February 20 2017

Praying In Tongues vs Speaking In Tongues: A Biblical Guide

praying in tonguesWhen I first learned how to pray in tongues, I was really unaware that it was a form of prayer. All I knew about tongues is that it was like a heavenly language from God, that I could not understand. I did not realize that there was a difference between speaking in tongues and praying in tongues. So I naturally assumed that all tongues was speaking in tongues. The gift began to form in me naturally, and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me in this gift.

Many people seem to have a fear of the gift of tongues, so I decided to get deep into scripture to try to better understand what God says about this heavenly language. I believe the fear is based off of false teachings, that are spread by the lies of the devil. As you will see here, tongues is a powerful weapon in our tool belt; one that every believer must employ. Most of my study is based off of 1 Corinthians 14, however I did find some other valuable passages that teach about speaking in tongues, as well as praying in tongues.

The language of tongues is a spiritual gift, and it comes from the Holy Spirit. Each Christian will receive a gift from the Spirit of God, to be used for the good of all. The Holy Spirit is the one who determines who gets what gift and when. The Apostle Paul says we should all desire to receive spiritual gifts, and wishes that we would all speak in tongues. When a person speaks in tongues, they are speaking not to men, but to God Himself. No one understands tongues, because it is a mystery to the human mind.

For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the LORD will speak to this people

Isaiah 28:11

Speaking in tongues is a role assigned to a member of the body to deliver messages to the church. These messages are to be spoken in love to edify the church body. When giving a message in tongues, there needs to be order and purpose in the church meeting. So there needs to be a structured time set aside for the purpose of giving a message in tongues.

During the church meeting, only 2 or 3 people should give a message in tongues. Only one person should speak at a time, and each message should come with an interpretation. It is important to have order when allowing messages from God to be spoken in tongues, as to not create confusion among the church. The Apostle Paul is very specific in his guidelines for speaking in tongues.

Tongues can also be used as a sign for unbelievers. When an unbeliever walks in to a room where tongues is being spoken, it can be a sign to them of the power of God and bring them into His presence. Just like at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came onto the disciples and they began speaking in tongues, it encouraged many others to come to Christ.

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.  And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,  “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Acts 10:44-48

However, according to 1 Corinthians 14, praying in tongues is when your spirit prays. Praying in tongues is a person’s prayer language, and it is not to be confused with speaking in tongues. Praying in tongues, as well as singing or worshiping in tongues is used to edify ourselves. We can use this prayer language when we are unable to find words to pray, because we are too weak. God knows our hearts and as we use this heavenly language to communicate with Him, the Holy Spirit can intercede on our behalf.

Praying in tongues is also very useful when praying for other believers. Whether interceding on their behalf, or praying for a person directly, praying in tongues can speak to the depths of the human spirit. It can edify their soul and spirit in ways that human words cannot, because the words come directly from the Father to touch those deep places that are aching. Many times someone has prayed in tongues over me and I just begin weeping because it touches me in such deep ways. Even though my mind has no idea what is being said, my spirit knows and is deeply affected!

Praying in the spirit is a wonderful way to grow closer to God and connect with Him on deeper levels. It is also a part of the armor of God. According to Ephesians 6:18, praying in the spirit helps strengthen us in our battle against the evil one. Prayer is a major part of our armor and needs to be done daily, and I believe that praying in tongues activates our armor! Without praying in tongues, our armor is incomplete.

Much like praying in tongues,  singing in tongues is the same type of thing. It goes hand in hand with the praise and worship of our prayers, in a language directed by the Holy Spirit. There have even been scientific studies done that show how tongues affects our brains. Check this video out to learn more.

“And it shall come to pass afterward,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.”

Joel 2:28

Once Jesus returns, we will no longer need the gift of tongues. It will be unnecessary because we will have Jesus Himself with us. He will directly communicate with us in ways we have never experienced before. Tongues was born out of the desperate need for man to communicate with God, yet when Jesus returns, all of our desperation will be turned into completion and fulfillment. So until then, we need to continue to be led by the Spirit, and walk how He guides us.

Jesus wants so very much for us to be a part of Him. That is why He gave us this important language. If we take the gift of tongues for granted without thoroughly pressing in to Jesus to allow Him to teach us, we are instead allowing the enemy to shape our hearts and minds. Jesus only gives us good gifts, and the devil would very much love to steal, kill and destroy them all. The gifts of the spirit bring the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth among the people. That is the intention God had when He created them.

