Archive | April 2015

My Son

The phrase;  “A day that will live in infamy”, spoken by President Roosevelt about the day Japan attacked America, has been running through my mind.  I wondered why Holy Spirit would use these words to describe what happened yesterday.  But, before I explain, let me bring you up to speed about the day.

It began much as it usually does with time in the Word.  I also use a couple of devotional books that follow the days and I pray.  Yesterday, I was lead to take communion for “my cluster”.  The cluster revelation was given to Mary Bostrom a few years ago and has been such a blessing, it is a wonderful way to pray for those whom God has assigned to me in prayer.  I daresay, without that foundation I would have been “ship-wrecked or capsized”.

My husband left for work and I began to tear apart the spare bedroom closet.  I literally dragged out everything on the floor and all of my summer clothes.  So, scattered about the house were clothes, 18 gallon tubs of fabric, my sewing machines…well you get the idea, it was a mess.  Then the phone rang and an emotional earthquake shook my world.

To preface this, let me say that other than an attack on your husband, nothing can rock your world like the adversary, satan, striking your children.  The attack that came against my son was designed to destroy.  But I serve a risen Savior who is alive in my world today.  I walk with Him and talk with Him.  He is real.  And if I start wandering, He is faithful to bring me back on point.  Thank God!

The phone rang, it was my son’s mother-in-law’s telling me of her concern.  A note was found that sounded like a suicide note and there were some pictures found on Facebook.  They thought I should know.  I hung up the phone and said, “Lord, what should I do?”  I called my sister, whom I know personally intercedes for me.  “Pray dear, this is what has happened.”, I explained.  “And, please call the others.”  I texted friends to pray.

A long time ago Kenneth E. Hagin taught that you can be settled in your spirit while your soul is in turmoil.  It is not unlike the sea when a storm on the surface is whipping up giant waves but at the depth of the sea there is perfect calm.  That is how I felt from the moment I heard of the note and pictures.  I was thinking about how strange this was.  I can see clearly now, that if I had stayed in the spirit, stayed on the Word instead of letting my emotions run, I would have walked through this storm in peace.

As a result of the storms of life, and what I have learned of God through His Word and my personal experience with Him, I have determined that I am not going to allow any test I go through to capsize me; I will learn from it and grow stronger in the Lord.

What the enemy of our soul means for evil, God will turn for our good if only we will turn to Him and stay our hearts upon Him. Even so, He is faithful when we are faithless.  Praise Him!

People were praying.  As the word of what had happened came to God’s people, they prayed and God’s Spirit, His angels, began to work to cause the will of God to be done.

By the time the storm abated, many lessons were learned.  God showed Himself strong in my behalf and in behalf of my son and his family.  I have God’s word, as recorded in Isaiah 49:24-25, that He would “contend with him that contends with me and save my children.”  He has promised that he would complete His Word and keep His Word.  He is faithful.

Lives were touched, lessons were learned.

My son, his brother and their Dad all spoke the same thing to me at different times:  “This is blown way out of proportion.”, they all said the same, exact words.  In the end, it was seen to be the case.

Many years ago when God and the enemy were contending for my soul, I read books, I searched for help in many places, I was such a mess.  I was looking everywhere for help, though I did not know that is what I was doing.  The problem was that I was looking for help in all the wrong places.  In the fulness of time, God’s time for me, I found Him finding me, I found Him running after me, waiting for me to see that He was there all the time, ready to help, to set me free.  Oh, glorious day when my Savior I did see!

One of the lessons I learned during my running years was that all of the angst that is in you needs to be gotten out of you.  Some people dump it on others with angry words.  Some people use substances that numb them for a time.  Some people turn into food junkies to salve their wounded souls.  All of this and more is looking for help and fulfillment in the wrong places. It is only found in God’s way of living and being right and that is through His Son, Jesus the Messiah.

Having said that, one tactic that I found to be very successful during that period of time was to write down everything bothering me on a piece of paper, every thought, every feeling…the good, the bad and the ugly…and then burn the paper.  I recall writing a letter to someone I was angry with.  It was nasty, I have no doubt that if anyone read it they would have carted me off to the state hospital.  When I finished, I forgave the person and burned the paper.  My spirit was free.

