Tag Archives: Devil

Denying Sin

Standard

002

“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 ~ 1

Standard

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Standard
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

 

Receiving His Grace

Standard

This is part four in an ongoing series about some health trials I’ve been walking through, thanks for joining us!  If you’d like to get caught up, here are links to parts One, Two, and Three.


It occurs to me that I’ve left you dangling.  Rope in hand, sunlit tree in the distance.  Course by now you realize I survived the Cardiac Cath.  My ghost isn’t typing these words.

I’ll be honest with you.  In the beginning I was only prepared for one piece of bad news.  You know the woman in the Bible who had the 12-year bleeding problem (found in Matthew 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8)?  I was experiencing the same issue, albeit, for not nearly as long.  But having been there, it gives me insight to her longing … her need … to touch Jesus.  The faith that she had that if only …

If He were walking by me I would have done the same thing.  Wouldn’t you?

Of course I’m not able to have the Master just happen by my town; but in my way I did the same thing.  I ran to Jesus for healing – for coping – for solace – for peace.

I was prepared to have my standard mammography.  I wasn’t prepared to find something suspicious in my breast.  I was prepared that doctors would discover that I needed surgery to correct my bleeding issue.  I wasn’t prepared for cancer to be the whispered, yet unconfirmed, diagnosis.  But when pre-op work started and doctors zeroed in on my heart, having never experienced any symptoms, I wasn’t at all prepared for them to find an abnormality.

What my cardiologist originally called a “slight” blockage became, with the help of the ‘eyes’ of the Cath, a 100% blockage in the artery they call “The Widowmaker”.  One. Hundred. Percent.  I shudder to think what might have happened.  What becomes wholly amazing from this experience is how fantastic God’s creation really is.  I most likely didn’t experience any symptoms because my body had been making a network of veins to circumvent the blockage.

In any event – the doctor was able to tunnel his way through the obstruction and insert a stent.  Post op drugs now delay my surgery for at least a month.

So I wait.  Experiencing more pain, it seems, with each passing day.  I have no one to lean on but God.  I have no mercy to ask for but from Jesus.  No relief but pop two tabs of Tylenol when the pain strikes.  I kid.  My relief comes from fully knowing that He is still with me, watching over me.  That He is in control and His plans for me haven’t changed.  How do I know that?

Because He told me.

I’ve told you before about a time of particularly deep prayer that occurred about six years ago when God laid out my future.  It was desperately needed at the time.  I was coming out of a swift, but severe, bout of depression and had rediscovered Him.  When all had crashed down around me and I was utterly bankrupt in all facets of life, I needed to know that I had a future.  That there was purpose and design to my life.  Our God, who is so faithful, graciously showed me mine.

The future that God initially laid out for me then is complete except for the last thing (writing the book), which is in progress.  So a little thread of worry did invade my consciousness just before the Cath.  Was I a ticking time bomb?  Would I die on the table?  I was kicking myself for not writing faster, for completing the book that God said I would write.  Actually, he said books – plural – and about a year ago revealed more of my future.  But everything I was experiencing was enough to conjure a small trickle of doubt that could easily have been ridden by Satan if Jesus hadn’t been so quick to comfort me.

God stopped the hamster wheel that sometimes is my brain and quickly, unquestionably, gave me this verse:

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind.

Does He speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfill?  ~ Numbers 23:19 (ESV)     

My breath catches in my throat.  The last six words bring tears to my eyes.  “Does He promise and not fulfill?”

No.  No, He doesn’t.

God doesn’t lie.  He doesn’t change His mind.  He is steadfast.  He is faithful to keep His promises.

Once again I am driven to my knees in gratitude as the veil between Earth and Heaven is peeled back and I get a glimmer of understanding of just how much God loves me.  So much that He would shut a door the devil might walk through, seek to remove my worry, quiet any discontent that might make its way into my heart, mind, or soul over this situation.

He reminds me that He is in control.  He is on the throne.  He is faithful.

All the glory to Abba Father.  I am overwhelmed by His grace.

There’s more to come … see you next time!

Choose Your God

Standard

The first part of this tale began last Wednesday.  If you want to catch yourself up, you can do it here.  Don’t worry, we’ll be here waiting for you.


 

When I first heard that there was something suspicious in my right breast.  I fell on my knees before God asking Him to come to my aid, to walk with me, to receive and be confident of His glorious peace.  He gave it … instantly.  I was almost immediately calmed and feeling as though a blanket of supreme peace and endless love was surrounding me.  Then the weirdest thing happened.

It was as if I knew deep down in my bones that the peace came from acceptance … from making the decision to be totally reliant on God.  And almost as suddenly I realized … clearly understood … that whatever the outcome of the biopsy, I would be fine because my King and my Savior was with me.

It reminds me of a time a few years ago when I was relocating from Arizona to Florida where, in the middle of the great State of Texas, I got tangled up with a semi-tractor trailer.  Somehow he’d lost control of his rig and suddenly the massive truck was drifting quickly into my lane.  I had nowhere to go but into the grassy median … at 85 miles an hour.  I immediately called on the name of Jesus in furious fashion to save me from impending doom – kinda like, “Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus save me!”  Certainly it was only through Him my car didn’t roll and after I’d reentered the highway, I proceeded off the next exit to spend some time thanking Him and collecting my wits.

