Sunday, July 30, 2017

PRT 2-Rise Up_Grace of God

Grace of God through the Cross of Jesus

Satan is still the accuser of those who follow Christ.  He does not allow believers time to learn, to grow or to mature when they become born-again.  It matters not how long or how short a time that you have repented and surrendered your life over to Christ, Satan knows the sinful, carnal nature and works with it.  It is not unheard of for the adversary to come against new converts to tempt them and keep them or bring them back into bondage, or to bring them under attack.  

He continues coming against us, launching attacks, presenting temptations throughout our entire walk with Christ.  We learn that by itself, temptation is not a sin. It is action. It requires “acting” on the temptation which then becomes sin. For example, a man or a woman may tempt you to fornicate or commit adultery with them, just as Potiphar’s wife did with Joseph. 

Her seduction or “temptation” was not Joseph’s doing.  Even when she grabbed hold of him aggressively, that was not a sin on Joseph’s part. He did no wrong. It was “her” sin, “her” heart’s condition.  Joseph, a man of God, high-tailed it out of there at such speed, the temptress may well have tasted dust.  The godly man would have nothing to do with the allure.  Therefore, Joseph was tempted, but he did not sin.  That is what we must do, FLEE temptation.  [2Tim 2:22

Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert wilderness. He deflected everything Satan said with the Word of God (Jesus IS the Word of God who came in the flesh).  He refused all of Satan’s ‘advances’, all his seduction, all of his temptations.)
We learn about the armour and who we are fighting against in Ephesian 6; 12; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (references to flesh and spiritual battle).  We come to know God’s love and who we are in Christ.  Studying the Bible will teach us all these things. Allow me to present a few amongst the multiple scriptures that teach us who we are. 

And if you have been under demonic attack regarding your inheritance [Rom 8:17], your adoption into the family of God [Jn 1:12; Eph 1:5], and who you are in Christ (too many verses to reference here), especially if you have been walking with God, fully surrendered and obedient to His will and His word, remember the following. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Rom 8:1]  

(Note* - Many only quote the first part, but the scripture is specific in the second part regarding how and why there is no condemnation. We must walk after the Spirit, not flesh. - BP)

You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show praises of him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:   [1Pet 2:5; 9]

Jesus spoke to the disciples time and time again.  He ministered, taught, rebuked, exhorted, corrected and encouraged.  Yet whilst a ministry racks up the number of “new souls” they brought into the kingdom of God, many new converts are hard-pressed to fend for themselves. But the lambs need to be guided and taught in spiritual things by a shepherd, and also by the more mature sheep, just as surely as a newborn child is when they come into the physical world.  

It is written that all of heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous who do not need to repent. [Lk 15:7]  That is because all the holy angels and all within the heavens know that the greatest miracle of all time is the miracle of salvation.  All glory to the Messiah (Jesus/Yeshua, the Christ of Bethlehem) who came once and shall soon return!

Heaven rejoices and Satan and his associates are infuriated.  Satan does not take pleasure in the salvation of any soul.  He hates to lose, even though he knows that the priceless blood the Messiah sacrificially shed upon the cross as atonement for sins, defeated not only him, but all enemies of the cross forever.  Jesus’ death and burial, along with His astounding resurrection was a glorious occurrence.  The victory was accomplished upon the very cross that Satan thought defeated the Christ.  Irreversible, all-conquering! 

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. [Col 2:15]

After all, Satan was the one who plotted and devised a plan to bring mankind into rebellion against God, as surely as he rebelled against the Most High, persuading one-third of the (then) holy angels to join with him in that rebellion.  Even when we are more mature in Christ, Satan continues relentlessly in his attempts to steal, kill and destroy the faith, hope and love of the Christian. 

He is the enemy who plants tares amongst the wheat.  He is the enemy who will plant seeds of doubt, hoping they will take firm hold and root deeply, with the fruit at harvest time being unbelief. The doubts he tries to plant are nonstop. The fiery darts in his arsenal are uncountable. He will target every area he possibly can in the body, soul and spirit. 

(Note* - He absolutely cannot, repeat cannot, touch our spirit man, but he will do all he can to wear us down spiritually, or to give up and/or give in (to his lies, temptations etc)– BP).
He will insist that we will not make it, or hound us with the sins of our past, or that God’s promises in the Word, as well as any personal promise to us, are a deception.  He will come against every truth, yet it is Satan who takes truth and twists it into a lie, ever so subtly. That is but one part of his deception.  He speaks partial truth, if not all truth on certain occasions, but not without intent. 

He masterfully manipulates, distorts and twists it, thereby changing the true meaning to cause doubt in God and in what He speaks forth.  Faith is tested. Trust is tried.  Obedience is tested.  Endurance is tried.  Do you think this a strange thing? It is not.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.  [1Pet 4:12]

The examples in the Bible such as Job, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Deborah, Esther, David et al, reveal to us that all these things will be tried.  Suffering is part of living in this dying world because of sins, lusts of the flesh, decay and corruption; true enough. The whole world is witness to the increase of violence, murder, lies, deception and all manner of wickedness and evil, but the world will not call it as it is – sin.

On the other hand, not everything that happens to us is a test at all.  There are evil people in the world, and there are also lost souls who are possessed, others who are oppressed, and others still caught up in various sins and bondage. It does not take a genius to know that the sins of pride, greed, covetousness, jealousy, envy, hatred, bitterness, lusts, etc. are always amplified by the abuse and extended use of drugs and alcohol.  People have been known to snap and go into rages even in a sober state if their heart is hardened and/or laden with sins.

Yes, suffering is part of living in this life.  Why some suffer more than others in this life, I cannot pretend to know or fully understand, but I do know that with Jesus (Yeshua), we will make it through and be victorious in overcoming.  He will never desert or abandon us, but we must keep a repentant heart.  

He is quick and faithful to forgive us our trespasses when we humble ourselves, seek God, pray and repent, which means to turn away from any sin that hinders us.  1 Chronicles 7 verse 14 tells us that, but the Lord God follows up that counsel with an encouraging promise, when and if we heed His words.

[…] then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open, and My ears attent (alert, attentive to) unto the prayer that is made in this place. [2Chron 7:14, 15] 

Sin is as rampant now as it was in the days of Noah, and as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Satan and his minions continue to wreak havoc on the world and in the lives of mankind. Do you see his handiwork in places such as the suburbs of Damascus, the devastating earthquake of Japan, the horrific tsunami in Indonesia, the war in Syria and the increased terrorism?  

