March 27 2017

The Human Soul And Free Will: God’s Design

free willBefore we were born, before the foundations of the earth were laid, and before time even was, we were with God.  We are not here on earth by accident or by God’s cruel intentions. We are not just lost and waiting for someone to come save us. We are spirits, created by by God; but God did not create our spirits at the moment of conception. He created our spirits and prepared us beforehand to come here to the earth to fulfill the plans He has for each of us. He chose each of us according to His will to walk with Him here on this earth and have a depth of intimacy that is only possible in this earthly tent.

As a human, we not only have a spirit, but we have a soul. Our soul consists of our bodies, minds and emotions. Our soul gives us new ways to experience life. We have access to a great depth of feelings such as love and joy, and we also have senses so we can experience pleasure and passion. These are all wonderful gifts from God that help us to understand who He is and to know Him better. We can use our bodies and minds to know God, to experience Him, to worship Him and to partner with Him. That is so much more than we could do if we were only a spirit. What a wonderful gift God has given us by giving us this life!

We have such a rich and wonderful experience prepared for us by God, gifted through the earth, all creation, our souls, relationships, and so much more. These are all things that God intended to be good and pure, just as they first were when God created everything. Adam and Eve had the pinnacle of what God purposed for us, but it was through sin and evil that they fell far away from our original design. In order to truly experience and know God, He had to gift us with free will. Love is being surrendered and vulnerable, and in order to really experience God’s love fully, He needed for us to decide to choose Him first.

Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.

Isaiah 43:7

For some, free will seems more like a curse than a blessing. They see that they have made mistake after mistake in their lives and they want nothing more than to surrender their free will completely to God, in order to be “better” or “good”. Yet it isn’t our free will that needs to be surrendered to find God, but our hearts. Our hearts are the filter in which we see and experience the world around us, including God. So when we hold back our hearts from God, we will find that struggle to have intimacy and knowledge of Him difficult.

Love does not control, nor does it hate, but because we partnered with sin in the Garden, we have allowed our worldviews to be tainted by these things. We no longer see things through the eyes of innocence and truth, but we are jaded by the evil on the world instead. We have allowed our senses to be overcome with pain and our bodies to be numbed so we no longer have to feel that pain. We have filled our minds with lies of the devil and allowed him to penetrate into that sacred place that was to be holy for God: our hearts.

The devil has one purpose, and that is to steal us from God. He has our entire lifetime here to do his dirty work and convince us that everything we should know about God is in fact all lies. Just like in the Garden, when Adam and Eve allowed the devil to convince them into believing what they knew of God was a lie, and what Satan offered was so much sweeter. They accepted that lie and paid the highest price of all: alignment with the devil and his will and plan for them.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:12

The devil has held us captive for thousands of years. We have strayed so far away from the truth of who we are and who God created us to be, that many Christians live in fear daily. They fear sin, the devil, evil, death, judgement and condemnation, and even fear if they are truly saved. Meanwhile the devil is sitting back laughing because he thinks he has really succeeded in his plan to destroy our knowledge of the Truth of God.

God did not just create us and leave us here on earth with the devil. What kind of loving Father would place His children in a world full of evil, run by the devil, with only the hope that maybe they will accept Jesus and go to heaven. What kind of plan does that sounds like for the Ultimate Creator and Almighty God? Sounds like a slick deception if you ask me. No. This brings me back to the truth that God created us before time began as spirit, and gifted us with bodies on this earth. We are already spirit who knows God and we already have that hope built up inside of us. So that no matter what deceptions the devil has up his sleeve, we still have an unshakable connection with God that can never be destroyed. Except by the fires of hell.

The ultimate battle here on earth is for our free will. The devil has come to steal, kill and destroy, but God has come to offer us life. A life that is aligning our free will, with the will of the Father. When Jesus came to earth, He laid down all of His glory and power so that He could become like us. He submitted His will to the will of the Father. Jesus could have at any given moment said “I’m done with this” and went back to His throne in heaven. Yet He continued to pour out His life like a drink offering, all the way to the cross.

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14:35-36

We see how difficult it is for us to lay down our lives and free will to God, but imagine how much harder it was for God in the flesh to lay down all of His power to become nothing. And He did all of this for us. Not only to give us a free ticket to salvation, but also to model His life in a way that we can now emulate. All glory and honor goes to the Father when we lay down our free will and align it with the will of the Father. And that glory flows through us like water, filling up every place that our feet take us in this life. It is the highest honor any person can be crowned with.

