What I Should Have Said

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Yesterday I embarrassed myself gushing on about farm fresh eggs and how happy they make me.

Yesterday I also woke up (too late to edit the post)  thinking that I should have entitled it “One Weird Thing” and that I’d missed my chance to ask you at the end of it – what one thing made you happy.

So I’m going to do that next Monday.  Please be thinking of what one weird thing makes you happy.  It may have come to your mind when you read yesterday’s post or it may have just popped into your mind when I asked the question just now but … let’s share.

I think it might be a little bit fascinating.

I dated a guy once who rode a Harley and loved the sight of the front fender when it was clean and polished and gleaming in the sunlight.  He tried to explain it to me (the curve, the glint off the chrome …) but where I saw a utilitarian piece of metal, he felt some deeply-rooted satisfaction that gave him joy.  The cool thing is that I’ve never looked at the front fender of a Harley in the same, boring, way again.

Like farm-fresh eggs or the curve of a sparkling fender, there may be no rhyme nor reason for why that thing triggers happiness, joy, fulfillment, or contentment in you … and I’m not here to try and figure it out.  Hey, I’m loopy for fresh eggs in a bowl, for heaven’s sake!  So no explanations will be necessary (unless you’d like to share one) but next Monday I’m going to share one other weird thing that makes me wildly happy and in the comments, I’ll be asking you to share yours too.

Who knows?  Hearing what makes each other happy may just open our eyes to all the little joys we take for granted in this world.

I want to experience that thing through your eyes.

Felecia

A Silly Monday Post

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There is something inherently beautiful about eggs straight from the farm and fresh from the chicken and I get all sorts of wonky when I have an opportunity to obtain some.

It may stem from growing up in Connecticut where we had farm-fresh eggs available to us within a mile or two in every direction.  It felt like a covert operation to drive to a farm, find the table with eggs set upon it, leave a dollar under the rock (it was always a rock), leave a used egg carton if you could, and make off with a carton of this delicious forbidden fruit.

When I was living in Arizona I, quite literally, hunted for the exceptional vessel that would be deemed worthy to hold my eggs.  With their blues, browns, ivories, and whites; they became a patchwork art that changed daily with use.   This berry bowl made the grade.  Is it very weird that padding out to the kitchen after a good night’s sleep and seeing this bowl full of eggs makes me so very happy?

If I know hen-fresh eggs are available somewhere, I’ll go through any sort of hurdle to obtain these beautiful little ovoid shells.  Such yummy goodness!  Surely, when God was leading the Israelite’s into paradise, He was talking about the land of milk and honey and farm-fresh eggs.

May God bless us all with His abundant provision.

Felecia

ScripturePicture: Psalm 103:15

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Psalm 103-15

Some flowers like the Bird of Paradise grow so slowly that we’d be happy to have their lifespan worked out into human years.  But others, like the Hibiscus, bloom and die within one day.

Verse 16 of Psalm 103 goes on to state:  “the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

Our days are numbered on this planet, so make every day count for the Kingdom!

 

Denying Sin

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“The Bible’s not working for you.”

Her words stung like water crackling on a hot pan and my blood ran cold.  It was her way of saying God’s not working for me.  My heart sunk.

The hard truth was … she was right, in a way.

I had been denying my sin.

I hadn’t confessed it, hadn’t repented of it, hadn’t asked for forgiveness, hadn’t received God’s glorious grace.

I’d stuffed it down inside like no one could see it.

But everyone could see it … even God.

And while everyone looked the other way, God didn’t.  He had to call me up on my game of hide and seek.  I hid and He sought and found and used this woman to bring me back round to Him.

Thank you, Lord.

Even through the silent tears and the hurt and the embarrassment of my sin being found out … thank you.

Because now I can move forward.  Now I can confess it all to Him and receive His grace and mercy.  Now I can ask Him for the help I so desperately need and faithfully, He will provide.

He will strengthen me.  He will lead me away from sin.

What sin did I commit?  Does it matter?  God cannot look upon sin and I want Him watching me … always.  I wish for nothing other than His constant, unfiltered, undeniable love.

Will there be more sin?  Of course.  We are sinful beings.

But today, I’ve repented and have been forgiven. I’ve received His grace and mercy.  I stand in the light once again, free.

Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.  ~ Psalm 51:1

Glorious Father, why do I believe I can hide my sins from you and somehow You’ll overlook them?  Keep me forever in Your grace Lord, searching out my heart and finding the sin that creeps inside and tries to hide from the One who knows all.  Help me Lord to quickly remove myself from temptation when my flesh or the world or the devil hungers to sin against You.  Let me be a source of light to those around me and not an overturned basket hiding sin in the dark.  In Jesus’ magnificent name, Amen.

For more of one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible, please read David’s Prayer for Restoration in Psalm 51.

 

 

 

Heightening Your Discernment ~ 3

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This is the last post of a three-part series to bring you ways you can increase your discernment – Part One is here and Part Two here.  It’s an appendix in the book Another Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith and have supplemented it in some cases with my own opinion from my experience – which you’ll find in italics.

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Before I close out this series I need to go back and clarify two issues from Part Two.

In #5 in which Mr. Smith says “Do not seek signs, wonders, and spiritual experiences.”  I stand by what I said originally but want to clarify:  I absolutely believe that God still speaks in signs, wonders, and spiritual experiences.  God will use anything and anyone to get His message across.  For me, He has used people, songs, birds, and even secular books to solidify a point.  My faith has been built on His Word and the spiritual experiences He’s given to me.  What I want to stress is to be careful in interpreting any sign, wonder, or spiritual experience you encounter.

I’ve known people who have become so fixated on a sign that they stop looking to Jesus Himself.  I’ve had friends tell me that they asked for a sign and then God said “this” in a cloud but the next morning He said “that” in the waves of the ocean.  Our God is not a God of confusion.  Just like the issues I have with Jesus Calling, He is and was and always will be – unchangeable.  As much as we should test the spirits – test the signs you think you see.  This is why we need to continually grow our discernment.

Secondly, I stated under point #7 that I don’t believe angels are spirits.  A dear friend pointed out that in Hebrews 1:14 when the author is comparing Jesus to angels he says:

“Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation?”

That also reminded me that all demons were originally angels fallen from God’s grace.  So I stand corrected.  Angels are spirits too.  Somewhere along the line I guess I just made an internal decision that angels (good) spirits (bad) and that vernacular leaked out into the blog.  I should be more careful!  Mea culpa.

Now – on to the last example to heighten your discernment:

9.  Gird up the loins of your mind. Take every thought captive for Christ. Fight the good fight.  Contend for the faith.  Let God’s truth continually preserve you.

  • Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 1:13
  • … since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
  • Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses. ~ 1 Timothy 6:12
  • Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. ~ Jude 1:3
  • Teach me Your way, Yahweh, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name.  ~ Psalm 86:11
  • Lord, do not withhold Your compassion from me; Your constant love and truth will always guard me. ~ Psalm 40:11

Take every thought captive for Christ.  Guarding your mind is so vitally important!  When I read the book Another Jesus Calling I was overcome by compassion for my friends and other Christians who have been reading (and loving) Jesus Calling … a book I believe is not at all from Jesus.  Within one day I heard Ms. Young was releasing another new version and my heart sank.  How many Christians (fans and/or followers) are being held in the grip of this spirit who is speaking for Jesus?

Please be wary about anything that comes into your mind that is not of God or godly. Learn to see it and oust it before it starts working on you.

I was listening to a talk by Jenn Johnson (Bethel Church) recently and she reminded me about viewing everything with a Kingdom perspective and to not let yourself get mired down in the negativity that has become our society these days.  She’s right and it’s a word we all need to hear time and time again.

Step away, because you are set apart!

In His Love,

Felecia

Heightening Your Discernment ~ 2

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This is the second post of a three-part series to bring you ways you can increase your discernment – Part One is here.  It’s an appendix in the book Another Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith and I have supplemented it with my own opinion or from my experience – which you’ll find in italics.

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5.  Do not seek signs and wonders and spiritual experiences.

  • But sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? I assure you, no sign will be given to this generation!” ~ Mark 8:12

In this passage, the Pharisee’s were harassing Jesus to prove over and over again that He was who He said He was.  He was done with their demands for a sign. In my experience, I’ve found it’s quite common to ask God for confirmation of something you believe He’s telling you.  If it is He who is doing the   telling, He will give the confirmation.  We are not to test God in anything other than tithing. Malachi 3:10 is the only place in the Bible where the Lord says we can test Him.

