July 27 2015

The Gift of Discerning Spirits

discerning spiritsWhen I was a child I had a deathly fear of the dark. I was sure that something was going to get me. I know there are many children who are afraid of the dark, but this was an intense fear. I was so afraid that something was waiting to get me, that I could not go to sleep unless I was under the covers and in the middle of the bed. It would get to be over 100 degrees in the summer and I did not have air conditioning in my room. I would suffer through the heat of having the blanket on me, because it was the only thing separating me from certain evil.

I did eventually get over that fear of the dark as I got older, although it did last into my teen years. Once I did get over it I rarely thought back to that time. That is until about a year ago when suddenly I developed an intense fear of the dark again. It was at this same time that I was discovering my gift of discerning spirits. It only took me about a week to realize the connection between that childhood fear and my gift of discerning spirits.

Discerning spirits is one of the amazing gifts of the Holy Spirit. A person who has the gift of discerning spirits is able to either sense or see things in the spirit realm. That means that they can sense or see demons and angels. A person with discerning spirits can also get insight and information about spiritual things affecting other people, such as if they are oppressed or have a demonic influence in or around their person. This gift also comes with a strong desire to cast out the demonic spirits and free them from oppression. This gift flows out of a healthy relationship with the Holy Spirit, and is not something done in one’s own power.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13

As I began to discover my gift of discerning spirits I would notice different physical reactions when a demon or evil spirit was present. I would feel sick in the stomach, and shaky even though I wasn’t cold, fear and a revulsion. So when I began to have the fear of the dark again, I realized I was getting the same physical sensations as when I would sense a demon. It was a huge revelation for me, because I realized I had this gift since I was a child. I was not just afraid of the dark, I was actually sensing the presence of demons in my room.

For some the thought of sensing demons sounds very scary. I have to admit the first few times it happened to me I was scared. I really didn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t understand how I knew there were demons there in my friend’s house. I only knew that once I did realize I was sensing an evil spirit that I wanted to get rid of it! And really, that is the fun part. You see, Satan wants nothing more than to scare us. He is the great deceiver. And really it is all he has to use against those who have the authority of Jesus Christ in them. So he brings fear into us, to believe that his minions from hell can do horrible things to us. Demons may have power, but they do not have any authority, unless we give them ours. So often we believe his lies and just freely give over our authority. As much as the enemy would like us to believe they can harm us, we must remember that we are covered with the precious blood of Jesus, and have the authority by His name to tell them to go.

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Luke 9:1-2

It has been a long process for me over the past year as I have learned about my gift of discerning spirits. There is no talk of spiritual gifts in my church, and many people do not believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for believers today. The think that these gifts stopped being given out after the Bible was done being written. Some people get very uncomfortable when it comes to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They feel these gifts are strange and unpredictable. Unfortunately these are more lies of Satan. The enemy would love for us to not tap into the power that God has given us with His gifts. These leaves us weak and easy targets. It also causes separation in the church, as this issue is so divisive among believers.

After I got over my initial shock in discovering I did indeed have the gift of discerning spirits, I began to get very excited. I was experiencing my own demonic oppression and spiritual attack and my desire to free others began to grow intensely. I just wasn’t really sure what exactly I was supposed to do with this gift. It seemed a little strange to be able to sense demons and angels, because then what do you do with this information? God was preparing me for something much greater though!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

With my gift of discerning spirits I am also able to get information about people I wouldn’t otherwise know. Such as a sense of what they were feeling, what they needed prayer for, and if they were lying or not. I also had a great love of worship and feeling the presence of God. These things all help greatly when combined with a desire to help people. The most wonderful moment came when finally I was able to put all these things into practice!

It was at a night of healing at a local church that my husband and I attend. I had never been bold enough to go up and pray with someone who was looking for healing. I had also been very oppressed every other time I had ever gone, and didn’t feel at all equipped to be able to help anyone. But on this particular night, after an amazing time of worship and communing with the presence of God, I knew it was time. I saw a friend praying for healing for someone, and so went up to pray alongside. I wasn’t really sure how I could use my gift of discerning spirits, but God knew. He took me by the hand that night, and lead me into praying for three different individuals, and casting out demons out of two of them.