The devil may have done a mighty job in your life to turn your free will away from the Father and towards the Father of Lies, but that does not mean a thing to our God. He is so much greater and stronger than any of the evil that has been perpetrated on you in your life. He is going to take every bit of it and use it for your good. He is going to use to enhance your journey into walking out the call He has over your life. All you have to do is begin by agreeing with who He is. He is good.

Let God’s goodness wash over you right now. Let His love envelope you, to the very core of who you are. Allow the Father to take you back to the place before time where you can remember being with Him, in His arms. His love is pure and holy, washing over you with His loving embrace. Begin to let Him show you who He created you to be, and align your heart back to His.

God is not angry with any one of us for walking away from Him. He is not even hurt. He understands why we do what we do, and all of the choices that we have made, even more than we understand them. He is waiting to help us gain insight into our choices and reasons for not surrendering our hearts fully, and to bring us freedom. We are His, and He is ours. Forever. It is time to take back what has been stolen, and bring it before the Father for restoration. He is saying, ‘come home.’

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:20

Category: Christian Life, My Salvation, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Human Soul And Free Will: God’s Design
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

 

 

 

January 28 2015

Experience God

experience GodEveryone has their own way to experience God. Some people have had an encounter with Jesus where they have actually seen Him walk into the room and sit on the bed. Amazing. I have heard stories of villages where everyone had the same dream that they saw Jesus, and whole villages are being converted. Paul the Apostle saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and was changed forever. Some people experience God through a gift of healing others by praying in the name of Jesus. There are so many ways to experience God, to really feel and see and taste His presence in your life.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Have you experienced God for yourself? Have you had an encounter with the one true Living God that has blown you away? If not, then prepare to open your heart friend, because He is waiting to show you so much more. When we open are hearts and minds to Jesus, when we are obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, you can watch God do the most amazing things in your life!

During the first year of my walk with Jesus I was very open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He asked me to change many things in my life, things that I didn’t really want to change, but I knew it was right. And I wanted to honor and obey my Lord, because I love Him. He knows whats best for me, much better than I do. I tried to keep myself open to the Holy Spirit and let Him led me often. Unfortunately there were times when I refused to listen, and I can see how it has impacted my life. Not because I was punished by God, but much as a child refuses to listen to a parent, they reap the consequences of it.

Yet many times I followed through with things I felt the Spirit moving me to do, even when it seemed downright crazy. There have been many times I felt God prompting me to tell different people things. I went with it. It was weird for me. But it was also so cool. God wants to work through us to speak to others! We just have to listen, trust and obey. I am learning many of the spiritual gifts God has given me because of my willingness to obey Him. For instance, I felt very strongly at one point to email one of the church leaders and tell them a message God wanted me to give. I really did not want to. I really felt it was very crazy and dumb. I mean who emails church leaders with a message from God?

God doesn’t really speak through people to prophecy anymore, right? God doesn’t use people to heal or work miracles still. Those are all just stories from the Bible. Stories from 2000 years ago! Right? WRONG!  Do not be fooled into thinking God has changed! He has not. The God who walked with His people and commanded us to go out and heal and cast out demons and prophecy is still real, still alive and still exactly the same.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Satan does not want you to experience God, however. It is his job to keep you away from God. To deceive you into forgetting the truth and thinking that the stories from the Bible are dead and done for our generation. Look at all the distractions in life that take you away from God? Do you think it is a coincidence? Are lives are jam-packed with things to do and stress and problems – all designed to mask the reality that we have been given by God. We are here on earth to live a victorious life and to spread the Gospel message so others can live a victorious life as well. Are you claiming your life of victory right now? Or living just trying to get by every day?

Last year there was a homeless man who began to stand on a little strip of concrete that divided the road near a busy intersection. Honestly I didn’t think much about him and he was there for probably a couple of weeks. Until one night my husband and I were driving home from Bible study. Suddenly I was overcome by compassion for the man and I told my husband we needed to stop. He said he would stop tomorrow on the way home from work, but I insisted we needed too. He declined again and as were rounded the corner into our neighborhood we saw a cat that looked like the one that had run away. My husband turned the car around so we could look for her, and I asked him again to go back to the homeless man. I knew God wanted us to talk to him.

