christ, and we are not powerless servants. We are to exhibit the power in our relationship with Jesus ... the same power that raised Him from the dead and commanded a legion of demons to come out of a man.
We will need His power in the future. And it is ours for the asking. The question is, when the real pressure from this world comes to bear, will we stand firm and steadfast? Are we prepared, both in our human form, and in our spirit, to declare ourselves competent for the task at hand? We can be ... if we recognize that our power comes from God; that He is sufficient to go before us in battle, and we can be confident that our victory will come through Christ!
Yes, it's okay to reflect where we've been in our Christian walk. But it is imperative that we revive and restore our faith to become authentic Christians; reveling in the power of the Holy Spirit to embolden the Church so that it has the impact it was meant to have upon a sinful world. It's not too late ... but time is running out. I don't know how much further we have to go in our journey, but I am determined to serve the Kingdom in His Power and Truth. Join me!
1 Corinthians 2:4 "And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom [using clever rhetoric], but [they were delivered] in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit [operating through me] and of [His] power [stirring the minds of the listeners and persuading them]..."