These are all but a foreshadowing of his full intent of complete chaos, confusion, destruction and death.  His pride, hatred and violence is evident as he wars against all of mankind, determined to carry out his mission of the total destruction of souls, despite the fact that Jesus defeated him at the cross.  
Every born-again believer must prepare themselves for battles against Satan and his armies, both in the spiritual and physical.  There are evil people carrying out the plans of the enemies of the cross of Christ. The new believer must learn these things, but even those of us who are more mature disciples need gentle reminders from time to time, including me.  

We battle not only against the desires, appetites and lusts of the flesh and the adversary throughout life. We are in this race together, and run it we must.  [1Cor 9:24] We have need of one another.  We are all individual, unique members in what is called the Body of Christ [1Cor 12:27] – every part is vital, working together and caring for one another, not competitively, but harmoniously.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.  
Ps 133:1]

By one Spirit (the Holy Spirit) we are baptized into one body. If even one part is missing, the whole body is affected.  Would the Head (Jesus) have the body of Christ handicapped?  God forbid.  If we allow any schism in the [spiritual] body, or if one member of the body turns against and opposes and fights against another member, will be as destructive and painful as cancer is to the physical body.  We all suffer. [1Cor 12:13 – 27]

Without God, where is hope? Without Jesus, who do people run to?  Without the Holy Spirit, how can we live and move and have our being in Jesus Christ (Yeshua)? [Acts 17:28]  What can we do of any eternal worth without God’s precious and Holy Spirit?  Without Jesus, there is no forgiveness of sins.  When we forgive others, we ourselves will be forgiven.  [Mk 11:26]  It is Jesus the Christ (Messiah) who promised to send the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) to us. [Jn 14:16]  He has kept that promise.

The road of the believer is not an easy road. It is narrow and quite often difficult, full of challenges and opposition.  The closer we walk with Jesus, the narrower that road becomes.  Sometimes it seems so narrow that we wonder how we can stay on the path without falling off, or turning aside to the left or the right, thinking there is an easier way.  There is not.  

We too must pick up our own cross and die to self (carnal nature).  We may fall and need assistance when we are weak, just as Simon of Cyrene was forced by the Roman soldiers to assist Jesus in the carrying of his cross, when the weakness of Christ’s beaten and torn flesh depleted His physical strength.

So, how does a disciple stay upon the narrow path?  Jesus, that is how; the sheep stay close to the shepherd and follow him.  Through the Holy Spirit; it is Jesus who will keep us from slipping.  If we fail to heed Him and fall, the Holy Spirit will convict us to draw us to repentance so that we may be forgiven.  He will urge us to “rise up” again.  Then, having done all that we are instructed to do, we stand.  [Eph 6:13] Satan laughs when and if we fall, but the Holy Spirit says, Rise up, rise up again!” 

Rejoice not against me, O my enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me [Micah 7:8]

Are you in a trial or tribulation, or a dark night, a dark season of your soul, where few if any understand? Are you being persecuted due to your faith, or slandered by others?  Have people come against you without cause, confounding, perplexing or wounding your soul and spirit?  Do you fight fear?  

Know this: 

Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. 

For I the LORD your God will hold your right hand, saying unto you, Fear not; I will help thee. [Is 41:10; 13]

Remember the words as He instructs His disciples to go forth and teach all nations (people), and to baptize them, teaching them to observe the things He commanded.  Jesus made a final promise that we do well to encourage ourselves and others with, particularly when Satan spews forth his lies:
[…]…and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Amen) [Mat 28:20]

The Night Seems Long
I had stated that I would spare the reader all of the in-depth details.  That is easier said than done.  When any one person goes through suffering in their trials, they remember most, if not all of the details.  However, it can be a challenge to give a synopsis of such a turbulent time without the risk of boring or burdening the one who hears it.  May the Spirit of the Lord be in these words, for His glory.

 On the last Tuesday in April, when a very small number of us gathered together to pray, the pastor stood in the gap for another dear soul.  With great compassion, he asked God to heal the woman with cancer, BUT, if He planned to take her home, he asked Jesus to be merciful and end her suffering quickly.  The Lord heard and honoured that request.  

Four days later, at the end of April (2017), our new friend passed on from this earth.  Her suffering was over. I should have been happy because she knew the Lord and would be with Him, but instead, all I could think of was the tender pink buds upon the tree planted in the snow-laden ground.  I remembered the smile on her face when she said, “new beginning”.  Well, she has her new beginning now; no more tears, pain, suffering or sorrow.

I remember how the thought occurred to me instantly that the Lord was letting her know that she was going home.  Without meaning to, I gave her false hope, “The Lord’s going to heal you!”  I had blurted it out in a desperate attempt to lighten the burden of her suffering, but I did not fully believe my own words. (Keep in mind that I was not in the best state myself…not an excuse, but a reality.)  

God does reveal things to His people.  We pray for truth.  We pray He reveals to us.  We just have to listen and believe.  More importantly, and this is crucial, we need to learn to wait patiently for His timing.  Waiting – one of the harder lessons to learn.  He will always confirm what He says, by His Spirit, by His word, through others, through signs and wonders – the magnificent Creator. 

When in doubt (such as I was in that instance), we should say nothing until a matter has been brought to the Lord.  I know these things, oh how I know these things!  But much to my shame and chagrin, I did not heed my own words at that time.  I hope my mistake will somehow help another believer what NOT to do.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not the only “well-intentioned” Christian who has made that same mistake.  

I pray to God that I never give anyone else false hope again, or tell someone what I think they want to hear (no matter how sick or ill they are and no matter how desperate the situation), instead of being silent until the Lord either confirms or not. If the Lord God does not confirm a thing, simply pray for the person and leave the rest up to God.  He is God, not me, not you, no other. Forgive me, Lord.  Is it not strange how we can think God needs our help?  Are we not like others in that regard, such as Abraham and Sarah, who believed the staggering promise of God, but understood not His ways or His timing?  

I began to question my faith, my standing with God, my heart’s motives and intents, and whether this was a trial (test) coming from the devil that God allowed, or was it just life in general.  Even when our intention is good, it can still be wrong. 