Each gift is special and unique with a special purpose assigned to it. God wants us to lay down everything that we have allowed the world to teach us about God, and instead empty ourselves so we can be filled with His truth. God has a great plan and purpose for each one of us, no matter where we are right now. Allow God into your heart, so He can be the one to answer all of your questions, and break down all the lies. He is good.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:8-10

 

February 29 2016

The Purpose of A Deliverance Ministry

deliverance ministryLast summer I had the amazing opportunity to encounter a deliverance ministry that would forever change my life. I did not know much about deliverance, although I had attempted it several times before, either on my own or through the help of others who prayed for me. I had no idea deliverance was even something important or necessary in my life. I only knew that spiritually things were wrong and something had to change. It took me over a year of research to even understand the concept of deliverance and why it was important, but it was not until my own deliverance did I realize how great an impact it would have on my life.

Merriam-Webster define’s deliverance as: the state of being saved from something dangerous or unpleasant. The Bible has at least 85 verses that talk about God delivering us (rescuing, saving) from troubles, distress, fear, enemies, the wicked, destruction and more. Jesus has brought us the greatest deliverance of all time, by dying on the cross to give us freedom from death and hell.

Commonly, deliverance is referred to as a spiritual deliverance from demonic oppression. We are spiritual beings in a physical body, surrounded by a spiritual realm unseen by our eyes. Jesus cast out demons from the Jews all throughout the Gospels, and the disciples and apostles have many stories of casting out demons from people as well. Deliverance is not something often talked about in Christian circles, yet it is one of the most important experiences a Christian can have.

Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Matthew 10:1

There is a common misconception that Christians cannot have demons. The belief holds that a Christian cannot have demons and have the Holy Spirit at the same time. Demons can harass Christians, or possibly attach to Christians, but cannot be inside of a Christian in any way. This is a belief that has taken root in the church over the past century, but if you look through the history of deliverance, you will see it was quite common for hundreds of years. The devil wants to stamp out the very thought of demonic oppression in Christians, because he can effectively keep his strong hold if we do not believe we can have demons.

There is nothing in scripture that says we cannot have demons if we have the Holy Spirit. Even Paul the Apostle had what he called a “thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan, to torment me.” We know for a fact that the Apostle Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, and even went to the throne room of God – he speaks about it in the very same passage he talks about being tormenting by a demon. God did not deliver Paul from this demon, yet used it, at least for a time, to teach Paul about relying on God alone. It seems like a harsh way to learn a lesson, but we see something similar in a story about King Saul.

 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”

1 Samuel 16:14-16

It is difficult to look at a passage such as this, and see that God Himself sent an evil spirit to torment King Saul. Yet, it is here in scripture. God is sovereign and in control of all creation. Therefore He has to give permission to the devil and his minions when it comes to allowing them to harass His children. Why would an all loving God do such a thing? For the same reason God gave permission for Paul to be tormented – “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10. We have to learn about humility and dependence on God, in the face of hardships and persecution, just as Christ did. That may be a tough pill to swallow, but it is actually a beautiful thing.

We are so reliant on this physical world and all we see and feel. It becomes a hindrance; a crutch, to our spiritual lives. We forget so easily that the devil is a prowling lion, seeking to devour us. We go about our lives believing that all of our problems are just symptoms of our lives; pain because we over use our bodies, health problems because of the food we eat, depression because of our genetics, etc. Sure those things do play a part in our lives, but we are completely over looking the root of all of these problems. The spiritual nature of this world and ourselves.

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

1 Peter 5:8

The reality is, pretty much every single person has some form of demonic oppression. When I say ‘demonic oppression’ I am referring to having a demon(s) inside of your physical being. A Christian cannot be possessed by demons, meaning demons cannot be in your spirit. That is where the Holy Spirit is. They can be in your physical being though, influencing your soul (mind, body, emotion). A person who has not given their life over to Jesus Christ can be possessed by demons. That would move from oppression to possession.

The devil is very busy working on stealing you away from God, starting generations before you are even born. Not because you in particular are special to him, but because he wants as many people in his kingdom as he can possible get. All the devil needs to do is get on man in a family to commit his life to darkness, and that one man will commit every generation under him indefinitely. This give rights to the devil over that one man’s family – his children, and children’s children, and so on.

So you yourself may not have done anything to give rights over to demonic oppression, but your grandfather, or great great grandfather may have, and you would have no idea. Your family may have a history of depression or alcoholism, etc; that is a sign of demonic oppression that has come down your family line. That is just one of the many signs that you can see. So even if you grew up in a Christian home and gave your life to Christ at a young age, you still need a deliverance because you have to break off generational sin.

Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.