In hindsight, Jesus had me safe the entire time. There were so many things that could have gone wrong and didn’t (obstacles in the median removed, a sudden lack of other traffic) that it was obvious He was in full and complete control.  But one of the most interesting outcomes to that incident came a few hours later when I fully realized that if I hadn’t made it, I would have gone to heaven, and that would have been all right.

When you realize that you are not afraid of death, your whole world changes.

I got the biopsy done and everyone rejoiced at the news of no malignancy.  Yet, the doctors weren’t done with me yet.  The day before my biopsy, I’d had a pelvic MRI.  It now seemed that two masses had taken up residence inside me.

On one hand, I already knew something was wrong down there.  My original trip to the doctor was because of pain and bleeding so when they found the breast issue in a routine mammogram, it was insult to injury.  A courtroom sidebar that was eventually ruled in my favor.  “Step back.” I envision the judge saying afterward, because we’re not done.  The main culprit was now being led into the courtroom.  The trial is being called to order.  Will I again experience victory?  Be found blameless of all charges?

Pre-op testing begins.  This doctor, that doctor. This test, that test.  All to discover that we still know nothing … and won’t know until the criminals are cut out of me and examined in the operating room.

“It’s suspicious,” they say in quiet tones.

It was while I was awaiting more blood work that I found myself glancing through the doctor’s orders and found a diagnosis she had written … endometrial cancer.  I shake my head and look to God.

‘She’s not the boss of me,’ I whisper with a smile.

I think I feel Jesus wink.

And then the dreams begin and evil lurks to take my mind off my Savior.  To tear the fabric of my faith just enough to allow his lies in to aggravate my peace … which is His peace.

I try to remain faithful and find it’s a lot easier to cling to your faith when you know who you’re battling.  Certainly no friend or family is speaking lies into my ear.  It is only one.  The only one who believes he has the right to intervene, to tear down, to destroy.

I awake from the dream I mentioned in the last post.  A dream with a dear friend in it who passed into the arms of Jesus two years ago.  She won’t look at me but I notice she is younger, strikingly beautiful.  I gesture to her and see the cigarette in my hand.

Awake!

I’m upset that the devil was in my dreams … again.  And that is when I start to contemplate the interlopers in my body.  In the pre-dawn dark my mind begins to generate the questions that will disturb God’s peace.  Why are the masses there?  Will I live through the surgery?  Will they be found cancerous?

A non-audible voice unexpectedly bursts my concentration.

“Whom will you serve, Felecia, them or Me?”  The thought chills me to my core.

“Choose your God.”

I shudder realizing how easy it was to slip into anxiousness and begin to weep.

“You Lord,” I whisper into darkened room.  “Only You.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is more, of course.  The Lord has not finished ministering to me yet; and the ways in which He chooses to do so are remarkable.

Please join me on Monday for the rest of the story … at least this side of the pending surgery.

Have a glorious weekend!

Devilish Dreams

Standard

How can I explain these dreams of the devil? If you’ve been reading me for any length of time you’re aware that one of my spiritual gifts is dreams and visions.  Knowing that, it makes sense that the devil uses this gifting to try and speak to me, to attempt to sway me, to confuse my mind and mislead me.  Aware of his proclivity to utilize what God has given, I accept the responsibility to be ever vigilant to his methods of warfare.

But these days, I find myself happily dreaming away through the night, only to awaken at some point with the realization that the message I’m receiving is not what it appears to be.  That just around the edges of the dream is something sinister.  Like a vapid thread that if pulled would unravel the very cheerful picture before me and cause me to tumble straight into depths of some kind of hell.

That what I thought was a pleasurable dream was really just a deception.  Where bad memories lurk just below the surface and a wee spot of angst that develops in the dream quickly festers and bubbles and boils until it becomes frustration and threatens to morph into outright anger.

Did you know that in these dreams I always seem to be smoking?  That smoking was a terrible vice that held me in its grip for decades.  Somehow I think the devil wants me to remember those days as if they were great and good and pleasing – when in truth they were years of isolation and smelly clothes and hair and decaying gums and rotting organs.  Oh the joys of smoking!

Contrary to what the devil may wish, his inclusion of me smoking in the dream has been the very reason I know he’s orchestrating the dream.  That the dream which seems pleasant enough and happy enough ends abruptly when I realize that there is a cigarette in my hand.  I rapidly awake … knowing I’ve been played.  That the evil one is near.

You see, there is something I haven’t discussed with you, and the devil has been sniffing around my heels happy to make it the focus of my heart and soul.

There is something suspicious in my body.

That’s what doctors say when they don’t want to say the c-word.

“It’s suspicious.”

I envision the doctor on the other end of the phone repeating these words to me.  Mouth grim, head bowed, maybe even a slight nod in genuine concern.

My mind blanks.  This is not what I expected to hear.

Suspicious sounds like what it is.  Like something not quite right … precarious and nebulous … something hidden just beyond the scope of what we can see or know.

Suspicious … drawn out long … a snake’s hiss.

Was I going to let what someone calls suspicious to define me, shape me, proclaim my future?

It’s amazing how fast the devil will attack when you find yourself in a situation such as this.  Yet, it’s more remarkable how quickly the Lord responds when you run to Him.  Which is what I did.  Like a major league ball player trying to turn a single into a double with a long, buckle busting, belly-flopping slide into second.

How fast can I fall at His feet?

In a New York second.

I’ll be back on Friday with more of this ongoing story … please join me then.