When we start asking God for signs, we run the risk of asking God to confirm what we want – to bless our will – rather than seek to do His will.  We can also develop a type of tunnel-vision by focusing on the “sign” that we become unable to even hear God’s voice in the matter.

I do believe that God still speaks in signs, wonders, and experiences to us – but not when we ask for them.  We need to keep our hearts open always to hear from Him.

6.  Do not get involved with undiscerning believers who are listening to and heeding deceptive spirits (or consulting with familiar spirits).

  • Do not turn to mediums or consult spiritists, or you will be defiled by them. I am Yahweh, your God. ~ Leviticus 19:31
  • No one among you is to … practice divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery, cast spells, consult a medium or a familiar spirit, or inquire of the dead. Everyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord … ~ Deuteronomy 18:10a-12a

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What can I say? If your best friend is the Long Island Medium, I’d say good-bye.  Lots of people dismiss the authenticity of mediums, psychics, and other seers but I can’t because by warning me away from them, my God tells me they exist.  I mentioned last week that I used to go to Psychic Fairs as a kid because they were fun.  Many of the “seers” there were just making stuff up, but on a couple of occasions, I could tell the person really had a gift.  Today, you would not catch me within a mile of such a place.  The temptation is always there but my God gives me the ability, through His Holy Spirit, to not succumb to the temptation.

In today’s society, if people you know are gravitating toward these types of spiritualists, do not consort with them.  You may have to break all ties, but Satan would like nothing better than for you to disobey God.  Your eternal home is on the line.

7.  If you’re confronted with a spiritual presence test the spirit and pray for wisdom and discernment from God. You may also, by faith, ask God to take the presence away if it’s not from Him because “greater is He that is within you, than he who is in the world.” 

  • Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you know the spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now. You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:1-4
  • Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. ~ James 1:5-7

I love the Holy Spirit but, in general, I don’t like spirits.  I don’t believe there is any reason for a “good spirit” to be on earth.  I also don’t believe angels are spirits – they are angels – a separate entity altogether.  There have been many times when I’ve felt evil emanating from a person, and many times I’ve asked God to rebuke and remove the devil and his demons from my presence.  There have also been a few times when I’ve felt an angelic presence. 

The latest was during a late night stop at my post office box.  The parking lot was empty but lights burned brilliantly inside.  I’d turned off my car and immediately felt a presence.  I actually looked up on the roof of the post office believing I’d see something but saw nothing.  Somehow I had the distinct impression that this was a protective angel.  Still in my car I peered out into the night realizing that there were many nooks and crannies in which someone could be lurking.  The ‘feeling’ of the presence hadn’t gone away and I checked the roof again.  I prayed quickly to God thanking Him for his protection and made my way quickly into the post office.  I didn’t linger there and walked as quickly back to my car.  The angelic presence was still palpable which interested me because I believed I was “safe” back in the confines of my locked car.  I started the engine and made my way back to the highway, and home.  The presence continued to stay with me for about five minutes of the drive and then abated.  I often wonder what he was guarding me against and why he stayed with me even after I left the Post Office.  I’ll never know, and that’s okay by me!

8.  Love the truth. Be valiant for the truth. The Bible warns of the consequences concerning those who do not have a love of the truth.  They can become deceived and fall away.

  • The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

I believe this is what we’re seeing today.  It’s not that a Christian wakes up one morning and declares, “I’m no longer a lover of the truth.”  It’s the itching ears syndrome (2 Timothy 4:3).  They long to hear God but turn to other books and experiences instead of the Bible to hear Him speak.  Christian, please remember that the only truth is found in the Bible.  The Scriptures are your true North – nothing else.

I’ll be back on Monday with one last tip and to wrap up this series.  Thanks for hanging in there.  Have a wonderful weekend and please let me know if you’ve ever had to test the spirits!

In His Awesome Name,

Felecia

Heightening Your Discernment ~ 1

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This is the first post of a three-part series to bring you ways you can increase your discernment.  I found this list as an appendix in the book Another Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith and have supplemented it in some cases with my own opinion or advice which you’ll find in italics.