Exodus 34:7

A deliverance is part of the salvation experience. There are six parts to the word salvation: welfare, prosperity, deliverance, preservation, salvation, safety. Deliverance is a very important step in the process of salvation. Without deliverance you are not clearing out the places where darkness has had a chance to get a foothold to make more room for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in every believer who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord; but how much of yourself are you able to give over to the Holy Spirit to indwell? If you have covenants with darkness that you are unaware of, then those places are left untouched by the Spirit of God. If you decide to believe it is impossible to have any darkness in you because you have Christ, you are denying a very important truth. We are all sinners – born sinners. Your sin does not leave the moment you accept Christ into your heart. It is part of the process of sanctification. So why believe a lie that you have never partnered with darkness, knowingly or unknowingly? You are giving the devil a continued foothold that will go into the next generation to come.

The Holy Spirit wants to come indwell us not only to commune with us, but to bring us healing. Without healing we cannot completely connect with the Spirit of God. It is pride-fullness to believe we have never partnered with darkness. Darkness is a part of this world and everything of the world. It would be impossible to go through life and never partner with darkness in one way or another. Only Jesus Christ, the perfect one, was able to achieve that. Even Jesus was tempted many times, to partner with the devil and his lies. Thankfully He did not, otherwise we would never even be able to move into salvation.

Deliverance is a part of the healing process. When you come to God, you are broken. Many are worn down from the ways of the world, and have spent a lifetime sinning against God purposefully. We need to be healed from the lies of the world we have let become one with our thoughts. We need to get healing from the emotional and mental pain we have experienced in life. Deliverance is a step towards this process of healing, because the demonic always partners with our pain and the lies of the world. It is like a spring cleaning. We are resurrected with Christ and walk into a new life. Do you want to bring unnecessary baggage with you?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

atthecrossIf you are ready to take the next step into deliverance, then that is a wonderful thing. It takes great strength to first realize you have a problem and need help, and second reach out and ask for help. There is help for you! God has not left you to do this life alone. He is right here with you! He is ready to walk with you into this journey of healing. He is going to strengthen and empower you to be able to do this. If the thought of a deliverance brings fear, then you need to understand, that is the demonic inside of you. The last thing they want is to be discovered and kicked out! If you are feeling angry at the thought of deliverance, then that too is demonic. The demons do not want you to believe in deliverance, because that means you have to accept that you might have demons. And if you accept that you might have demons, you are being empowered to freedom! The devil is a slave driver and does not want you to be free!!!

Just know that deliverance isn’t about getting 100% free of demons. You are going to receive great freedom, but you may have some more work to do after your initial deliverance. That is where an inner healing would come in. If you still have problems you have some very deep roots into darkness that you have oppressed and need help to uncover. That is OK! It is actually good! Because if you are willing to reach that level of freedom, well watch out Satan! You are going to be unleashed into the amazing plan and calling God has over your life! Are you willing to accept that calling that God has for you? It is a choice you have to make. It is not easy. Yet if you choose to walk into that journey, then you must know that you are going to receive a crown of glory and honor in heaven! Amazing!!

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 1 Peter 5:2-4

January 4 2016

My Journey Of Inner Healing

sadIf you have been following my blog at all, you know a little about my story and my testimony of how God brought me out of the occult and new age and into His saving Grace. It has been quite a journey for me these past two and a half years! I reached a point in life where I had grown tremendously and felt very happy with my relationship with Jesus. Yet I still had so much anger inside of me, and could not stop taking it out on my husband and children. I had no idea why. I knew I had a bad life but it didn’t seem to be enough to cause so much anger all of the time. I have experienced abuse, sexual abuse, and depression, but really, I knew that other people had it much worse than I had. My anger was plaguing me and I began to really feel hopeless to change it. No matter what I did I was always angry. I would always blow up over the slightest things. That is where my journey into inner healing began.

Not to mention the gaps in my memory of my childhood. From my earliest ages up to about late elementary I could not remember much at all. I thought it was normal though, being older and just forgetting things. I did have some memories, so I knew I could remember things. I remember going to my grandmothers to spend the night sometimes and what it was like there. I remembered the apartments I lived in when I was little and sliding down the stairs in my footsie pajamas. I remember playing with potato bugs and my first boyfriend (whom I didn’t even like!) And other little fun things like that. Starting at about age 13, I just remember my life very clearly. I remember all the major events in my life. If you read my story you will see that the story starts at about age 13, except for a little background on my childhood. From there on I could tell you most everything that has happened to me with no problems.

