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]..."
I am so thankful for you spending your time and sharing your thoughts. I am also a "misfit" and it's nice to know other "misfits" to share with.ReplyDelete
When you think about it, the Bible is full of "misfits" that God used to reveal His character, His Power, His plans, and His condemnation and praise. As long as He uses me for His glory, I can comfortably wear that label.Delete
Im willing to call myself a theological misfit also! Thanks for being there!ReplyDelete
Belle, Im finding that it is becoming more and more clear I have no "place" in my church. I am discouraged from seeking answers beyond the "base or pat " answers that the leadership has determined is the ''right" answer. This is so frustrating. I find that church for me has to be in a blog like yours or in an online forum where people like me are gathering in droves to find some semblance of the truth. What does this say about the condition of the church? I feel guilty about rejecting the church but what if there is nothing there to minister to me? Could you do a blog or direct me and your readership on books, source texts and places you frequent for a higher level of understanding regarding these concepts. I don't want to create more work for you but I really am wanting to find the "truth". Thanks for all you do!ReplyDelete
Your comment has touched my heart and is so relevant. Stay tuned to tomorrow's post... I'm going to address your concerns and give you something to hang on to!Delete
" Church " has disappointed me in the past. However, some of it was my own doing - trying to establish my importance rather then letting the Spirit direct my ways. Since then I have been listening to two sources that speak to me directly and have established a discernment re: Scriptures that can only come from serious study and making my " eyes see and ears hear " in a new way. That being Les Feldick and Andrew Womack from OK and CO respectfully.ReplyDelete
I am very familiar with Les Feldick and like his teaching immensely. I have heard good things about Andrew Womack and will now make an effort to check him out. And, yes, it is vital that we listen to the Spirit and seek His guidance, rather than seek to glorify ourselves. When you submit to the Holy Spirit, you no longer worry about what others think of you, but only hunger for more intimacy with Jesus. It is humbling and exhilarating!Delete
I have been plagued by depression and fear at various times throughout my life, I wish the Lord would take it away for good, but HE does not, and I do not know why. On two occasions it was oppression from the darkness. I know this because I was prayed for once watching the 700 club and Pat had a word 'the darkness is lifting' I felt something leave me. I was raised in a physically abusive home, and I think that has something to do with it. I wish he would take it from me especially fear, but He allows it to plague me upon occasion, perhaps to drive me to my knees, I don't know. Pray for meReplyDelete
I can't stress it enough ... Jesus DOES NOT cause you despair and pain to bring you to your knees. That doesn't glorify Him in any sense of the word! As He said over and over, "I came to set the captives free!" That is you! You are held captive and in bondage to the spiritual wounds perpetuated against you as a child. If at all possible, please order the book "Two Hours to Freedom" by Dr. Charles Kraft. It will explain exactly how the devil is oppressing you and offer you a guide for coming out of the darkness. And then, if you would like, I invite you to email me at email@example.com, and I will be happy to give you more of my insight. Please do not think that you are to "suffer" this oppression to bring you closer to Jesus! Once you let Jesus and the Holy Spirit minister to your spirit, you will be stronger and able to resist the devil. And I will definitely be praying for you!Delete
Anonymous- I too struggled with fear and depression. I wanted Him to take it away and I thought killing myself was the way for that to happen. He prevented that. Through the works of Dr. Charles Kraft and others I began to understand that Jesus was never "allowing" those terrible things to happen to me. He was probably more upset than I was when they happened, but because God gave us all free will He couldn't prevent me from getting abused and raped. Once I understood the concept of free will it was much easier to understand why things happen. I will pray for you, but do as Belle suggests. Believe me I know it's hard, but being free from all that crap you've been carrying all these years will be very worth it. Work on forgiveness towards those that wronged you, even if they haven't asked for it, that goes a long way in letting go of the pain.Delete
Anonymous #2 ... Wow! Well said! The words about your experience will go very far towards encouraging Anonymous #1 to take the next step. You have stated God's Truth in plain English that we can all understand ... Jesus doesn't "allow" others to harm us. By their own free will, they choose to listen to the devil's deceptive whispers and bring harm upon another. But what you will realize through spiritual healing is that Jesus was right there with you, absorbing the abuse and sharing it alongside you. And now He wants you to hand over that pain to Him and let Him heal the wound, turning it into a scar ... a reminder of the event, but one which no longer can cause pain. Those old spiritual wounds will then no longer be tools the devil can use to harass and oppress you. You will be set free from the bondage that the Enemy has kept you in. And you pointed out the #1 prerequisite for freedom... forgiveness. I continue to pray for all the Anonymous's out there who need this knowledge. I pray that they will come to Jesus and accept His offer of deep healing and set their spirits free!Delete
ANON 2, What a great testimony. God is using you in a great way! Cool!- Anon #3ReplyDelete