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I was rebuked in a comment last week for boasting about my gift of discernment.  I hope I truly didn’t come across as prideful.  I use this gift for the edification of the church – to warn you from what I see happening under our noses.  I am committed to lifting up the Church and certainly don’t want any of my brothers and sisters in Christ to be swayed in these last days.

That being said, here are some ways to be more discerning:

  1. Be sure you are in the true faith following the One True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and the One True Savior, Jesus Christ.
    • Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless you fail the test. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5

We are to continually test ourselves.  The words ‘test’ and ‘examine’ in this Scripture are in present tense meaning it’s something we should do consistently.  Ask God to show you if you’ve strayed off the mark.

  1. Measure everything by God’s word.
    • … they [the Bereans] welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. ~ Acts 17:11b
    • Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15
    • All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This is the easiest way to see if you are within the adversary’s target.  So very often he comes at me with a saintly voice, even quoting scripture.  It may take a minute or two of me believing that the Holy Spirit is impressing something to me when suddenly he trips up and I find the crack in his message.  He deviates off of what God would NOT say.  Ooooo I get so mad!  I think I’ve even shaken my fist at the devil.  “Try and sway me, will you?  NO WAY!” 

BUT, in order to have this work for you, you have to get to know the Scriptures.  So open your Bible and start reading! It’s the only way you’ll be able to detect the devil’s lies.

  1. Don’t be ignorant of our adversary’s schemes and devices. Be sober. Be vigilant.  Be prayerful.  Be watchful.
    • I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes. ~ 2 Corinthians 2:11

This is a most sobering call to arms.  How many people have I met who call themselves Christian and yet do not believe in the devil?  It boggles the mind.  Luckily, I think these people are safe.  Why should the devil bother with those who don’t believe in him?  He’s already got them.  (That’s not scriptural, that’s my opinion!)  The problem is, he will use those people, those seemingly Christian, to get to you.

Additionally, don’t give the devil more credit than he’s due – but neither should you limit him.   I met two Christian women once who told me that the devil can’t get inside our dreams.  Is it safe to be that ignorant?  The devil is the prince of this world, and while he is limited to what he can do to us by God, God has most assuredly allowed him into my dreams.

  1. Pray for discernment. Ask God, as did Solomon, for spiritual discernment to help you determine good from bad, right from wrong, truth from deception.
    • So give Your servant an obedient heart to judge Your people and to discern between good and evil. ~ 1 Kings 3:9a

In this post-modern world where the lines between good and evil are increasingly blurred, this is a prayer we should pray daily to help keep us on our toes.   

Stay with me this week for more ways to increase your discernment.

In His awesome name,

Felecia

Discerning the Spirits ~ 3

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Discerning the Spirits ~ 3

 

This is Part Three of a series.  Please see Parts One and/or Two if you’re lost.  We’ll be right here when you return.

The devotional was given to me some time ago.  I’m pretty sure I asked for it for Christmas one year.  Hey, all of my friends were reading and gushing over it, I had to have it too.

What a mistake.  My unease began with the wording used in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Surely Jesus wouldn’t sound so slick and smarmy.  I remember only reading through a couple of weeks before back-tracking to the Introduction to find out more about the author.  What I found there solidified my distrust of the message.

When I began to point out the obvious weaknesses to my friends, I was met with an attitude of disdain and sometimes downright anger at my suggestion that their beloved book might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

I was (and am) worried.  Some Christians have become so attached to this book that I wonder if they unconsciously hold it more valuable than the Bible.

It’s my sincere belief that Satan is going to sway the elect with this type of carefully crafted pseudo-Christian rubbish.  We can already see it all around us – pastors who water down the Gospel, churches that completely dismiss parts of the Bible, and writers who say they’re Christian but then don’t hold to a biblical standard.  Regrettably, there are a lot these days … authors you may have come to trust and suddenly go high-right in their theology, walking away from the Truth.