I have never thought twice about why I didn’t remember much of my childhood. I never even questioned why I was so depressed that I wanted to die at such a young age. I just knew it was because I felt my parents didn’t love me. My parents were emotionally unavailable and angry most of the time and I just assumed that was the reason I felt so unloved. I never questioned any of it; it just seemed normal to me. As my life kept going it just continued to spin out of control. This led me to believe I had good reasons to feel crazy, depressed and obsessed with death. I didn’t like it, I just accepted that there were valid reasons in place to cause these awful feelings inside me.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

This never seemed to be a good enough explanation to my anger issues though. As bad as I thought my life was, I knew it was not so bad I should be so angry all of the time. I would blow up at the drop of a hat, and completely lose control to the point of screaming at the people I loved the most. It would usually be over something that seemed like no big deal to others, but to me it seemed like the end of the world. I was always so easily hurt or offended. I did make progress in these areas to some extent, through the work of God. I began to love others when I never could before, and forgive easier. More so with people outside of my family though.

I was desperate for change, but no matter how many people prayed for me or how many deliverance sessions I had, the anger would persist. Finally I decided it was time to do something about it, and so I sought out counseling. I excepted that there was something emotional driving this problem, not just spiritual. I found an amazing Christian counselor who was Holy Spirit led. It was very different from any counseling I had done before. More like an inner healing type of counseling that started with prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I learned during these sessions that anger is a secondary emotion being driven by pain. Pain was a deep root that have been driven into me from an early age. It seemed to come from rejection and abandonment issues with my parents. Instead of identifying myself as an angry person, I started to realize I was a very hurt person, carrying around a deep well of pain inside that had never been dealt with. I had only skimmed the surface so far, and the bottom was still bubbling up and coming out of me. Pain hurts others, when we don’t seek to heal it and stop letting it control our behaviors and beliefs. Signs you may need inner healing.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Psalm 34:19

After a couple of months of seeing this Holy Spirit led counselor, I had to end our sessions due to the lack of a baby sitter. I was absolutely crushed because I had begun to open up the wounds that I had tried so hard to push down for so long and the pain was now pushing up to the surface, ready to spill out and drown me. I wanted inner healing and peace for my family. God had another plan for me however. He led me to someone else, who was going to begin a journey of inner healing with me like I had never experienced before. She had been down the path of inner healing herself, and was able to use her knowledge to help guide me as well.

My inner healing could not have really made progress if I had not first started with a deliverance session. Deliverance is the beginning to healing and it is like a house cleaning. You get rid of layers of demonic oppression, often caused by generational and ancestral curses, sin and other opened gates. This allows you to make room to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and His leading in your inner healing. Inner healing that is not done by Jesus Himself, is not true healing. Jesus has the power to destroy the bondage your past pain and trauma has over you, and to heal you completely. No one else on earth has that power. The devil wants to keep you broken and in bound to him, so that you cannot make progress in healing and in your relationships.

Before I go on I would like to talk about what inner healing is. Inner healing is completely Christ centered and Holy Spirit led. You always start with prayer and let the Holy Spirit led you in which direction He wants to go in. The purpose of inner healing is to heal your spirit and soul so you can grow closer to God and the freedom that He intended you to have. As you go through life, especially when you are young, you can have traumatic and abusive situations happen to you. These can lead to false belief systems that taint the way you see God, the world around you and other people. We behave through what our heart believes, not through what we actually know. Through inner healing the Holy Spirit guides you into memories of past events that have caused you trauma and pain. Through these you can find out what false belief systems have grown in you and then expose them to the Light of Christ to be revealed and replaced with His Truth. For some people this can open up very deep wounds that are very hard to deal with. Inner healing is something that you should not take lightly, and only accept working with someone in inner healing through prayer and the leading of God. Only God knows the perfect timing in which this should happen, and you must completely rely on Him to led you to the person He wants to use to help you through this.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

I first began inner healing sessions once every two weeks. It brought up memories of my childhood that I had already known about consciously. Memories that were painful and hard to deal with, but that also shed some light into the why of the pain. It was difficult, but not so difficult that I couldn’t deal with it. Soon enough the Holy Spirit began to led me into new directions in my memory recall. Memories that deeply buried and hidden, because the pain of the events was absolutely unbearable. Every week seemed to bring a new memory of horrible pain and abuse, each one related to or connected with the last.