Two days after the sister in Christ died a phone call came to me from my landlord.  When the call came, I had been laying down trying to sleep away the agony in my knee.  The painkillers did not take the misery away.  Sometimes it dulled the pain, other times it did not.  Three long months of 24/7 chronic pain in the knee was wreaking havoc, not only in my body, but in my soul and spirit. 

But before that happened, I had had intermittent back pain for almost a year.  An MRI revealed nothing wrong with the spine or the bones, so I thought perhaps a chiropractor could do some adjustments that would correct the problem. 

I am uncertain what he did, but whatever it was it was immediate, causing a sharp pain to shoot to my hip.  He quickly realized that he had done something because he instantly suggested that I go to a doctor to get a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and painkiller. What?!  I did not want medication, which is why I went to the chiropractor in the first place.  Yet worse, within 24 hours, the pain seemed to travel down to my knee. I was to return in two days to the chiropractor for follow-up, but I never did.

I have repeated myself as far as the pain goes, but it was beyond bearable, a ceaseless agony and misery.  That is the point I am trying to make.  I am sure many readers know exactly what that is like because they too have been there in their own sufferings.  It is difficult not to focus on “self” (the flesh) when the body demands all attention.  

In fact, it is a battle all in itself.  It should not have been a surprise that it was during that time that the enemy was beginning to come at me in every way imaginable.  Not only that, but my heart was heavy over the death of the woman with cancer, which was magnified by the false hope I had given her.  I had prayed for her healing, but she passed away anyway. 

When the phone call came from the landlord, the suffering in my body and soul had slowly increased. Sleep deprivation was also taking its toll.   Knowing that I was not in the best state, I wanted to be left alone, but what if the call was important?  The first call went okay, but it took all my inner strength to be sociable.  Two days later, he called again.  I should not have answered the phone.  A squabble developed and the call did not end amicably.  He had mentioned that he was not feeling well, but from his description, I thought he had an upset stomach or flu. 
We are instructed to walk humbly before God, not in pride or self-righteousness.  We are to love mercy and to do justly.  [Micah 6:8]  As Christians, we are not to be offended when people speak rudely or put us down. Instead, we are to show love, compassion and patience. We are to forgive.  As for the past, we are to let it go and press forward in Christ.  The landlord and his wife had been away a few months at their winter home in the United States.  On his return trip back to Canada, the landlord went straight from the airport to the local hospital.

Normally I would have let the landlord’s careless comments roll off my back.  He had his own personality and I had mine.  It was only the second time in over two years (since I moved in) that we had ever clashed.  A day or two later, the landlord’s wife visited the apartment building.  The topic was resurrected and another clash happened.  It is only natural for a good wife to take her husband’s side, is it not?  Sadly, I have to take responsibility for the outcome because as a disciple of Christ I did not control my words.  

How I grieve when my carnal nature takes the helm, but more so, how the Holy Spirit grieves. If any witness overheard my words, they would never have suspected that I was Christian.  Satan likes to keep us shackled to the past, but Jesus came to save, heal and deliver.  I returned to my apartment in a huff, but the Holy Spirit was doing His work. 

The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded (broken) spirit who can bear?  [Prov 18:14]

God never condemns, but He will most assuredly convict us of wrong-doing in any way, shape or form.  I came to understand quickly that I was to humble myself and apologize to the landlord’s wife.  It did not matter who was right and who was wrong.  What mattered was that as a Christian, my attitude did not glorify the Lord. Worse yet, it would not win any over to Jesus Christ.  My handling of the situation left much to be desired. 

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.  
[Mat 5:9]

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  [Jam 5:16]

A couple more days passed.  The landlady was staying at the home of one of my neighbours since the apartment building is a short drive to the hospital compared to the distance from her home. The Lord wanted me to set things right, but it meant humbling myself and acknowledging my wrong.  I missed her both days.  The third day I sat in the parking lot for over an hour so that I could catch her leaving for the hospital.  As I confessed my wrong before her, my heart and soul were further humbled. 

The Lord gave me the right words to say.  In retrospect, I am sure of that now and I thank Him.  The landlady received my sincere apology graciously and we hugged and were reconciled.  Yes, I confessed my fault to the new widow (my landlady), but for the purpose of the testimony and for the glory of God, I confess publicly so that I may be healed.  At that point in time (first week of May 2017) Satan was still bringing condemnation against me.  Prayer always is needed and treasured!

I had wanted to visit the landlord to apologize to him face to face also, but his wife said that he was not in the state of mind to have company.  He had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  He returned to his home (here in Okanagan, B.C. Canada) after he had been in hospital a week.  

My prayers for his healing were more a pleading than a simple request.  Guilt and shame were working overtime with me, but I truly did not want the man to die.  We normally got along quite well.  “Lord, forgive me for focusing on myself…”  I knew I was forgiven because of God’s grace through the cross of Jesus Christ.  How I fought to keep my focus on my Saviour and His promises!

Is it Flesh versus Spirit or Is It the Enemy’s Accusations?
The Holy Spirit teaches us, but the Body of Christ helps also.  The pastor’s prayer for the woman with cancer had impressed me.  Uncertain of whether or not the landlord was saved, I earnestly prayed that the Lord would send someone to him that he would listen to.  I asked the Lord to give him yet another chance to repent and receive/believe Jesus.  

Taking the pastor’s prayer as an example, I prayed that God would heal the landlord or take him home so that he would not have to suffer, but my heart preferred that Jesus would heal him.  At three o’clock in the morning, the landlord passed on in his sleep, at home with his beloved wife.  Three weeks after the couple had stepped off the plane from the United States, the man was dead, and I had thought it was a minor sickness that he would soon be over.  It was also three weeks after the woman with cancer died.  It was the third week of May (2017).

Months of constant pain, hospitalization, run-ins with people, strong medications, and two deaths in a three week span began to take its toll on my faith.  I felt utterly shaken, violently tossed about.  There was no way that I was going to allow any of those reasons to justify my wrongdoing.  But two people that I had urgently and sincerely prayed for died.  Satan insisted that my prayers were ineffective due to my “self-centeredness”. 

