If I had the gift of spiritual discernment back then, I believe that many of these tragedies could have been avoided. If you take nothing else from this post, I encourage you to seek God above all else. I believe that He will help those who call upon Him. The Bible says that there will be many false teachings and false prophets in the world. They will be disguised as wolves in sheep clothing. They can sometimes perform miracles and can fool even the elect. The truth is that the enemy knows every weakness that we have. He will try his best to deceive us or harm us in any way that he can. He will try to destroy us if at all possible.
I am going to share some personal stories in hopes that you will understand what I am talking about.
When I was a teenager I went to a retreat at a church from a different denomination. I'm not going to name demoninational names in this post because they are irrelevant. I believe that wherever there are falliable humans, the enemy has an opportunity to work.
Anyway, I was at a retreat and a man comes up to me and begins to tell me that God told him that I am going to meet a man. He tells me that the man will have dark hair and that when I meet him, I won't need to wear my "mask" anymore. I can take off my "mask"..
Well, as teenager wanting to find Mr. Right ..anxious and eagar..I was all ears. I wanted to find this man.
A few years later, I was living in Baton Rouge, La. I was attending school there. I went through a time of lonliness and depression. I met a man during this time of depression. We became friends and I slowly began to trust him. He fixed me dinner and was kind to me. One night we were sitting on his couch and he began to talk about "the mask"..He talked about the "masks" we wore and he told me that I could take off my "mask"..almost in the exact same words as the man "prophesied" to me at the retreat. Then the man I met and was slowly falling in love with...began to talk about the love of God and things like that. In retrospect, the entire experience was almost like a strange dream.
I thought it was a "sign" that I was meant to be with him. I ignored my gut feelings because I saw a "sign from God." God tells us to seek His will above all else. Seek Him...He tells us in His word not to look for signs. In Mark, Chapter 8..Jesus was dismayed with the Pharisees for their seeking of a "sign."
"And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.
12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation...."
Jesus also tells us in Deuteronomy 6:16 to not look for signs....
Don't get me wrong, God has shown me many things that I have felt in my spirit..I knew they were from Him..but beware of signs, especially when they go against the Bible and against your gut.
The truth is that my experience with this man nearly ruined my life. I gave into sin with him, so I was a part of the problem...I have since forgiven him and pray for him a lot, but I know that what I experienced while in this relationship was not from God. It was a trap that I fell into..all because of a "sign."
Strange experience number two..This one nearly killed me.
I was at a church service one Sunday. A pastor, who I love and trust, began to speak of something that he felt was going to happen. He said that he had a bad feeling about something and that someone needed to turn their life around or someone could possibly die. Of course, fear gripped my heart. I felt as if he were talking to me. I went home that day and cried my eyes out. I worried for my children and the people in my life. I talked long and hard to God. I knew that things would have to change in my life in order for me to truly follow Christ..so I began to make those hard hard changes. I spoke to my boyfriend, who I loved very much, and told him that I needed to make some changes. I told him that I no longer wanted to live the way I was living. During the course of the next few weeks, my boyfriend became paranoid and believed that someone was going to kill him. Some men had done something to him at his job. Two weeks later, he was gone. He died when he rammed his car into a bridge.
I went through a time of immense anger at God and church. I associated the two. I thought that if I sought God, I would have to go to church...and I was afraid to go to church because of my experience. I was afraid of who might die. The truth is that God had nothing to do with this situation. God was there with me, even during my time of immense suffering and suicidal state that followed. This was all a trick from the enemy to destroy my life. It almost worked. The course of the next few years, proved to be a living hell. But one day, I finally came to seek God..and He answered. He showed me more grace and love than any that I had ever known. He wasn't the one who had spoken those words at church. He wasn't the one who had driven the fear into my heart. He wasn't the one responsible for the death of my loved one. But somehow, I could see how He wanted to heal it all and bring me to level of understanding. And He is doing that to this very day.
If I had discernment, I could've avoided so much fear and pain. I could have recognized things for what they really were, a work of the devil, instead of getting angry at God.
The truth is that God longs to heal us. He longs to lead us to water to drink. "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord..Plans to give you hope and future. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you."
The enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.
The truth is that I believe that where there are humans, the enemy has a way to infiltrate. Not everything you hear or percieve to be true is in fact true. THe Bible tells us to test the spirits.
"Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. - 1 John 4:1
Please note that I'm not calling the pastor who said these things a false prophet. I'm not saying that at all, only that discernment was needed in this situation..
Strange experience number three:
I've written a lot over the course of the past few years how the demonic has tried to destroy my life. I have seen that they are very real, just as the Bible says they are. I've gone through a lot of strange things and have dealt with the demonic in various ways. In the past, I said a prayer that God would send someone to help me with this issue.
I was sitting at a church service a few weeks ago and a guest speaker came to speak. He had served time as a missionary in Haiti. As I was listening to the man speak, I thought..hmmm. this man sounds like the real thing. He's not begging for money. He's not telling me that God wants me to be rich. He's talking about helping people in Haiti..He then begins to talk about people he has encountered in the area who are dealing with the demonic. He explains how God uses him to help them. My first reaction was.."this is an answer to prayer..Thank you, Jesus!" But, truthfully, God has been and still is helping me in this area.