I learned the valuable lesson that forgiveness is first of a legal transaction between you and God and secondly, I believe it is something that you walk out until the enemy of your soul gets the point that you refuse to receive or hold unforgiveness, then that attack will end.  I believe that it was Einstein who likened unforgiveness to drinking poison and hoping the other person gets sick.

My son was going through a dark night of the soul, and part of that process was a so-called, “suicide note”.  It was the equivalent of my paper burning lesson.  He had no intent that anyone should read that paper, he put it in the trash.  He was working through the attack of the enemy against him in the only way he knew how.  My son has issues, I do not deny it, but we all have issues.  Some of us bigger issues than others, but none of us walk through life without being attacked by the adversary.

I went through what I did to learn that there is no help in anyone but God. Those of us who are reborn have had to learn this lesson.  Our flesh is strong and wants to rule, the world leads in a way that opposes the Kingdom of God and the “accuser of the brethren” lies, steals, murders and destroys.  The only source of life is God.  It takes some of us longer than others of us to figure that out.

God was in control throughout the whole time, some four plus hours.  When they went into warfare, my siblings all received the same confirmation.  We stood as one against the enemy who was trying to destroy a beloved family member.  As the hours unfolded yesterday, confirmation after confirmation came that God was at work and the outcome would be a “turning point” in the life of my son and his family.  God is faithful this I know.

What will the new thing that God has done in the lives of my son and his family look like?  I don’t know, but my biological, extended and  spiritual family are all in agreement that the enemy cannot have our children or our spouses or anything that is ours.  We have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus, the sacrifice Lamb of God,  We have been given liberty and freedom, and we have been given many great and precious promises in the written word of God so that we can escape the world’s domination.  We just have to take them.

The enemy uses violence, we must be violent to take what Jesus died for us to have, because the enemy is a thief.  It is payback time.  It is written in Exodus 22:7 “When a thief is found out he must repay double.”  It is time for captives to be released, for children to come back to the Father’s house.  Whatever you have faith for, not what you wish for, not what you hope for, but what you have faith for will be given to you.  It is God’s Word.

Isaiah 59: 18-20 (NKJV)   “According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay.  So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

Yesterday is a day written down in the books of Heaven, truly a day to be remembered, a day when my son learned that he is loved and cared for, a day that changed lives, a day that will live in infamy!

To those of you who stood with our family through this attack…thank you!  Only eternity will tell your reward.  May the Lord bless you!

Jesus loves you and so do I,

Joy

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The Nicolaitans and Intimidation

Revelation 2: 15  Thus you also have those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

God hates the Nicolaitan doctrine.  That is pretty strong.  There are a few things listed in the Bible that God hates, but, for the most part, the scriptures show us how very much He loves people.  So we would do well to pay attention to these hates of God and ask ourselves if we are we guilty of doing the things He hates.

A long time ago I read that the Nicolaitans were a group of people who believed in the separation of the clergy and the laity.  This doctrine is pervasive in the church of Jesus Christ even today.  My pastor says that it is much better than it was, but if the Lord hates it then it is still too much and we need to shine the light of the glorious gospel upon it.

I believe that we can see a like issue in America today in that the liberal element of society wants Christianity banned from the public square and they interpret the constitution from that bent.  God never intended leaders to separate themselves from the people they serve.  The men who served in Congress were to be there a few years, return home and a new group was to come. God’s intent was servant leaders not career politicians.

Do we not have career ministers in the church?  Was this original intent according to the written Word of God?  I have heard the term “market place minister” used today.  As far as I can see this is what scripture shows us. Paul and Silas were tent makers as well as ministers.  Right and responsibility have gotten confused as far as I can see.

My pastor wears many hats, among them she is a chaplain for one of the local public services.  She does many outreaches to the lost outside the church as well as leading the congregation to the “Water of the Word”.  I believe this is as it should be.

Jesus gave a mighty example of being a servant when he got up from the Passover supper the eve of His betrayal and washed his disciples feet.  A servant is not above his master, neither is the master to be lord over his servant.  Paul says that we are to submit to one another in love.  There is one Lord, one master, our Savior, Jesus the Messiah, it is He that we are to follow.  The apostle Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  To follow is to listen to and emulate.  It is not to make the person a god, a star.  Much grief has attended the body of Christ by the star system.  Christ alone!  Jesus is Lord!