I felt very much alone as far as the world was concerned, but deep within I knew the Lord was with me.  He was frequently silent during that darkened time period, but not always.  Satan accused me of being a ‘tare’, of being pretentious, of having “no love and rotten fruit” and so much more that I cannot even remember the half of it.  The fiery darts were fast, furious and nonstop. I had cried out desperately, asking the Lord what was happening inside of me.  “Please don’t let me go Lord…”  

 I told Him that He would have to pull my “talons” out from His garment because I refused to let go of Him.  I was hanging on for dear life.  A scripture was upon my mind at the time, I do believe, which is why I had used the talons in my time in prayer.  I believe God’s Word!  Once prayer goes up, the waiting begins.  There are times the prayers are answered quickly, but most often, we have to wait and that is where we learn the patience to endure.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.  [Is 40:31]  

[Note* - This verse is the last verse found in Isaiah 40, which begins with “comfort you, comfort you My people […]”, which is soon followed by the encouragement to “prepare you the way of the Lord […]” – BP]

As far as I could ascertain, when the chronic pain began and even when I was hospitalized, I could not think of anything that I had been doing or saying wrong to open any door to the enemy.  My commitment to the Lord is genuine, and I strive to walk the walk, with all my flaws and shortcomings, not merely give lip service to impress any onlookers. It is God who sees the heart, not people or any devil.  We may fool others, but we cannot fool God. Having disagreements or getting angry or upset with someone, in itself, is not sin. 

Negative emotions are not sin, despite what so many religious tell you. “You’re in the flesh!” some will quickly allege.  Such are the words of those who lack complete understanding or place heavy burdens on people that they themselves cannot bear.  In Ephesians 4, we are told to not sin in our anger or to allow our anger to carry on indefinitely, but to “not let the sun go down on upon our [wrath]” (Eph 4 vs 26) or give place to the devil in our anger. [vs 27

Even when Peter’s impulsive passion for Jesus spurred him on to dramatically cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant on the night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest, Jesus did not accuse the apostle of being in the flesh, neither did He tell him to repent.  Instead, He calmly told Peter to put away his sword in its sheath.  He let Peter know that He intended to willingly drink from the bitter cup His Father had given Him.  The cross was the purpose of Jesus’ mission on earth.  It was the only way for mankind to be reconciled back to God. Before the soldiers took Him away, Jesus performed His last miracle by restoring the ear of the servant.

Even though it was obvious that I was annoyed and disgruntled at the nurse who was loud in her conversation and laughter with my neighboring patient at three o’clock in the morning, I did not sin in the giving of a rebuke.  I called it a “run-in” previously, but there had been no argument between us. People are people, but a medical professional such as a nurse knows full well the discomfort, pain and hardships of someone who is unwell.

The hospital room was semi-private, but whether there is only one other patient in a room or ten, a nurse is trained and should be considerate of others in the wee hours of the morning.  Her clamorous behaviour carried on for over ten minutes before I said anything.  I was already having trouble sleeping due to swelling and pain.  My rebuke ended the clamor. No degradation, belittling, cussing or swearing or any other such thing took place.

Even though I had been irritated and annoyed by the inconsiderate behaviour of a professional nurse, the fact remains that I was a patient with blood clots in the lungs, who was lying in a hospital, longing for and needing rest.  I could not think of anything offhand that could be behind my ailments and troubles. (All glory to Jesus through the Holy Spirit He sent to help us.)  

I simply could not understand.  Why was God not healing me?  Why had the pain been so severe and for so long, with no proper diagnosis?  Three different diagnoses from three different doctors over a few months were given concerning my knee, but none were absolute, none certain, and the only help or remedy offered was to take painkillers and to apply alternating heat and ice packs. 

The cause remained a mystery, which is why I was certain that the enemy was keeping me racked with pain and hindering medications from taking full effect.  It had also been my fourth course of painkillers over a period of three months (Tylenol 3 with codeine, then switched to Oxycodone), with the two latter courses being increased in strength and dosage.

The more serious trouble had ironically begun with the chiropractor in February.  I did not want to stay on medication or become dependent on any drug.  Not only were the meds highly addictive, but they were ineffective.  I had also started at a small church at the end of February.  

I had met the pastor and his wife during a private but random business matter.  We had spent over an hour during that time becoming acquainted and discussing the Lord. I had been invited to visit their church, which I was led by the Lord to do after I had asked for His guidance and direction.

I was encountering moments when my discernment was off.  The pain, the strong opiate, the conflicts with people, the two deaths, silence from my Lord with only brief and occasional words from Him, all of it had begun to shake my trust in everything, except my faith in God.  Yet the sifting was continuous and vigorous.  My faith was greatly shaken, but it did not fail me, which I credit Jesus with. . Yet, if I was standing at all, it was on very shaky legs.

My little children, these things I write to you, that you sin not.  And if any sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous:  [1Jn 2:1]

Was God angry and punishing me?  No! Satan lies when he accuses us of such. Not only does the above verse cancel such an accusation, but a further reality is that Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven when we repent. Were the painkillers affecting my mind and discernment, or was I actually losing my mind?  Had my personal misery now opened a door up for the adversary to come in and torment me? 

Was he not only allowed to torment us if we were in disobedience, such as he was allowed to do with Saul, or did I mistaken in my understanding that Saul’s disobedience, which revealed his unbelief (lack of faith)?  Confusion!  Even my logic seemed to be failing me, which is why I suppose we are instructed not to lean on our own understanding, but to trust God.  [Prov 3:5, 6]

I had attended a couple of Sunday services and three prayer meetings.  In hindsight, I can safely say that Satan accused the group of believers of being witches in a coven, which was due in part because their constant prayers against witchcraft, and rebuking the spirit of Jezebel.  It seemed more like an obsession more than warfare, but I was new there.  I had no idea what they had been up against or what was going on, so that was an hasty and inaccurate judgment. 

It is a truth that many in the occult enter into or start churches under the guise of Christianity, wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Without realizing it, I was listening to the lies of the enemy regarding the church and the brethren.  Over the course of the troublesome months, the adversary had slowly and deliberately been shifting my focus from Jesus to “self”, but the leverage he used to do so was pain. That was his open door, my physical duress, not disobedience.  I know that now, but I did not at the time.  Confusion swirled around me like the strong winds that beat upon a house. 

God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. [1Cor 14:33]

Why had two people who were prayed for die?  What was behind my suffering, since doctors could not find a positive cause or source?  What kind of example was I to unbelievers, or even to fellow believers?  Question after question, guilt upon guilt, shame upon shame rolled over me like waves upon the ocean shores.  Where were these thoughts originating from?  How many of the negative thoughts were mine, and how many were from the enemy? 