So he turned around and we went back to the corner and parked in a parking lot. My husband went over to the man and knelt down next to him and prayed. It was so weird because there was something almost angelic about the man. I felt very strongly that we needed to give him a Bible and I told my husband so when he got back in the car. He said the man was Christian was quoting scripture to him. He said he would bring him a Bible tomorrow. I said no he needed one now. So I handed my Bible to give to the man. Of course we had already started driving away again, so my husband had to turn around and go back. But the man was gone. So we looked for him and found him at the gas station on the opposite side of the street. My husband gave him the Bible, then came back to the car. I asked him if he had given him money for food, and he hadn’t, so he went to find him again to give him money.

The whole thing was just crazy in my mind. I started to feel very strongly that I needed to talk to the man and tell him that his daughter was looking for him. His daughter? How could I know that he had a daughter. I did not want to just start talking crazy talk to someone like that, but I felt so strongly that I needed to tell him this. The conviction was so strong I could not get away from it. I had to obey it.

So again my husband came back to the car and I told him. He said OK, let’s go talk to him together. I did not want to, I was so scared! Finally I got up enough nerve to do it. I had not really had any encounters with homeless people before. I had looked down on them really. This man’s name was Charles. He was very dirty and smelled like alcohol very strongly. I began to talk to him and I could tell he was drunk. He said angels protected him while he was on the streets, and I believed it. Like I said, there was something almost angelic about him, and I knew then that what he said was true.

I asked him if he had a daughter, and he did. He hadn’t talked to her in a number of years. I told him that she was looking for him, and that she Jesus was in her life. I told him that she was going to find him and he was going to go live with her. Crazy. Then I told my husband we needed to pray and cast out demons from him. We did. Super crazy. But real. So real.

We believed in God, and trusted in Him that this happened to help this man. I felt very strongly that he had been oppressed for many years by Satan who used the alcohol and other things to keep him away from doing what God wanted him to do. The next afternoon I did see Charles at the corner again. I was driving by to get my son from school and could not stop. He looked like he had a shower though. That was the last time I saw Charles. I believe that God worked through prayer to save this man from his oppression and deliver him.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. Mark 16:16-18

This is real. Everyone can experience God this way. I am not special, I do not possess something unusual that others do not. Jesus tells us right in the Bible that we can and should live a supernatural life. We are not physical body’s having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual bodies having a human experience. And why should these things sound crazy? Perhaps you have been tricked by the horror movies into thinking it is all fake. Do you know in other countries they believe and know demons are real and active. They see them and have spiritual battles daily. Why is it that here in the US we are so blinded to the wiles of the devil? His biggest ally here is that we do not believe in him.

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. Ephesians 6:12

Doubtful? Repent to God for being closed to His prompting in your life. Open yourself up to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Trust Him and obey any convictions or promptings you begin to feel. God wants to work in you and through you. You have spiritual gifts that are waiting to be discovered. They were not given to you for your own use, but to share with others. God loves His people – all people, and He wants each of them to experience salvation and hope and love. You can be a conduit in which that can happen, all you have to do is allow God to use you.

You can experience God in amazing and powerful ways. You were created to have a relationship with the Almighty God. It can be overwhelming and scary to think about this being real. But once you taste and see the Lord and His true love for you, you will never want to go back to an ordinary life where distractions carry you far away from Him.

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

Category: My Salvation, Who Is Jesus? | Comments Off on Experience God
December 4 2014

Gifts of the Spirit

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

givingGod was beginning to call me out to be bolder in my life. It was as thought I first went through a cleansing stage, where He was making me new. I was getting rid of sinful behaviors and desires and replacing them with God’s will and desires. Next it was time to grow a new intimacy with Jesus and learn about who He is and what a Christian life can look like. That required me to step out of my comfort zone and focus on the one whom I adore.

My church has an annual women’s retreat every March. It was not something I had every even considered attending before, because on top of the financial burden, I was not willing to live my kids and my husband. I had not been away from my husband for more than two nights since we began living together nine years ago. And I liked it that way thankyouverymuch. As march began to approach women began asking me if I was going to attend. I didn’t think it was a very good idea, but I figured I could pray about it, and ask my husband to pray about it as well. I knew if God wanted me there, I would go. Otherwise I would be perfectly happy to stay home.