And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,  and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them[a] out of their means. Luke 8:2-3

DoveStainGlassFinally! To be able to know that I was able to use these gifts exactly as God had intended them for! To have the insight and knowledge, given to me by the Holy Spirit, to know exactly how to pray, and to speak words of Truth into these people who were looking for healing. My whole life came into focus that night. For so long I had wondered why I had fallen so far away from God, practicing witch craft, and being so lost. It all made sense to me now. The enemy had lied to me for so long. He had lured me with the seduction of magic into a life of wickedness, convincing me to hate God. All because he knew that if I came into my rightful inheritance as a believer in Jesus Christ, that I would be able to use my power to stomp him out. Not just in my life, but in the life of many others.

God has given each one of us gifts to use so that we might exercise them faithfully for the Kingdom of God. Yet so many of us have lost belief that we are even capable of having these amazing gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are so special – something from our amazing Father who wants to share a piece of heaven with us right here on earth. Not every person will have discerning spirits or healing, or something that seems “important”, but you will have a gift, and believe me, it is very valuable in the eyes of God. Every gift is useful to build up, encourage, and help other people and should be used in doing so. Please do not believe the lies that you are not worthy of receiving these gifts, or that these gifts are scary or don’t even exist. You were made for such a time as this and if you are reading this right now, then please know God is calling you out in this very moment to use the gift he has given you.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

 

 

 

July 20 2015

Self Image and God

self imageSelf image – “the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality.” What is your self-image? How do you see yourself? Do you think you are good-looking, intelligent, kind, and important? I never really thought about self-image until recently. I just kind of tried to ignore the whole thought of me because thinking of myself sounded really selfish. And well, being selfish is just wrong. The funny thing is, I have actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about myself over the course of my life. Thinking things like how ugly I am, how stupid, how fat and how much I hate myself.

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7

I think a lot of people I know would be surprised to hear that I spent most of my life creating a negative self-image. I remember all the way back in Jr. High feeling fat and ugly and worthless. Looking back I can see I was not fat, but a perfectly normal weight. I was not ugly, but because I didn’t have boys chasing after me I knew there must be something wrong with my looks. These things became unrelenting thoughts in my mind, that caused a hatred to grow within me. A hatred for myself.

I never had a close relationship with my parents. I can’t remember them telling me I was pretty or feeling that I was special or important to them. Really I thought even they hated me. I am not angry because I know that they did the best they could with what they had. Unfortunately it did cause quite a few problems as I began to shape my self-image. I wanted to love myself very much, but I just knew I was unlovable. And when your own parents don’t love you (or so you think) then you know there is something really wrong with you.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love” Jeremiah 31:3

Years of my life went on and no matter how many boys told me I was beautiful I could never believe it. I knew the truth – I could see myself in the mirror! Love is blinding and anyone who thought I was beautiful was just fooled by love. I knew I was absolutely flawed in every way. And with all the emotional baggage I had from abusive relationships I was just damaged goods. Even though people would tell me they loved me, even that was hard for me to believe. How could anyone ever love someone so unlovable? It was just impossible.

It was not just the experiences I had of rejection that caused my negative self-image, but also my constantly comparing myself to others. I just never seemed smart enough, competent enough, or good enough, no matter how hard I tried. I was a perpetual failure in life, in love, in everything. It didn’t help to look around the world and see so many people who seemed to have it all together. Beautiful people, with successful careers and big houses and all the things that you should have in life. I had a failed marriage, I was a horrible parent, and I was dirt poor. I mean I really just had an endless supply to fuel my self-image of shame.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

Once I came into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ I thought my self-image had completely changed. For the first time in my life I saw myself as beautiful. I could look in the mirror and be happy with who I was. Jesus spoke words of love into my heart that began to heal me in so many ways. I felt joy for the first time in my life. I was a daughter of the Most High God! What could be more amazing than being loved by a King? I thought my self-image had drastically changed. But I was wrong.

Until recently I had that broken record playing inside me, telling me I am worthless, unlovable and ugly. It’s just that I was able to ignore it more often than I had in the past. It only seemed to come up when I was upset or something bad was happening. Then those mean thoughts would bubble up out of the depths of my soul and grab hold of me. But I would eventually push them back down and forget all about them. That is not me anymore. Jesus has healed me. Wrong again.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

The first time it really struck me that I still carry that harmful self-image is when a friend told me how sweet I am. Wait a minute, what? Me? You mean you think I am sweet? I am a horrible person. I am mean and angry and everybody hates me. Or am I…

You see the enemy would have me believe all these things about myself. He would have me fill myself with hatred and blame, bringing up every memory of every bad decision I have ever made. He would have me replay everything bad that has every happened to me, and then define myself based on all of those things. There is just one problem with that. Those things do not define me, and they never will.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! Psalm 40:4