I could not discern it.  The pain consumed me, and I fought with all my spiritual might and mind to keep my focus on my King Jesus. Although I did not realize it then, the months of taking strong medication had caused side effects such as agitation, confusion, mood swings and disorientation.   Even if I was unsure of where the negativity originated from, the Bible gives instruction.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; [2Cor 10:5]

My faith was indeed shaken, not my faith in God, but my faith regarding who I am in Christ, whether I was actually a child of God, or whether I had deceived myself about my salvation.  I was trying to get much needed sleep, but uninterrupted, deep rest was far from me.  The thoughts were relentless.  The speed in which they were coming revealed that either my neurotransmitters were out of whack or it was a demonic attack.  More confusion!

I did read the Bible during that time period, but there were certain days that I did not pick the book up at all, but spent the time in bed praying and trying to rest.  The enemy must have rejoiced when he saw the times that he had succeeded in shifting my focus from Jesus and upon the outward circumstances.  The darkness fell heavily upon me. There seemed no relief in sight, but unbeknownst to me, the Holy Spirit was doing a work.

Rejoice not against me, O my enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.  [Micah 7:8]

The Word of God is the sword of the Lord, a mighty weapon which Jesus Himself wielded against Satan in his hour of temptation.  Jesus is the Word (of God) that came in the flesh.  Condemnation traps people under shame and guilt, but conviction of the Holy Spirit can lead us to repentance.  However, first we have to see and acknowledge our wrongs.  We all make mistakes, but not every mistake is a sin. Not every condemnation is from the enemy. 

Countless Christians who love the Lord and strive to walk holy and obediently can be self-condemning if they feel they somehow failed Christ or fall short in some area, particularly during trials or tribulations.  Many judge themselves far too severely, whilst others excuse or justify their sin(s). 

It takes the Holy Spirit to bring everything into perspective and to balance things, and He will when we take things to the Lord in prayer.   We must be sincere in getting to the truth of any matter. God is faithful and He is concerned about the way His people walk and the condition of their heart.  The evidence is throughout the written Word of God.  He will correct and discipline us, when and if it is necessary. 

 I began praying even more earnestly, but not for my physical healing.  If I thought the little church (which is in an industrial complex – a storefront) was actually a front for a coven of witches, then what would my response be?  The Holy Spirit teaches us well, but we have to put those lessons into practice.  I very much liked the people that I had met at the church.  They had richly and warmly welcomed this stranger into their midst.  They did not deny Christ Jesus, or the cross, the shedding of His blood or the need for repentance. I saw and heard nothing that validated Satan’s false accusation against them.

It would seem that the small group of prayer warriors was a threat to the enemy, or he would not be so quick to assassinate their characters and bring strong accusations against them when newcomers such as I came amongst them – further evidence that Satan is indeed the roaring lion that walks about seeking whom he may devour. [1Pet 5:8

Indeed, those who abide in Christ, are filled with the Holy Spirit, stand in faith and walk obediently to God’s commandments are a threat to the work of Satan and his evil armies.  God’s people, those who are in Christ Jesus, know the power given to us.

Behold, I have given unto you power (authority) to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you [Lk 10:19]

Prayer was the answer.  Remembering where the Lord brought me from, I prayed that God would be merciful and draw the “witches” to repentance by His goodness. [Rom 2:4] Their salvation was my earnest request.  However, before I prayed for them, I repented…of everything that I thought I was guilty of.  After that, the Holy Spirit helped me in the praying.  Love, mercy and compassion are the operative words that we put into action toward others. 

Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.  [Rom 8:26]

In early June, I posted a message that had come to me after a time of intense prayer.  I had been very concerned about the “tare” accusation of the enemy, but the Lord turned the tables on him and had me warn His people about the enemy who plants “tare-type” seeds such as doubt.  An admonishment was given at that time to Beware the Days that Judas’ [plural] (someone close who betrays), the spirit of Jezebel, the spirit of Balaam and seducing spirits were active and operating amongst the body of true followers of Jesus. 

Since the Holy Spirit had placed that message heavily upon my heart, I had felt confident that I could post the message about “comfort [My] people”.  I had written out the things placed within my heart to share, but it was not yet completed.  I thought it would not take long to finish, but once again, it was delayed despite my intention (there is that word again) to have it posted in just a few days, perhaps a week at most.

Further Humbling and Testing

It was during a routine trip to town when I became completely disoriented with direction and confused about the regular routes I was familiar with that I began to suspect that I was suffering the side effects of the opiate (painkiller).   It is humbling in itself to admit here that by the month of June, I had asked the Lord more than once to take me home.  “It’s enough!” I had protested when I awoke yet again groaning and in tears due to pain.  My words echoed that of Elijah. 

Yet, he was a man of God, a prophet, who had come against a vile and wicked woman, as well as the prophets of Baal who served and obeyed her.  Jezebel!
Elijah had fled after the evil queen’s threat to kill him, which she had sent to the prophet via one of her messengers.  In 1 Kings 19 verse 3, it clearly states that Elijah “left for his life”.  

The prophet had been the instrument of mighty miracles through the hand of God.  He also called upon God to perform miracles (such as fire from heaven). [1Kin 18:38, 39; 2Kin 1:10-12]  Elijah traveled far by foot to Beersheba, leaving his servant behind there before travelling yet another day alone.  The prophet cried out to God stating that he had had enough, asking God to take his life for he was “not better than his fathers”.  [1Kin 19:4

He obviously would have been weary physically from his journey. Elijah had done much to turn the heart of Israel back to God and to repentance.  He must have felt like he had failed God in convincing the people to turn away from their sins such as idolatry (repentance), just as his forefathers had.  He expressed his inner turmoil and anguish to the Lord.  Then he fell asleep, either from fatigue, depression or both.  An angel awoke him and fed him. 

Again the man of God fell asleep. He must have been exhausted from his journeying. The Bible does not specify how long he slept before the angel awoke him a second time to feed him, stating that he had not yet strength enough for the journey ahead of him. Elijah was strengthened by the food given to him by the angel of God for 40 days and 40 nights. 

In His infinite wisdom, God had ignored Elijah’s request for his life to be taken, just as surely as He ignored my same statement. I thank God for His wisdom and steadfastness. His understanding and love for His creation is beyond measure.

Scripture reveals the spiritual afflictions of many of God’s people.  This article is not meant to expound on what the people were going through in their lives to bring about their inner struggles, but to prove that countless godly people from the beginning of the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, have suffered with overwhelming emotions of anger, depression, angst etc. 