As I started my journey of inner healing the pain and anger seemed to grow and I began to find life harder to navigate on a daily basis. To be honest with you, I had already been struggling a bit, not just with my anger, but with anxiety, stress and other things. It made daily life more difficult than it should have been and caused some bad days. I soon had to move up to a session once per week.  The pain that surfaced was so intense that some days it was all I could do to take care of myself, let alone make dinner for my family. Thank God that I had just enrolled my 3 youngest kids into part-time private school, because we had been homeschooling up until that point. God knew it was time for me to begin this inner healing, and that I was going to need help with the kids.

As the pain of the reality of my childhood began to be revealed my life came screeching to a stop. The world as I knew it was no longer the same. I began to understand the reason I was so angry and wanted so desperately to die at a young age. I had repressed memories so horrible that I really was unsure that they could have happened to me, because I did not want to believe that such horror could be true. It seemed like something from a movie that would happen to someone else, not to me. But the memories explained so much about who I was and what I believed. They explained why I was afraid of people and getting hurt, why I wanted to lash out at those I loved so easily. I knew they were real and not something forced or imagined because Jesus was right there in the middle of it, speaking truth into my heart, where it needed it the most. These memories were deeply repressed for a reason, but they were now coming out in God’s perfect timing for my inner healing.

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32

I have discovered many things about myself in these past 8 months of inner healing. It has been quite a journey for me. I am now coming into a place where I am finding hope and functioning normally again for the first time in months. I began to gain weight and feel physically awful because I eat nothing but junk because cooking or meal planning was not something I could handle. So we ate lots of fast food and dessert, because it felt good and was easy. I am not done excavating memories that horrify me and bring up deep pain, but the work Jesus has done inside of me is a miracle. I am able to keep moving forward towards the end goal of being whole and complete in Jesus Christ. He has a wonderful plan for me, and Satan has been unsuccessful in thwarting it.

I have discovered many things about myself, my family, and my views of the world and other people. Satan has done a great work at trying to beat me down and steal me from God. It worked for a long time, but those days are over. That is just what he does, and he will never stop trying to rip apart God’s children. There are many people out there who have suffered for so long in shame and silence because they were afraid to talk about the horrible things that had been done to them. There are others who have an inkling somewhere inside, that they have something horrible hidden inside of them, that has caused them suffering for far too long. Satan has kept them in the dark, and bound in pain, but I say no more. You were not meant to live that life. You were meant to live in the light of Jesus Christ, who has died to save you and has a wonderful plan for you. Are you ready to come closer to Him, and see what He has waiting for you?

I am here to tell you that it is OK, and you are not alone. God is here with you right now, and He loves you so much. He knows your pain, your suffering, your guilt and shame, your fears and betrayals, and has experienced them all right there with you. And even though you think He was never there, that you were all alone, that is a lie. He was there. He was protecting you in ways that you cannot even fathom at this moment. But one day you will see how amazing your God is, and how far He has gone to help you. And when that day comes you will fall down on your knees in tears thanking Him for His love because you will be so overwhelmed by the intense love God has for you. It may not seem possible right now, but He truly will redeem all the years the locusts ate, and turn them around to use them for your good, and to glorify Himself!

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you.

Joel 2:25

I am not yet ready to publicly open up about the things I have learned during my inner healing. I am not yet done with my inner healing. I have just now come to a place where I can accept that this is who I am and this is my story. For me that is huge. I know that God will have me finish my testimony here on my blog, to share it with the world. For now it would be too painful, and I am waiting for His perfect timing. I can only tell you that I now understand why I was so obsessed with death and was so deep into witchcraft and the occult for most of my life. The devil tried hard to steal God’s purpose for my life, to kill me, and to destroy all my hope. But I am here to say that he failed completely. Sure I have bad days still. I even have days where I find it hard to function sometimes or feel far away from God, and even blame Him, but those days are getting less and less. The devil did not steal my purpose away, because here I am, telling you about it on this blog that God gave me, so that you too can have hope. I did lose my hope for a while, and I may have days where I find it failing, but I believe in God’s promises to me. He has begun to redeem the hell of my life, and He will finish His good work in me.

inner healingIn all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:4-6

Trust in your loving Father and know He will finish His work in you as well. Continue to seek His face and the freedom and healing that He created you for. God has a perfect plan to bring you that place, through deliverance, counseling, inner healing and prayer, He will give you the peace and victorious life you have been promised. Never give up, never stop praying for His help, and never stop searching for His truth. Be as persistent as the widow who continued to ask the judge for justice. God will prevail, you can count on it! Be blessed in His holy name brothers and sisters!!