It seems to me that when anyone touches this area It is like stirring up a hornets nest.  What follows are explanations or expounding on the subject, but the issue is not really addressed.  I believe the reason is that there is hidden fear which controls and blinds people.  Leaders are not above attack from the adversary.

I have no doubt that it is also true that there are some, like the religious system recorded in the Bible of the Pharisees and the Sadducees of Jesus day, who do not want to lose control of the people.  They love the place they occupy in society and like the religious system before them, they see Jesus upsetting their apple cart so the final solution is to put Him to death; they deny His virgin birth, they deny the miracles, they deny Him, they crucify the Son of God afresh.

Let’s look at this area of separation between leaders and congregation.  I believe that we need to address the religious establishment as opposed to a real relationship with our God.  It is very complex and there are very many thoughts and ideas about it, but light needs to come and I pray that Holy Spirit will move upon our hearts and open blinded eyes and deaf ears that we may both see and hear what He is saying to the church of Jesus.

I attend a great fellowship.  The leaders are very transparent, They do not make us feel that there is a difference between them and us on the human level, they are not perfect or more holy, but they are sensitive to this issue and want the people to know that they are people just like we are and they deal with issues like we do.  I respect and honor them greatly and I believe that because of their transparency they garner more respect from the congregation.

Many years ago I was part of a group of people who began a new work in a small town.  At the beginning of this work all was well, but in time it fell apart.  The issues we are discussing today were a major part of that fall.  I loved the pastors and was, in fact, lead by the Lord to be their personal intercessor.  Toward the end of the ministry, the pastors turned on two of my prayer partners and told them they were no longer welcome at the services.  Because they knew that I interceded for them, they wanted me to stay, but, their actions were devastating to me and I could not continue.

Not too long after this time, while I was on tour in Israel and over breakfast one morning, I met a man who described himself as a pastor to pastors.  He asked to speak with me after the day’s tour was over.  As I was on the way to my room that evening we met in the hall.

He asked me this question:  “Do you think that everyone sees what you see?”  I did not know how to answer that question; he explained to me that I saw what others do not see and that was because of how God had gifted me.  He told me that I assumed everyone saw what I saw.  He went on to say that very often in a ministry a lay person will be gifted by God to help their pastor or the people, but because of the insecurity of the pastor or the fear of losing “their sheep” to that person, they become jealous of the gift or the person.  This intrusion of the enemy is designed to destroy a ministry. Thank God there are pastors who are secure in their gifting and calling who don’t allow this to take them or the ministry down.

Conversely, the spirit of intimidation works against lay people as the Nicolaitan spirit works against leaders.  This spirit keeps the body of Christ in bondage though insecurity and confusion.  I  believe God is working in both areas to help us understand the hindrances that we face.  The adversary desires to prevent us from fulfilling the Lord’s commission to take the gospel to the world.  But, the Holy Spirit is our helper, our teacher and in God’s time everything will align with God’s will.

When pastors exalt themselves above the people, when they see themselves as knowing more and therefore are more “special” to God than the people, when the people follow a person instead of God, and when the people feel insecure and thus unable to do what they are called to do, then the enemy has won and everyone is in bondage to the adversary and the plan of God is not fulfilled.

Additionally, how many are lost to God in nothing more than social clubs, ineffective for the Kingdom of God, only doing works in order to salve their guilty conscience, but not having the faith of God and doing “The work of the ministry”.

James addresses the issue of faith and works when he says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works, faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. I will show you my faith by my works.  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  James 2: 1-26   We see in this passage that faith and works are dependent on each other.  Works alone will not suffice, nor will faith without works, they are two pillars upon which all service in the Kingdom of God stands, Jesus being the secure foundation.

The word of God says that every believer is to be a minister.  The so-called “five-fold” ministry was to serve the body of Christ, to prepare them for the work of the ministry.  I cannot see in the Bible that they were to be separated or isolated from or exalted above the laity, the lay person.  This is the work of the Nicolaitan spirit, the spirit that God hates.  The spirit of intimidation, though not specifically mentioned in the Bible, is nevertheless to be resisted and rebuked, in Jesus name.

Lord, my prayer is that you will work in your people to bring truth to every lie or deception, that you will infuse your people with understanding and wisdom.  May every hidden thing be made known and every thing covered up be exposed in order that your will, your way and your plan and purpose may be fulfilled.  in Jesus name, Amen.

Jesus loves you, this I know!

Joy