I’m not going to bore you with everything that’s wrong with the book because there are other excellent writers that detail the issues (I’ve given a small list at the end).  But I am going to bring up a couple significant issues that should stand out as red-flag warnings for Christians.  When we read things that raise the hackles on our neck or give us pause – even for an instant – our discernment capabilities should raise up like the robot on Lost in Space flailing its arms, “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”

Let’s review a few of the facts:

  1. Sarah Young says she is channeling Jesus.

When I’ve spoken to my friends and acquaintances who are readers (and lovers) of Jesus Calling, this is what I hear as push back:

  • But some of it is soooo gooooood.
  • It’s not all bad.
  • Oh, there are some parts that I gloss over but most of it is great.

These types of statements tell me that the reader has already realized there are issues with the book and yet, is unable to stop reading it.  Doesn’t that sound like an addiction?  “I know it’s not good for me but I still partake.”  Who is the one who wants to keep us in chains?

You’re willing to listen to the devil’s lies because “the rest of it is so good?”  Are you kidding me?

He is swaying … even the elect.

  1. Sarah Young says she is channeling Jesus.

Yes, that was my first point but now the biblical side.  Don’t we read in Deuteronomy 18:10-12a (emphasis mine):

“No one among you is to make his son or daughter pass through the fire, practice divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery, cast spells, consult a medium or a familiar spirit, or inquire of the dead. Everyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD,” 

Why would the LORD, break His own word and come to us through the medium Sarah Young?  It’s absurd.  You might as well just throw away the Bible because Sarah Young and Jesus just conspired to make the Bible what every atheist and unbeliever says it is – just a pretty good novel.

Let’s also remember Leviticus 20:27-28 (emphasis mine):

“You are to be holy to Me because I, Yahweh, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be Mine.  A man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist must be put to death. They are to be stoned; their blood is on their own hands.”

Again, why would Yahweh suddenly change His mind and decide mediums were acceptable?  I thought He was unchangeable? (See Hebrews 6:17-18)

  1. Sarah Young states she was inspired by the book God Calling.

Written in mid-1930, God Calling is a book by “Two Listeners” – unknown women who allegedly sat one day with paper and pen in hand and waited for God to speak to them.  It’s a classic book in the New-Age arena and I stumbled across it in the early 1990’s.  Even though I wasn’t yet born-again, it felt slimy to me and I didn’t read much of it.  One listener writes on their website (emphasis mine):

“We felt all unworthy and overwhelmed by the wonder of it, and could hardly realize that we were being taught, trained and encouraged day by day by HIM personally, when millions of souls, far worthier, had to be content with guidance from the Bible, sermons, their Churches, books and other sources.

Oh, poor us. Forced to be content with guidance from the Bible.  What humiliation!

While I’m not disapproving of devotionals, I’m also not critical of sitting in your quiet time with your journal recording the impressions you receive after bible study or prayer.  But you still have to be cognizant of whom the impressions are coming from, because Satan will worm his way into your mind if he can.  Put on the full armor daily and take every thought captive to Christ! (Ephesians 6:11 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

I’ve told this story before but one day while living in Arizona, I came through an intense two-hour session of prayer and picked up my journal, chronicling my thoughts and emerged with a step-by-step plan of my future.  Four of the five stages have happened and the last one will conclude soon.  This was personal guidance from God.  The kind of guidance you receive when you read your Bible and pray to your Creator, your Redeemer, your Lord.

I did not have any doubt that what I’d written in my journal was direction from our Lord.  The first three phases were benign enough and I only started to receive pushback from the devil in steps four and five.  If I’d had any doubt, it would have been dispelled then.  Satan tried very hard (and almost succeeded) to end the fourth step before it ever began and has done his best to wreak havoc on the fifth and final step.  To no avail.  My God is stronger.

The main issue with Jesus Calling and God Calling is that I’m not quite sure what spirit is being channeled.  It doesn’t sound like Jesus in the pages, He wouldn’t use a medium to bring His word to His followers, and if He did decide that this was the way to go now – He has just negated His entire WORD.  You can’t just believe part of the Bible and dismiss the parts you don’t like.

Are you willing to continue to take the chance that who you’re reading is really Jesus?

Next week I’ll focus on how to become more discerning; because I believe that only a discerning mind is going to be able to see past the devil’s schemes in these last days.

In the meantime, check out these folks if you’re interested in a better and/or more complete reviews of the issues with this book:

Another Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith

Tim Challies Blog

Grace to You Blog