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

Psalm 30:2

November 16 2015

Finding Intimacy with Jesus

intimacyWhen I first gave my life over to God I was learning so much about Jesus Christ and who He is. I had heard the term “having a personal relationship with Jesus” but I wasn’t really sure what that meant. How can you have a relationship with someone you can’t actually see or hear? It was very confusing to me. Yet my heart cried out for more of God. I wanted desperately to be able to see and hear Him and know Him on a personal level. I didn’t see how that was even possible. That is until I had my first intimate encounter with Jesus.

For most of my life I was very depressed. I remember being very new to Christianity and sitting on the couch weeping uncontrollably because sadness has swept over me like a northern wind. I wanted nothing more than for Jesus to be there holding me. And then suddenly He was. All it took was opening myself to the possibility that it could be so. I felt comfort wash over me. His love became so real in that moment, and I knew that Jesus really was there, holding me and comforting me. This experience revolutionized my intimacy with Jesus. Once I had but a taste of that kind of intimacy with Him, I wanted more, more, more!

I have been very hurt in my past. I was abused and felt abandoned by God. So even as a child I began building up a wall around myself, so I could be protected from being hurt. Unfortunately I was also blocking out the love of God trying to penetrate through to me. God is a gentlemen, and He does not barge His way in. He waits for us to ask Him to come in, and only then does He invade our heart and mind. It took me a long time before I was ready to let down some walls and let in God, but once I did I have never regretted it. It has only led me to healing all of the pain and damage that has been done through my life. Little by little the walls come down, and I am able to know my Lord more and more. Intimacy with God is the most wonderful thing in the world. We do not have to wait until we go to heaven to have Jesus – we can have Him right now!!

 

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.

Psalm 27:8

As I look around the church, I fear that many Christians do not have an intimacy with God. They have not experienced Him personally and may not even realize they can. It is very easy to get caught up in the distractions of the world and not realize that you have made God your second best. I often wonder how many people are teaching their children how to live a life with God, not just for Him. When we focus on living our life for God, we might get caught up in justifying ourselves through our good works. We must also partner with Jesus, hand in hand, so that we can really know Him and His amazing love for us. Jesus said we would do even greater things that he did – that is going to happen through intimacy and fellowship with our Lord.

How many people are sending their children to church every Sunday and letting the Sunday school teacher do all the work of teaching their children about Jesus? Do they talk about God at home? Do they read the Word of God to them and pray with them? Do they help them to foster intimacy with our Lord Jesus? Do they do these same thing for themselves, modeling it for their children? Or do they get caught up in the ways of the world, and forget about the passion they once had for God. If they ever had it in the first place. It is never to late to have a passion for God. He is graciously extending His hand to you for intimacy, with no condemnation whatsoever. He longs for you; earnestly desires to sit and talk with you. He already knows the deepest desires of your heart. Do you know His?

God is calling you out right now, and asking you to be still and bend a listening ear to Him. Find a quiet place to get comfortable and begin to know intimacy with your Father. You can sit or kneel, or whatever you find to be best. Close your eyes and begin to praise God. Praise Him for being Holy and Perfect and True. Praise Him for loving you and for Jesus shedding His blood on the cross for you. Praise Him for creating our beautiful world and giving us so many wonderful blessings. Praise Him for how amazing and wonderful He is; slow to anger, abounding in love, full of grace and mercy. Praise Him for calling you sons and daughters of the Most High God.

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

2 Corinthians 11:2

Praise and worship invites God right into the room and your heart. Tell Him you are sorry for not being available in this relationship with Him. Thank Him for always being available for you, and for not looking down on you for walking away from intimacy with Him. Ask Him to come in and invade your heart and mind in that very moment. Ask Him to release His power right where you are. Ask Him to fill you with His love. Tell Him that you desire Him. More of Him. Then sit and be still, and quiet. Allow your senses to be flooded with His holy presence. Do not fear things that you may see or feel. You may begin to have visions or have a supernatural experience. You may not understand some of the things that happen. Just relax and let God work in you. Ask Him what He is showing you or telling you. If you fear it is not of God, then ask for confirmation from Him, and if it lines up with who God tells us He is in scripture.

As you sit during this quiet time, imagine what it would be like if Jesus was right there with you. What does He look like? I love the description in Revelation that says He has eyes like blazing fire and feet like bronze glowing in a furnace. He is powerful and majestic! If Jesus were with you in that very moment, what would He be doing? Would He sit next to you? Hold His hand out to you? Embrace you? Open yourself to His presence fully. What does He have to say to you? Embrace this moment of intimacy with the one that who died for you.