Every example given in the Word of God illustrates the reasons behind the inner conflicts and turmoil in the souls of His people during trials and tribulations.  Suffering is part of life in this sinful world and God’s people are not immune.  Cain, Job, Moses, Jonah, Elijah, Saul, David, Jeremiah, Peter are only some of examples given in the Bible for our benefit. 

In my own inner struggles (spirit versus flesh), there were moments where I was convinced that I could not possibly bear any more.  How could I possibly go on in such condition?  Some warrior of endurance I was, I had thought more than once.  One time I had cried out to the Lord that if this was a test, it was cruel one.

Then I would acknowledge that God is not cruel, but Satan is.  If God was allowing Satan to test me, how long would the testing carry on for?  No end was in sight.  Is all this life a test? Does everything have to be a battle?  

All the words spoken to the Lord cannot be recalled verbatim, but I remember thinking that I sounded somewhat schizophrenic.  Did God not care about my suffering?  I know that He cares.  When negative thoughts would shoot through my mind, and even if I momentarily considered them, it would not be long before I wrestled them down, then casting them out. The thoughts would return at random times, and the battle continued.

Repentance seemed constant in my weakest moments. “Lord, how do I differentiate between grumbling and complaining, and pouring out my heart to you?”  I cried out for His help and intervention. Lying upon my bed I would make up songs, singing praise and worshipping Him oft with bitter tears. Once again I ran out of the pain medication.  What was supposed to last a month was only lasting about three weeks.  A fifth course of the strong drug was not wanted or welcome. One day I prayed to be healed so that I could come off the pharmaceutical drugs. 

There happened to be a prayer meeting that particular night and it came upon me strongly to attend and participate.  However, the Holy Spirit instructed me to go nearly an hour and a half before the meeting to ask for prayer.  I was also instructed to confess to the pastor and his wife the lie that Satan taunted me with regarding a coven, and to ask forgiveness.  Further humbling, yes indeed, but would I obey?  In my heart I knew that if this was indeed my Lord’s instructions, I had to obey, even if I was confused, disoriented and unsure. 

The group gathering for prayer was typically small, so why would anyone, including the pastor and his wife, be there at the church so far advanced of the scheduled time?  I knew the Lord was leading me, but still I fought doubts. As I got into my vehicle to drive to the church, I had nervously told the Lord that if I was truly hearing Him, then the pastor and his wife would be there, but if they were not, then I was really in trouble. I knew the Lord’s voice, so why was I unsure? 

He tells us that He is the good shepherd.  He stated that His sheep know His voice and another they would not follow.  By that time, I had become aware of my confusion and disorientation, but as yet, did not connect it to the heavy medication, but instead blamed the sinfulness of my carnal nature.  I wanted off the medication.  I needed the prayers of my brethren in Christ Jesus!

In Strong’s Concordance, the words “sorcery” and “witchcraft” are translated from the word “pharmakeia”. It is used three times in the KJV with the words “sorcery” (used two times) and witchcraft (used once).  

Blue Letter Bible© credits Larry Pierce, the creator of the Online Bible, as the source of information.  According to BLB, Larry Pierce combined what Dr. Strong cited with Smith’s Bible Dictionary and Dr. Thayer cited in his abridged Thayer’s 1889 Greek-English Lexicon. Please click here if you would like to read it in-depth, as it is interesting information.

Biblical usage of “sorcery, witchcraft”, meaning:

● the use or the administering of drugs
● poisoning
● sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by      it
● metap. The deceptions and seductions of idolatry

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies [Gal 5:20]

Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. [Rev 9:21]

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all I you: for your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived.  [Rev 18:23]   Source:  Blue Letter Bible

Was this another test, a test to trust, test of obedience, test of faith, or a test of knowing the Lord’s voice?  How I wanted out of the furnace, but I knew Jesus had promised never to forsake us! I was on pins and needles driving through the industrial complex to the church. Faith shouted to me that the couple would be there. Doubt chided that they would not be there because it was just too early.  Flesh versus spirit; spirit versus flesh.  Casting down vain imaginations, casting down, casting down!  Warfare seemed constant.  

How relieved I was to see the pastor’s car.  His wife was inside the building, but he was unloading some things from his vehicle.  So delighted I was to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had heard correctly from the Lord that thanksgiving went up immediately to Him!  

Simultaneously I realized that I had believed a lie.  The Lord God would not send anyone to a coven of witches to have them pray for anyone, ever…and I now saw that to be true!  “Lord, what happened to my discernment?  O Lord, please don’t take your Holy Spirit from me!”  (fear)  What a mess I felt within my heart and soul, as well as my body. What was wrong? What was happening? Jesus, Jesus.

Much to my chagrin, as I approached the pastor, tears immediately fell forlornly down my flushed cheeks.  I told the brother in Christ that I had a confession to make and needed forgiveness.  I told him that the pain in my knee simply would not quit and that I desperately needed prayer for healing.  

He ushered me inside to join his wife.  The three of us briefly talked. Naturally they were shocked when I revealed to them that I thought they were a coven. I explained how they were constantly bringing up witchcraft and binding the spirit of Jezebel, and how the enemy actually used the prayers to solidify his accusations, twisting truth into a lie.  They were most loving and automatically forgave me.  

The pastor (who is a godly man born in South America, Ecuador) laid hands on my knee and together both he and his Jewish wife prayed for my knee.  The healing was not instant, but that night I slept a full ten full hours.  When I awoke, the pain was dull enough that I did not need to take medication, which was good because if the pain had remained, I would have needed another prescription.  In fact, the pain had decreased to a lower level than it had ever been on the opiate Oxycodone.  Hallelujah! 

The pain tried to return randomly in the week that followed, but most certainly not to the extremes that it had been.  I believe that I was healed and offered up thanksgiving.  A young Malaysian man who is on fire for the Lord had prayed a couple of weeks previously for the healing of my swollen calves.  That healing took place within days also and has not returned.  

At the time of the writing of this testimony, it has now been just shy of a couple of months since the prayer for healing.  Both the swellings and the pain have not returned to my calves or to my knee.  Not even so much as an aspirin has been needed. Even my back pain had dissipated to such a degree that it is most often forgotten.  I believe Jesus has healed my back as well.  Praise God!

Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much[James 5:13-16]

Untangling the Mess

When Satan or any evil spirit attacks us as the accuser of the brethren, coming at us like floodwaters, whether in body, soul and/or spirit, the Lord will intervene, when and how He so chooses.  How often do we expect the Lord to move immediately?  More often than not!  

We have an endless supply of witnesses that testify that “instant” (although things can be instant) is not the norm.  There is so much to learn as we walk the narrow path, but one of the hardest lessons for all of us to learn is to wait…and to trust God.  It will require all our faith, faith that will be tried to see its height, breadth and depth, faith that is stretched, faith that is challenged to grow and to grow bearing good fruit.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. [Rom 10:17]

Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.  [Jam 2:17]

Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. [Mat 12:33]

The Lord God, who is the ever faithful Maker, Father (Abba) and Saviour, will bring understanding and results.  As much as I know my God, I would daresay that I only know a “fingernail” of Him.  He is just too vast, unsearchable, without limit, beyond comprehension, a marvel and a wonder to all of us whom He created.  We will continue to discover and learn and experience all of Him throughout eternity.  Just as any other, I only know what He reveals to me through His Word, by His Spirit, through the brethren or any other way He so chooses.

We who are His people know that our God is not the author of confusion, Satan is.  We also know that battles bring a confused noise. [Is 9:5]  When we are weak, we who are in Christ and have walked with Him for a time, know full well that is precisely the time the enemies of the cross, and Satan himself, come against us. 

How we respond in times of great duress, tribulations and trials will reveal to us what the true condition of our heart is and the depth of our love, faith and trust in God.  He already knows, but we need to know fully within one’s own self where they truly stand with God.  We can talk a fine talk.  We can know the Bible from front to back.  We can quote one thousand scriptures, but that means nothing if we merely praise Him with our lips (lip service), but our heart (heart service) is far from Him. 

Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus knew precisely where to start as He began to untangle the mess that had been created.  He will undo the work of the enemy.  What Satan or any other (whether evil forces or sinful people) mean for harm, God will use it for good.  We glean that knowledge from the word of God.  

The Bible is not just a book of incredible and stupendous stories, miraculous or otherwise, nor is it a book of ‘dos’ and don’ts.  It is all that and then some.  It not only reveals God’s character and some of His ways (I say some because God’s ways are unsearchable, limitless and creative, to say the least, and only part of His ways are recorded), but it is also a historical book, a book of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, instruction, exhortations, warnings and much more.
 
But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.  [Gen 50:20]

The record of Joseph’s words to his brothers who hated and betrayed him is a further revealing to us of God’s character and ways.  We can be confident that no matter how long it takes, or how He does it, God will work all things together for our good to those who love God.  [Rom 8:28]

We can learn so much from the Bible.  It is the only book that continues to teach us some new thing the more we study it prayerfully.  None of us will ever know it all, not even close to it.  Only God is omniscient (all-knowing).  All of us need Jesus to walk this walk of faith, but God devised a plan where the Body (in Christ) of believers has need of one another too.  We are to love one another and stand in the gap in prayer; encourage, edify and strengthen each other, working as one unit in unison and harmony.

The untangling process began when the widow of the landlord held a celebration of his life three weeks after he passed.  His body had been cremated. There was no funeral.  The celebration was to bring everyone together, some from other countries, to honour her deceased husband.  After a time of mingling, his daughter gave a moving speech about her father.  Afterwards, she invited anyone who wanted to speak to share what they wanted to about her father. 

The testimonies of those at the celebration who had known him all their lives (relatives), or who had known him for years (friends and business associates) proved that numerous others had their share of conflicts with him over the years.  The knowledge of that broke the power of Satan’s lies over me. There was no more shame or guilt hanging over me.  

It was just his way, but he was still well-liked and loved. It helped me to hear these things. I was not the only one who had locked horns with him.  His wife and I had also come to peaceful terms.  The deception of the enemy was exposed and the power that he had enjoyed in the situation became powerless.  Strike one against Satan.

The untangling continued.  It had been a couple days after the celebration of the landlord’s life that the pastor and his wife prayed for my knee and I was healed, no longer needing the strong medication.  Each day that I was off the potent drug was another moment day of becoming oriented, with clarity and confidence slowly being recovered.  The Holy Spirit brought to remembrance the last phone call between the landlord and me.

 It is true that I had brought up a troubling matter to discuss with him.  I simply wanted to discuss, forgive and forget. It is true that another may have let the entire incident slide, but we all have different personalities. The Holy Spirit reminded me that although I had stated what had troubled me and why, it had not been presented vindictively or cruelly.  In my way of thinking, if there is a misunderstanding or grievance between two parties, it is best to work it out amicably so that bitterness cannot take a hold. 

It was my earnest desire not to harbour any unforgiveness, or to allow any unresolved anger or offense to become a root of bitterness.  That reasoning, purpose and intent compelled me to bring the matter up again.  I well know the suffering that unforgiveness brings, as well as the tap roots that branch off from the main root of bitterness, spreading into every area like unwanted weeds, choking out the light.  Such things quench the Holy Spirit and snuff out the light of Christ that should shine brightly from within us.

Naturally, the landlord went on the defense.  We disagreed, our differing viewpoints clashed.  He had wanted to hang up. I credit the man for having the maturity not to rudely do so.  However, he had taken offense. I had tried to explain that my only intention had been to discuss my grievance and to work the matter out so that there would be no repeat of the same error. I had stated that now that it had been discussed, we could move on in forgiveness, never to bring it up again.  Since it had been discussed and dealt with, it was over.  But again, he would not accept that.

Instead of hanging up, he handed the cell phone over to his wife who informed me that he was “done talking”.  I must reiterate here that not only was I in agony (knee) and still on the strong opiate, but unbeknownst to any of us, the landlord was fast approaching death and was also in agonizing physical pain at the time of the call.

Having disagreements or arguments, or giving rebukes for something someone has said or done is not sin in itself.  It is only when some form of abuse or harm has taken place, or if a heart becomes embittered, unforgiving or revengeful.  No harm was done outside of the fact that the landlord did not like the rebuke.  It had not been accusatory as much as it was an explanation of why his words had not been unacceptable.  Communication is critical, especially necessary for clearing up misunderstandings and helping people to know each other better.