I can never be defined by the standards of this world, or by the lies the enemy has placed in my head. I can only be defined by one thing – the love of God, my Father. I am valuable to my Lord. I am wanted, I am loved, I am special and I am beautiful to my Creator. He has known me from the beginning of my life, and cherished me, singing songs over me! No matter what I have done wrong in this life, no matter how many bad decisions I have made, I am still loved by the King of Kings. Jesus has redeemed me from my past and  given me a new life. He never saw me as stupid, or ugly or worthless. He has seen me as His precious child. And if you have ever loved a child, you know just how deep and how wide and how long that love goes. It is a love that can never die, but can only continue to grow.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Do not be deceived. No matter how bad your self-image is, no matter how many horrible things you say to yourself, you are actually being completely selfish. I never thought I was selfish, because how can a selfish person hate their own self? But in my obsession with tearing myself down piece by piece, I was completely focused on me. Just where the enemy loves to have us! How can we focus on the love of God, when we only can see how rotten we are? How can we feel the divine presence of God calling to us, when there is a wall of self loathing in the way? This my friends, is another form of pride.

chainIn order to truly be selfless be need to die to ourselves. That means the self-image we have built up for ourselves needs to be torn down and replaced with the image God has given us. He paints a very clear picture for us, in His Word. We were made in the very image of God! We were formed perfectly by His hands. Yet we are also wicked and sinful people in desperate need of a Savior. Jesus has come to die for us, so we have the ability to die to ourselves. Jesus came to lay down His life, so that we could lay down our sin and egos and take up a new life as His dearly loved children. Thank God for your weakness! Boast in the One who is here, to strengthen you and uphold you with His victorious hand! You were not made to do this life alone – but to live in partnership with your heavenly Father.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

Category: Christian Life, My Salvation | Comments Off on Self Image and God
July 13 2015

Demons Are Not Just In Hell

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demon

Do you believe in demons? Do you believe they are more than a story in the Bible or fantasy in a movie? Do you believe that demons are present in your life right now, looking to cause you harm? Or do you believe that demons do not exist at all?

I never believed in demons before a couple of years ago, and I was a witch. But as a witch I believed that what I did was for the good of all. I didn’t believe in Satan or hell, and in my mind I had nothing to do with them. I never knew anyone who believed in demons either. Demons were for scary movies, and I loved scary movies. And Halloween. I loved that too! It wasn’t until I finally accepted the Bible as the inerrant Word of God that I began to believe in demons. Then I accepted it as truth that they were real, even though I had no real experience with demons. Or so I thought.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I think it is very hard for some people to believe that demons are real. After all, most people cannot actually see them. And I don’t think most Christians think much about demons at all. This is exactly what Satan wants us to do – ignore him and go on with our lives as if he doesn’t even exist. That only makes his job so much easier. If we acknowledge Satan and his demons then that means we claim the power of victory over him. That means that we learn to fight him with the power of the name and blood of Jesus Christ that we have inherited.

Have you ever been plagued with pain or physical ailments that would not go away even with treatment? Have you ever had problems with a particular sin, that you could not be freed from no matter how hard you tried? Have you ever been so stuck in emotion, such as depression or anger, that you feel as though you are drowning in it and can’t get help? If this has ever happened to you, there is a good chance it is being caused by demons. It is true that Christians cannot be possessed by demons. But what many are not aware of is that demons can still live inside of us. They cannot control us, but they can cause many problems and torment us. I know this is true, because I have experienced it in my own life.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Since becoming born again by the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I have come to learn a lot about demons and spiritual attack. I have had many problems in the past two years, such as debilitating brain fog, anxiety, anger,, severe bloating in my stomach, and more. These are all problems that I tried to address both physically and spiritually. I tried seeing different doctors, taking supplements, changing my diet, and using whatever I could that might give me any relief to any of these problems. I also had people pray over me for healing over and over again. With all of these things I began to see improvement with my symptoms – temporarily. Within a matter of days or a week my symptoms would literally get worse. I have gone through this for over a year – the process of trying to heal and claim the victorious life in Christ I know I can have. The kicker came when I finally got a full physical and blood panel and was told there was nothing wrong with me – I was as healthy as could be!

