Tag Archives: Spirits

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

Discerning the Spirits ~ 2

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devotionals

Part One of this post can be found here.

You’ll notice in Part One that I called some of the books I received ‘purportedly’ Christian.  Many were absolutely Christian, drawing from Scripture to impart strength and encouragement.  Yet there were others that at first glance were going to convey a biblical message but seldom did.  It’s in this manner that I believe Satan will sway the elect from God’s kingdom … at least one of his tools.

Those books spoke of Jesus and healing but only dappled in scripture.  I use a small ‘s’ because the authors had so watered-down or poorly interpreted the true Word of God that it was almost unrecognizable.  There was only one of those books that I actually appreciated – not because of what it stated – but because the author, a Reverend Capps, used disclaimers throughout his work.  He fully informed the reader that he was rephrasing and summarizing Scripture and that if the reader wanted to know the true Word, they should look up the listed references.  Hey, at least he was honest and didn’t try to make a pseudo-Christian book look legit.

There have only been a few books that I’ve come across in my life that were worse.  If you’ve read me for a while, you’ve grown accustomed with my gift of Discernment.  Over the years, it has only gotten stronger and when I begin to read a book or hear a message that isn’t authentic or that might be from an adversarial spirit my spiritual gifting kicks into high gear.  I’ll either turn off the message, get away from the person, or close the book and throw it away and we’ll end this series by talking about ways to increase your ability to discern.

But the book that led me to write these posts is an especially good example of our adversary using a pseudo-Christian platform to sway followers.  I was thinking about this devotional along with the other books I’d received that were either watered down Christianity or maybe not Christian at all.

Why is it that we (Christians) turn to the nonessential reading material to soothe our worries, fears, and anxieties and don’t just open and read the Bible?  Honestly, isn’t that why God gave it to us?

When the Samaritan Women at Jacob’s Well doesn’t quite understand Jesus’ offer …

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever!” (John 4:13-14a)

she asked Him to give her the water He speaks of so she won’t have to keep coming to the well to draw water; she’s looking for Jesus to make her life easier, more convenient. (John 4:15)

She didn’t initially realize that He, His Spirit, and His Word is His life-giving water.

Like this woman, we want the convenience.  When I was walking away from God I conveniently made up my own religion – for convenience.  It suited me perfectly.  I still carted my Bible around but was no longer “in it.”  But through the years I’ve met people who choose to read a devotional instead of the Bible and others who don’t read the Bible or any Christian literature at all.  Every decision is an act to give ourselves a convenience.

The fact is – we don’t need devotionals.  We don’t need anything other than Jesus – His Spirit and His Word.  I’ll never forget the story of the man who planted over 500 churches in India.  A pastor from the States went to find out what kind of teaching material the man was using to grow and sustain these Christians.  The man was confused by the question. “What material?”  He asked.  “We read the Bible and do what it says.”

How many of us read devotionals alongside the Bible?  I do and am willing to bet that most of you do too.  Please know that in no way am I damning devotional material.  Devotionals make me think in different ways about the Scriptures (and some of my favorites are in the picture above).  The Holy Spirit may use them to convict me of a sin, or Jesus might use them to get me to read the referenced scripture so He can go in deep and really teach me something.  That’s actually one of my favorite uses of devotionals – to open up my heart and head to learn something new from my Savior.

Next up:  I’ll discuss the devotional that may be on everyone’s bookshelf, but because of my background in New Age philosophies, shakes me to my spiritual core.

See you then.

Felecia

Discerning the Spirits ~ 1

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Ever since I learned in the Bible that during the end times Satan will use anything and anyone to sway believers to follow him, I’ve wondered how that might happen.

False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  ~ Matthew 24:24

“Even the elect.”  That is us, Christ Follower.

It chills me to my bones.