So, the man asked if there was anyone in the service who needed help in this area. I went up to the front. The man put his hands on my head and started talking about negative thoughts. He said something about negative thoughts coming against me....but truthfully, there hadn't been any negative thoughts...
Then another man gets up to pray for me.. I think it was the missionaries friend..., He asks me if there is any area where I need healing... I told him that I had a mild thyroid issue. He puts his hand on my stomach and as he is praying for me, he keeps asking me..."Do you feel that? Do you feel that? Do you know what that is? What he was trying to ask me was if I felt God healing me.. Well, I believe that God is still the same. God still heals..but , as he was asking me this, I didn't feel anything... I became slightly confused...ummm, maybe I feel something? He asked, "Do you know what is," Confused, I said in a voice that was more of a question, "God?" He said, yes... He told me that I was going to start losing weight because God was healing my thyroid.
The men began praying for more people in the church and declaring healings where I could see that none were taking place.
Truthfully, I have come to a place in my Christian walk where I can recognize God. In Him, there is clarity, truth, peace, and understanding...The encounter with these men left me confused. God is not the author of confusion..
Over the course of the next few days, negative thoughts and confusion came against me in such a way that I literally did not want to get out of bed. My stomach was twisted in such knots that I wasn't hungry and didn't want to eat. Subsequently, I started losing weight.
The truth is that I believe in miracles. I have seen the power of God in many ways, but I knew when they were praying for me..that they were declaring miracles where not had taken place. I'm not calling these men false men of God..truthfully, the entire experience was a source of confusion for me...But I do believe that if God is healing someone, it will be an undeniable experience, unlike any other. It will something wonderful and unmistakeable...Because that is who God is...IF God arrives to heal, there will be no questions about it....but am I wrong? IF so, please tell me...The truth is that this entire night confused me ..
After this experience, in my confused state, I felt led to do a lot of praying and fasting. I asked for the gift of discernment...If you aren't familiar with discernment, it is a gift from God that helps Christians test the spirits around them. Discernment brings clarity whereas the enemy brings fear and confusion.
Throughout the course of the next week or so, God truly began to work on my behalf.. I began to see many things in a new light and began to question why we do certain things in our churches today. Most people are willing to accept practices that they have been comfortable with for years, but how much of what we have learned and have been taught is truly of God?
The truth is that for every sincere Christian, there are dozens of people with no real desire to truly serve Christ. We all talk about Heaven but forget what the scriptures say about the narrow gate and working hard to get in..We forget that the walk is likened to a race in which we much have endurance.
We ignore the parts about false teachings and accept anyone and everyone into our churches just because they say they are of God. But the Bible clearly tells us that there are those out there who sole mission is to hurt the body of believers. They are described as "wolves in sheeps clothing"
This is a hard post to write. When God called me to write, I thought I was going to write simple and easy little feel good stories. I had no idea that I would have to write things that may or may not offend people or cause people to look at me strange in the supermarkets.
The truth is that, as Christians, many of us are lacking discerment. One of the things that has always moved me are the disciple stories. The stories where you see real men and women going out into the world and doing the work that God has called them to do. Notice the word "work" God has a "work" for us... a work.
He tells us in His word that if we are simply hearers of the word and not doers...then we will miss His kingdom. So what are we doing?
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. "
Some days I can completly see why people stay out of churches. It has begun to look like a business where Christ is pandered for money. "send us your money....yes, we all live in 2 million dollar houses, but if you send us your money, we will send a small bit to help someone or other, and if you send it, God is gonna send you a huge sum of cash... Oh wait, you didn't get your cash..Send more! You didn't have enough "faith" the first time.
I've actually heard of people exploited like this that have become so glum and depressed and truly lost faith in Christ because of the greedy use of Christ as a business deal.
It's no wonder why many people don't want anything to do with Christ at all. We put on huge music productions, eat a bunch of cake and pies, sit in our pews, , get our fill, and then forget what we learned during the week. Meanwhile, there are real people out in the world dying and needing to see the true Jesus.
The other day I was thinking about the cakes and pies that we eat... I started to feel bad for writing about our cakes and pies...Truthfully, Jesus loves fellowship. He loves us coming together in His name. He loves our laughter. He loves our smiles. He loves children with full bellies...Jesus loves our cakes and pies... But I can't help but wonder if our cake and pie mentality is keeping us from what God is really calling us toward? The Jesus of Humility.
People need to see the true Jesus. The Jesus who gave and had true power in His hands...not the kind that people tried to fake. The Jesus who gave His very own life so that others might live.
Well, once again... I could go on and on for days...but this post explains why my posts for the past few days have been different. I'm seeing things with different eyes and I truly recognize the need for change..
Be the change that you long to see in the world..... Only Christ can help you to achieve that.. "All things are possible through Christ Jesus."
anyway, these are my thoughts ...
What are yours?