I became increasingly desperate in my attempts to find healing. My brain fog was so bad I could not take care of my own children anymore. It would send me into severe bouts of depression that I hadn’t experienced since being saved. It just didn’t seem right to me to get better and then get so much worse. I believed in spiritual attack and evil. And I have seen and felt the presence of demons before. After coming out of a long life of rebellion against God – witch craft and the occult, drug and alcohol abuse, and much more – I knew that Satan himself was hell-bent on keeping my bound.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesian 6:12

Finally I was desperate enough that I googled “deliverance ministry” searching for one near me. There wasn’t much in the results, but I did find one! I asked my husband to call and check it out. We made an appointment and went down to met the man who ran the deliverance ministry. He worked with a church and made appointments every Tuesday evening. He was a great guy who spent time in worship and praise to Jesus during the prayer time. He was very genuine and taught me more about spiritual warfare. He cast demons out of me and the next day my brain fog was gone!

I was ecstatic that my brain fog was gone. I claimed victory and healing over the brain fog, and when I felt it begin to try to sneak up on me again, I rebuked it. Yet I still had other problems. I was still searching for an answer as to why I was still experiencing physical ailments and spiritual attack. I continued seeking healing prayer and got no results whatsoever. I was frustrated and exhausted from trying. I was ready to just give up and accept things the way they were.

It was not until I came to a deliverance ministry that addressed my spiritual problem in a new way. That is to summon the head demon living inside of me and put them on trial. I know that sounds pretty far-fetched to some. It was quite a strange experience and I am still reeling from it myself. Yet I can testify that when the deliverance ministers began to summon the head demon and speak to it – I clearly heard a voice that was not mine. I felt a presence that was angry, hateful, annoyed, bored, disgusted and boastful. How can that be? How can I have had so many healing and deliverance prayers and still have demons inside of me? It was something that confused me greatly, because shouldn’t I be all cleaned out by now? I have repented for all the things I have done against God, over and over again. I have had deliverance ministers cast out demons from me. I have felt the healing power of Jesus touch me and envelop me. I have been high on the Holy Spirit to the point where all I could do was laugh. How could there be anything demonic in me whatsoever?

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:20

I was soon to find out the answer to this as the deliverance ministers began to question this thing. Long ago before I was ever born, I was given over to Satan in a blood sacrifice by someone in my family. And not just by one family member, but two. One, a Mormon, did it for power. Mormons are known to use Masonic style rites and rituals. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism was a Freemason and took much of what he learned in creating his new religion. If you are not familiar with Freemasonry, it is a polytheistic religious cult that believes man is becoming God. The other family member did it unknowingly. I sealed it all with my own blood ritual – cutting myself as a depressed teenager. I was doomed before birth to be given over to darkness. Suddenly my life made a lot more sense to me.

This blood sacrifices resulted in a generational curse that has come down the line and into my own children. I have seen the fruit of this curse in my life and in my children. I have seen uncontrollable anger, rage, violence, and hatred passed down from me and to my children. It has caused many emotional and mental problems for all of us. I can only assume that this has also affected many other family members as well. I know families are often dysfunctional, but I have to say this answer some questions for me about some serious and strange things going on with mine.

By the end of the deliverance session we were able to find out all the rights that these demons were able to get so that they could continue stay. We revoked all rights and sent this head demon and all of his minions away. I was exhausted after three hours of prayer, but excited! I was ready to be totally free from demons and their attacks in my life. But the week that followed turned out to be the worst week of all. My husband and I were fighting like we hated each other. My kids were trying to kill each other. I began to doubt myself and feel like I was crazy and felt depression creeping in again. There just had to be something wrong with me. I was doomed for life, never to be free, never to be happy.

armorI am not telling you this story so that you would be fearful, but quite the opposite. I want you to know that there is nothing to fear on this earth or in hell, because Satan and his demons have already lost. As hard as they work, as much as they may plague humans, that is the best they can ever do. They hate us and want to destroy us because we are made in the image of God, and one day we will live with Jesus in heaven for all eternity. And that hope is what we need to cling to, day after day as we fight the good fight. We need to persevere through trials and become mature and complete, growing in our faith. We need to learn to do spiritual battle with the enemy and completely and wholly rely on Jesus Christ.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

After a week of feeling like I was a real loser God brought a powerful message to me. I  was waiting to arrive at some state where I was untouchable by evil, but I realized that I was waiting for something that doesn’t exist. It was another lie I believed that was holding me captive. We live in Satan’s domain. We are always going to have spiritual warfare in our lives. It’s a matter of being aware of our enemy and learning to put on our spiritual armor. We have to depend on God every moment of every day, and stop trying to fight the battle alone. We have to remember that God is so much bigger than any problem or any demon that we have, and that even if we have to suffer for a season, He will use it to work together for our good. That is a promise that we should not take for granted.

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19