I prayed to know God’s will and that if He wanted me to go that I could get a scholarship, because otherwise I could not afford to go. Before I knew it I had a scholarship and a cabin assignment and a ride up there. It happened so fast I didn’t know what hit me. God made His will known, and I was going to spend my first weekend away from my family. I was nervous, but excited. Talk about stepping outside of my comfort zone. Not to mention I never saw myself as much of a people person. I was more afraid of people than anything else.

The Friday I was supposed to leave I was so afraid! My husband called me from work to tell me God wanted me to know that I was going to have a great weekend, so I should relax. Relax? Really? Easier said than done. The first night was rough. There was no cell service and I could not call home. I tried to find a spot where my phone would get reception, but there was none. I missed my husband badly, and yes even my kids. I had to sleep in a dorm style room with a group of women I didn’t really know. So out of my comfort zone! But I put my trust in God. He wanted me there, even though I had no idea why, so I knew I had to go with it.

The retreat’s schedule included a worship time, a speaker and then cabin time to talk about what we learned. This was scheduled twice a day. I was thrown into an intimacy with women I had never even experienced in my life before. Growing up with a mom and a sister at home there was no closeness at all between us. Still to this day we have strained relationships at best. So to be in this proximity with other women, sleeping, eating and sharing a bathroom together, was so strange for me. Yet by the end of the weekend I had bonded with several of the women.

Most exciting of all I had an amazing experience growing closer to God through worship. Before I had always had a bit of a bad attitude during worship at church. If I didn’t know the song or didn’t want to hear it, my worship wasn’t good. If I thought the musicians were off, or if I was tired, I couldn’t get into it. And believe me I started off the weekend this way to. But something happened over the course of those three days where God met me in a new place. And I gave Him all my love and adoration, throwing myself into every song and bringing myself on my knees before Him. I couldn’t get enough of it! I never wanted the worship to end. I wanted to just stay in that place and be with God forever. I knew that must be just what heaven is like, singing praises to our King!

The experience has completely changed my attitude during worship time. Now every time I am in worship I feel the spirit moving me and molding me. I always take a posture of submission; raising my hands and enjoying every minute of it, no matter what song it is or how it is played. I am here to give my all to God, not the other way around. I don’t know if it was the worship or being out in the woods and closer to His creation, or what it was, but I grew in my boldness as well. I was praying for women, crying out on their behalf for their pain and burdens, praying for restoration and faith and healing. And I loved every minute of it. I was speaking words of encouragement and words of knowledge and faith. I never knew I had it in me to pray so boldly and to speak so honestly. God knew. He was just waiting for that right moment to show it to me. That moment when I would be humbled before him and ready to take that next step into His world.

I did not realize these things were spiritual gifts – encouraging, speaking truth, praying, faith, helping others. Sometimes something that is already so much a part of you just seems normal. And sometimes things that feel right, also just feel to scary to step out and do. So you don’t look at it as a gift from your Creator. A gift you were given to share with the world, to be a light and shine brightly with faith and love. Something as simple as volunteering at church or smiling at people you walk by in the store, those are spiritual gifts. And they are so very important to God. He sees all you do, and those you do for the least of these, you did for me.

It took time for me to realize that I had any spiritual gifts at all. I had to keep being put in positions where it was out of the ordinary for me – out of my comfort zone – so that I would begin to exercise them without out even realizing it. Until I just couldn’t stop myself spiritual giftfrom using them every time I was around people. It became a joy to me and that is when you know you are doing God’s work – when it fills you with joy and love. If you find yourself in a position like that, then maybe you have found your spiritual gift.

This test can be helpful for you to learn more about what gifts of the spirit are and what gifts of the spirit you have been given. Once you start to understand what your spiritual gifts are, you can began to pray and ask God to lead you in how to use them. It may be as simple as feeding a homeless person, or it may be something more complicated like leading a Bible study. Whatever it is, it is valuable in the eyes of God,and needed in our church body!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

 

 

 

 

Category: Into The Light, Living In Darkness, Spiritual Gifts | Comments Off on Gifts of the Spirit