As a born-again Christian I consider myself one of the “elect” [typically any gentile or Jew who believes in Jesus (Yahweh) as the Messiah].  I ‘grew up in the church’ (as they say) but as I got older I still attended Psychic Fairs with friends in Connecticut … having fun whilst paying good money to people we weren’t sure had any true skills.  It was a lark but we loved it and only sometimes thought there might be some validity in what the seer said to us.

Yet, when I got to college in Colorado, I found myself in one of the New Age meccas of the US and slowly began to explore this strange world.  I experimented with much of the New Age philosophies and found I enjoyed the use of and excelled in creative visualization, tarot card reading, eastern and western astrology, throwing runes, the I-Ching, meditation, and even feng shui; which is not technically New Age but an ancient Chinese system of thought connecting the placement of objects to affect the energy (chi) of the universe.

When Shirley MacLaine’s book Out on a Limb was published in 1983 I devoured it like it was candy and tried (unsuccessfully) to astral project.  I stopped before too long because I became concerned that my soul might separate from my body.

As time went on I melded the New Age ideas I enjoyed with Native American beliefs I was learning, and my old friend, Christianity – rolling it all up into a great gooey ball of gobbledygook that served me just fine.  Satisfied me.  Played right into my hand.  I didn’t have a god in charge of me – I was in charge and had supporting players … God, the universe, my spirit animal totem, the sun, moon, winds, etc.

What some may not know about New Age, is that its practitioners will dip into any theology, even the Bible, when it suits their purpose.  No world religion or spiritual practice is untouchable.  They take Scripture out of context and apply it to any situation they need … which is probably one reason why I’m now such a stickler for using the Word as it is intended by God.

In using scripture, for a New-Ager’s purpose, most of the time a word or two will be missing from the verse (or the whole verse might not be utilized) in order to make it more powerful for their use.  One of the most often used verses is:

He [the Lord] says, “Be still, and know that I am God …” ~ Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

The context of this verse is God talking to nations who like to make war and the Holmen Christian Standard Bible actually translates it to: “Stop your fighting-and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10 HCSB)

However, when you take the first half of this verse out of context it becomes just words that are especially good when used as a chant during meditation.

Be still and know that I am God.

You see, New Agers believe that God is within every one of us.  Not like the Holy Spirit residing within Christians, but that god is a universal life-force that anyone can call on.  In using this verse New Agers cut off the first few words (they state that God is talking) and intone “Be still and know that I am God.”  The “be still” part draws them into meditation … be still, be still, be still … and then the whammy – “Know that I am God.”  “Know that I am God.”  “Know that I am God.”

Do you catch what they are saying to themselves?

“I AM GOD.”

Once I gave my life fully to Christ and denounced all the other beliefs, I’ve walked the Christian road becoming stronger and stronger in the Lord.  Many of my friends and other Christians are on the same course – striving to know God, to surrender daily, to walk in His will.  Because I know the deep love and commitment I have for Jesus, I’m bewildered that Satan could sway me or any one of my friends.  Preposterous!  It couldn’t be done.

Or could it?

It may already be happening.

When I was diagnosed with cancer many friends and family gave me books to help pass the time and lift my spirits.  Some books were secular and some books purportedly Christian and all givers were very well-meaning.  I love and appreciate anyone who took the time to tell me they were thinking of, praying for, or loving me and/or my parents.  Community coming together to aid in the care of the sick utterly warmed my heart and gave me immeasurable strength.  I’ve said on numerous occasions during my recovery that I actually felt prayers.  They curled around me like a soft warm blanket of love and gave me a reassuring sense of peace.  Never doubt the power of prayer!  But now I’m headed down a rabbit hole on prayer so I’ll stop now and see you on Wednesday.

In the next post I’ll talk about a book that has wormed it’s way into many Christian homes and is the basis for this series of posts.  Afterward, some tips to grow your discernment. There has never been such a time to be strong, dear Christian.  There is so much I want – need – to say about growing in your discernment and being able to accurately discern the spirits that are getting stronger and more insistent as the Lord tarries.

I hope I’ll see you then,

Felecia