God wants to invade your life in a powerful way through this amazing intimacy with Him. We were created as spiritual beings in a physical shell. We need to remember that the spiritual realm is all around us, and we are a part of it. If we ignore it and pretend it’s not real, we are missing out on an amazing intimacy with God that we were created for. God made us to experience the supernatural, but we relegate Him to that which we can understand in our own limited minds. Growing intimacy with Jesus everyday does not have to take hours. You could start with just 10 minutes a day! I guarantee you that once you begin to experience God in a very real way, 10 minutes will not be nearly long enough! You will begin to long for intimacy with Him, just like He is longing for you!

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

Philippians 3:8

During times I have sat down alone with Jesus, I have had many wonderful experiences. I have seen Jesus Christ Himself, and felt His great love. I have grown my intimacy with Him, which has allowed me to hear His voice more clearly. I have doubted and wondered if the things I was seeing or experiencing were real, but I had scriptural confirmation on all of my experiences. I told my husband how to invite Jesus in to sit with Him during His quiet time, and he too was revolutionized in His intimacy with Jesus Christ. He saw Jesus come and sit right next to Him on the couch. He felt His presence and heard Him speak to Him. My husband has such a wonderful intimacy with God, he can clearly hear His voice when he talks to Him. This is not something that just some people can experience. You don’t have to be special, or well versed in the Bible or have been a Christian for a long time. This intimacy with God is for everyone! We are all sons and daughters of the King and are welcome into the very throne room of God! It is up to us to make the first move and invite Him into our lives.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20

strongholdIf you have tried growing intimacy with God, but can’t see improvement, there is something much bigger going on that just distractions of the world. If you find that no matter what you can’t hear God or feel God, you need to start looking inside to see if you have built a wall up. You may also be dealing with demonic oppression. Satan looks to steal us away from intimacy with God and kill our desire for Him. If you find yourself unable to read the Word of God or unable to understand it, you are looking at demonic oppression. If you cannot sit still and praise Him and wait on His presence, that is another sign of demonic oppression. Look at the life of Jesus Christ. It was full of intimacy with God the Father. He would often steal Himself away to pray and talk with His Father. We were created to have this same intimacy with God, so if you cannot find it no matter what you do, that is a sign that the devil has gotten a stronghold in you.

Strongholds are more common than you think. It is all to easy to fall prey to the ways of. the devil. Some of us let him in through past sins, and some let him in through current sins. Sometimes we also have generational and ancestral curses over our families, which bring strongholds into our lives. Jesus always has a way out of these strongholds, and always wants to bring us healing, so we can grow in our intimacy with Him. Never stop striving to grow your intimacy with Jesus Christ. He is within you and you have the power to rebuke the devil and his devices in your life. Stand firm against him and pray for God to give you wisdom on what brought the demonic oppression into your life. (I will be writing more about how to fight this very soon.)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

November 9 2015

Is The Bible A Book Of Rules?

BibleWhen I first became Christian about 2.5 years ago I started reading the Bible right away. I have to admit my husband and I didn’t go about it quite the right way. Once we started going to church  it took time for God to start helping us make positive changes in our lives. One of those changes that was yet to be made was our addiction to smoking pot. So the first time we actually sat down to read the Bible we were high on pot and tried reading the KJV. As you can imagine it made very little sense to us at that moment. Yet we did not give up! We sat there for about an hour trying to read and make sense of the first chapter of Genesis. We deeply wanted to know what God had to say! We were just still bound to sin and death and had yet to experience freedom from drug addiction. God is much bigger than even that, and He can touch anyone, no matter where they are or what they are doing!

While we did smoke pot, it was not a daily thing for us anymore. So it was not a normal hindrance between us and the Word of God. A friend recommended to me to read a different version of the Bible, such as the NLT or the Message, and to start with the Gospel of Matthew instead. So we went out and bought 2 new Message Bibles (I would very loosely call these a Bible since they are paraphrased versions of the Bible). Yes God can truly speak to anyone through any version of the Bible, or in any way He chooses to for that matter. I opened up that Message Bible and started reading Matthew, and I could not put it down. I had never really known much about Jesus – He was just that guy in the white robe with long hair. But now I began to see the beauty and love in Jesus and I fell madly in love with Him. I was amazed and in awe at Jesus – where had He been all my life!!

From there I grew a great passion to learn more about God’s Word. I wanted very much to know what God had to say to me and I saw the Bible as a great guidebook for life. I felt that it held the keys to every question I had every asked during my life, like what am I here for and why do I exist? Some of the Bible was very complicated and confusing for me, but some of it spoke to me in wonderful ways. Soon I was moving up to reading the NLT version and my Message Bible was gathering dust on it. I would recommend the Message for anyone who is very new to the Bible and has a hard time understanding it, because truly God can teach you His truth through it. It’s like training wheels, but that does not mean everyone needs to use training wheels before learning to ride!