The adversary had immediately condemned me for even bringing a rebuke, no matter how well it was handled or presented.  No rebuke is pleasant.  Entire nations or individuals have taken offense at the rebukes of the prophets.  The Pharisees and scribes took offense at the rebukes of Jesus. Peter was likely not pleased with Paul’s rebuke. Children dislike the rebukes of parents who correct and discipline their children in love.  None of us like to be rebuked, myself included.  A rebuke is not a sin.  

When the Lord revealed the reality of the phone call to me, without the disorientation or confusion brought on by the months of taking strong painkillers, peace was being restored within me.  True it is that I had rebuked the landlord, but I had also clearly endeavoured to establish the peace between us again.  I could not force him to accept forgiveness or the peace that comes with it.  I had no bitterness. To me the matter was cleared up, never to be mentioned again, but to him it remained unresolved.  

Satan took advantage of the side effects of the medications that unbeknownst to me I was suffering from.  I had known that once the landlord and I spoke face to face after he returned to Canada along with his wife that everything would be fine again between us. But it was not to be because he passed away quickly after his return.  Satan had gone to work instantly with his accusations.  He perverts, corrupts and twists truth.

I did have to repent regarding my talk with the landlady that took place only days after the call with her husband. My carnal natural was fully ruling that hour and I was completely out of order.  It was with great humility that I was led by the Lord to admit my wrong, apologize and establish peace.  Obedience brought His blessing as indeed, the end result was forgiveness sealed with a warm hug.  All remains well between us to this day, all glory to God alone.  He does rebuke, correct and discipline His children accordingly, and for that I am ever grateful.  Strike two against Satan.

Even when there was confusion regarding the small group of brethren at the church, the Lord kept the people upon my heart, coaxing me to stand in the gap for them and pray.  And even if they were a coven, the Lord had me keep returning to services and prayer meetings.  

Knowing that obedience is better than sacrifice, and listening (give heed) better than the fat of rams [1Sam 15:22], I returned.  In the beginning, my attendance was sporadic, due in part to my weeks stay in the hospital, the ten days I was ill with walking pneumonia, and the days where pain and fatigue consumed me. 

I had earnestly tried to get together privately with the pastor and his wife to discuss my concerns with them. I wanted to hear their side of things, and pray.  If I was wrong, I needed to know, and if I was right, then I was leaning on the Lord for His wisdom.  When I listened to the sermons, I heard no false doctrine. 

Jesus was lifted up; the cross and the blood of Christ were spoken of; the holiness of God, repentance was one of the main themes, as well as the forgiveness that comes with repentance. The Messiah is highly exalted and praised.  People are taught to worship the Lord and to obey Him.  How could anyone who taught such things be involved in witchcraft?  Indeed, how could they be?

The couple was very busy in those days and a private meeting never occurred.  Still, I returned to the church as led.  There had to be a good reason the Lord was directing me there, but why?  They had accepted me and welcomed me with open arms (and still do).  The whole group seemed genuine and I liked each person I met.  But no matter how much I liked them, the salvation of their souls was my concern. I wanted no blood on my hands.

I could not manage to arrange a private meeting.  Every attempt I made in a couple of texts and emails was thwarted due to their hectic schedule.  The enemy continued to shoot his fiery darts.  Confusion was like a whirlpool that threatened to suck me down and under.  As previously stated, I had not realized that the open door for the enemy was my weakened and pained physical condition, combined with the side effects of heavy meds.

The warfare against the demonic attack was constant. Serious searching of my heart seemed endless; the constant battling between my flesh and spirit, and desperate prayers exhausted me.  I poured out everything to the Lord, the good, the bad and the ugly. Help, Lord!  Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus searches the heart and tests our reins (our very core); every thought, intent and motive will bear fruit, whether it be good or whether it be rotten. 

We may be able to fool others, but we can never fool the Lord.  Satan may be able to fool (deceive) us, but the Lord will reveal truth when we look to Him for His help and intervention.  He allows our faith and everything else about us to be tried.  During those dark days I did confess everything to a close friend and sister in Christ who has known me for several years, and shared with her how I was struggling with ‘self’

I also let her know how schizophrenic I felt, even confessing that when I had awoken with tears and groaning from the pain, I had blurted out to the Lord that it was enough and to take me home, as well as declaring the cruelty of the test. Job certainly experienced the cruelty of Satan.  We too will share in that experience during many of our trials and tribulations.  Then, almost immediately after my desperate pleas, I would repent and weep bitterly for having spoken them hastily.  Never do I want to complain or grumble to the Lord, but there are times I reckon I have done so and had to repent.

My friend listened and graciously comforted me with encouraging words on the phone, as well as via texts and emails.  She lifted me up in prayer, but never once condemned me, even confessing some of the things she struggled with in the past and present.  She strengthened me by listening, sharing and praying, though she may not realize it – a true friend and woman of God. We are to be accountable and responsible.  Fellow Christians help us to achieve this, which is but one of the reasons that we are instructed not to forsake gathering together.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.  [Heb 10:25]

It was obeying the leading of the Lord to go to the prayer meeting early that glorious Tuesday that finally allotted me the opportunity to speak with the pastor and his wife privately and confess the unsettling thoughts that had so greatly concerned me regarding them.  They too were gracious, albeit shocked at the news. But that did not stop them from praying that night for my knee when healing took place.  All is well between us now too.

It was not until recently that I had shared with the pastor that the Lord had shown me how my discernment had been hindered by the opiates that had not only disoriented and confused me, but sometimes made me irritable and impatient.  He told me that he too had been down that road.  How liberating it is when brethren share struggles and experiences!  He completely understood. 

Praise be to God! It was due to the Father’s precious and Holy Spirit that my spirit prevailed and that my faith did not fail me. That was strike three for Satan, but he never plays by any rules.  He was not done yet, and the Lord was going to allow it for the purpose of good in the end.

It was about that time that I had posted “Beware the Days” (first week of June), adding that I would soon post a message called “Comfort My People”.  But it was not yet to be.  Healing is a wonderful testimony to which Jesus is glorified, but God, in His wisdom, had more He wanted to accomplish.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end (hope, future)[Jer 29:11]

Due to the length of this message, I have had to divide it up in sections.  The next section will be posted tomorrow.  Great is His love for His creation.  It is no coincidence or happenstance that you have “stumbled” upon this message, or that you decided to check out this site.  God has His hand upon you, whether you know it or not.

Proceed to Part 3

for His glory

Bonita                        dovesofthevalleys4@gmail.com

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