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24

The more I read of the Bible the more I began to be confused in some ways. It seemed that in the Old Testament God was mean and harsh but in the New Testament Jesus was loving and wonderful for the most part. I also read many of the letters from the Apostle Paul and felt that there were many rules to live by as a Christian. Rules on how to act and not act and how to dress, rules about sex, alcohol, money, and so much more. At that point the Holy Spirit had done a mighty work in me and I had done a complete 180 on how I was living my life – no more drugs, drinking, swearing, or watching horror on TV and that was just the start. So I felt pretty good about myself as I read the Bible as a list of rules to follow. If reading the Bible were like taking a test I would be getting a really good grade!

That just led me to start dissecting the lives and behaviors of everyone around me. If the Holy Spirit was convicting me to make changes, then surely He would be doing the same for all other Christians. As I looked around I just saw Christians living a life that seemed very contrary to the Bible though. It confused me and pained me at the same time. Why was I so convicted to make changes while the other Christians at my church were watching TV shows with horror, violence and sexual immorality? Didn’t they understand  they were going against God’s Word? So it became very easy for me to be judgmental towards my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It was not that I wanted to judge people – I truly wanted to love them and be like Christ. I just couldn’t get past the rule bending going on everywhere around me.

I grew up in a very strict household. If I broke a rule I got a very harsh punishment, no matter how small the rule was. So I learned quickly to assimilate and follow the rules. It became quite important for survival you could even say. So when I began to see the Bible as a rule book for life it was very important for me to be sure to keep straight and follow them as best I could, lest God punish me for breaking them. I wanted very much to please God and do what was right in His eyes. What I didn’t understand was that unconditional love God gives to all of His children, no matter how far they stray from Him. He is the most amazing father that way.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17

It went on this way for about two years, that is until I had my deliverance from demonic oppression this past summer. During my deliverance session I found out the many ways the devil had gotten rights and access to me during my life, and even before I was even born through previous generations. Through ancestral and generational curses the devil had been able to cause me many problems and pain during my life with demonic oppression. There are many types of demons and each has its own job. One of the demons that was oppressing me was a religious spirit. A religious spirit’s job is to keep people from having a close relationship with God, but instead seeing Christianity as a set of rules to follow. Here are some signs that you might have a religious spirit:

You judge others by their appearance, you try to earn God’s love and salvation, you always criticize other people’s walks with God, you desire position and honor in church over honor with God, you have an outward lifestyle of Christianity but inwardly have not changed, and you are involved in ministry but have no passion for God.

If you struggle with any of these problems, you most likely are suffering from demonic oppression at the hands of a religious spirit. Since I had my deliverance and am free from demonic oppression my walk with God and my understanding of the Bible has changed greatly. I no longer see the Bible as a set of rules, but am gaining a new freedom in my relationship with God. My deliverance partnered with inner healing to help with my past pain and trauma has allowed me to see God not as a task master and ruler setter, but as a loving Father who adores me and wants me to just be close to Him. God has not written the Bible to tell us how to act or how to be, but He has written the Bible as a testimony of His love for us.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:14

freedomI believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, but I know that when man reads the Bible, it is his own interpretation that he is getting, unless he is led by the Holy Spirit when reading it. That is not to say that I did not have the Holy Spirit before my deliverance, but the demonic oppression was keeping me from full revelation of the Word of God as I read it. The devil would love nothing more than to keep God’s people down by having them believe the Bible is a set of rules that are impossible to follow and we are doomed to fail and displease God. That way we would not want to read the Bible and would not want to follow God. It is seeing the Bible as a set of rules that has caused many people to condemn non-believers and tell them they are going to hell, which only turns them away from God and straight into the arms of some other “religion” such as New Age and Witch Craft. It is seeing the Bible as a rule book that has caused many people to see it as outdated and not practical for this day and age, causing them to fall prey to the deceptions of the world that led us to sin and death.

It is recently as I was reading Galatians again that I came to a wonderful revelation of a life lived by the Spirit. When we live by the Spirit we produce the fruits of a spirit filled life, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Believe it or not I thought the fruits of the Spirit were more rules to be lived by! Now I see that I was constrained by trying to live life by the law, which left me to be enslaved to it! I was trying to be justified by works and by pleasing God, but it was impossible to do. I believe this is a common trap that many fall prey to, and I hope that if you see yourself in these words, that you would seek to get help to be free from this oppression.

 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

Galatians 5:17