Sunday, March 29, 2015

What Is The Influencing Spirit?

"I speak the things which I have seen with My Father..." 
Jesus, John 8:38

During a recent time of prayer I saw an image of a person overtaken with bitterness and resentment. It was not a person I knew, but it was to show me how a root of bitterness, or any evil spirit, will try and spread. Bitterness is a root and roots try to grow and spread. They are continually trying to gain new ground and spread to new soil in search of nutrients and to establish a stronghold. What I saw was this root reaching like a hand to try and gain access into the heart of the person who was sitting next to the one with the bitterness. It was very subtle and the person was not aware that this root was trying to gain access. The Bible tells us that many can be defiled by a root of bitterness. It isn't content to just affect one person.

How can we be aware when things like this are trying to spread into our life? Most often they are spread through words--words that are spoken under the influence of these evil spirits. Just as words spoken under the influence of the Holy Spirit will bring life, salvation, deliverance, healing and all of God's goodness, words spoken under an evil spirit's influence will bring death and destruction through deception. It must use deception because no one willingly agrees to bring evil on themselves. When we take offense, fault-find, are critical or condemning, we are allowing a root to enter. When we compare, compete, become arrogant, jealous or look for pity instead of deliverance, we are allowing a root to enter. It may look innocent, it may look harmless, it may even look religious or have a form of godliness, but the question to ask is, "What spirit is the influencing spirit?"

We must embrace the Spirit of Truth, which is the Holy Spirit. It's not through knowledge that we see this type of spiritual thing going on. This type of discernment doesn't come through knowledge, even a knowledge of the Word. It comes from a pure heart. It comes through our spirit being saturated with the Holy Spirit. Our hearts longing for His heart, wanting to be free from sin, pride and our own efforts to justify ourselves.

Where two or more are gathered in the name of the Lord, He is in the midst. There is power in our unity and agreement with the Holy Spirit and each other. It's like an electrical current flows back and forth between the people in a way that can't happen with one person alone. The devil knows this, and tries to spread his stuff too. We must resist the spirit of bitterness, resentment, self-pity, and all of that, and yield instead to the Holy Spirit.

Then comes the test--the proving of our faith. When we sincerely, from our heart, want to yield to the Spirit of God above all else, that's great! When we say that is our desire, those words are pleasing to His ears. However, they do not contain any power or authority until they are proven. They are of no use until tested. Just like a water line must have all of the joints secured and then tested to see if it can handle the pressure of the water flowing through, there comes a time of testing to see if we will hold up, and to what extent. This is a good thing, not a bad thing, because the Lord helps us pass the test!

When a person near you wants to extend their bitter roots into the soil of your heart, you must prove that you will walk in the ways of the Lord even when it's difficult. This testing proves that you will remain faithful to the Lord and thereby allows His power and authority to flow through you in a greater way. This doesn't mean you become suspicious of others, or become prideful, thinking you have more discernment than they do. No, the way of the Holy Spirit, is the way of love. The way to judge what spirit is influencing you at any given moment, is to measure it by the yardstick of God's love.

Jesus said the pure in heart will see God. What is in our heart is what will guide our eyes, our thoughts and our words. Don't go looking for the evil influences around you, you'll find them, and if you focus on them you'll end up getting wrapped up in that. Instead, look for the Spirit of God and His glory which fills the earth. Look to see what your heavenly Father is doing. When Jesus was here on earth, He said He always did that which He saw the Father doing. He kept His eyes on Him. We need to be doing the same, and the Holy Spirit will alert us to danger when necessary.

Hebrews 12:15, Luke 9:55, James 3, Matthew 12:37, Acts 10:38, 2 Timothy 3:5, 1 Corinthians 8:1, John 14:16-17, Matthew 5:8, 1 John 4:4, Matthew 18:20, James 1:12, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, 1 Corinthians 3:3, John 8:38, Isaiah 6:3

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Thoughts of Noah's Day, and Today

For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
Matthew 24:37

Jesus said that at the time of His return to the earth, it would be like the days of Noah--everyone going about their business, not aware of the imminent danger upon them. When we look at the condition of mankind in the days of Noah we read that evil thoughts of the heart were continual.

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth,
and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 6:5

The apostle Paul spoke of the battle the church is in. It's not a battle against flesh and blood, it's a battle of thoughts. Thoughts of obedience to Christ vs. thoughts that are against the knowledge of God. Our weapons are divinely powerful weapons that will destroy fortresses. These fortresses are speculations and lofty things that come against the knowledge of God--thoughts, arguments, belief systems and political platforms.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh,
but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing
raised up against the knowledge of God,

and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

You are in a battlefield every day. Wherever you go--work, shopping, home, church etc.--there are thoughts and belief systems you are confronted with. The message of Christ vs. everything against Christ. This is the battle you face. Every time you choose to embrace thoughts of Christ--His gospel, His message, His ways, you are winning another battle. Don't think that these "little" battles you go through during your day that try to sway your mind off the Lord and His ways aren't important. They are vitally important. You are destroying fortresses. It's all about Jesus. The enemy will do whatever he can do to keep the message of Jesus quiet. The end will not come until the gospel of the kingdom is preached in the whole world. (Matthew 24:14). 

In the days of Noah, the thoughts of mankind were continual evil thoughts. In the day of the Lord, there will be a people whose thoughts are continually on the Lord. These are those who are preaching the gospel of the kingdom. These are the ones who overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. It begins with the thoughts of your heart. Your words come from what fills your heart. Put the Word of God before you all day, every day. Whatever you have to do to keep your thoughts on Him.

The enemy has tried to use science and logic to dispute the gospel of Christ, but science began proving the validity of the gospel. Today it seems to be religious and political ideologies. He goes after the thoughts to try and cripple those who believe. He goes after the faith, by promoting fear. May we cry out to God for our message not to be just persuasive words of wisdom, but demonstration of the Spirit and power of God so that faith in the one true, powerful God arises!

Revelation 12:11; Matthew 12:34; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
Where is the Lord God of Elijah!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Master's Table

"But she said, "Yes Lord; but even the dogs
feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table." 
Matthew 15:27

In Matthew 15:21-28 we read the story of a Canaanite woman who came to Jesus because her daughter was "cruelly demon-possessed." Jesus wouldn't even talk to her. Eventually, His disciples came and asked Him to send her away because she wouldn't leave. His answer was that He was sent "only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." It seems so cruel, but Jesus was staying true to the timing of His call. It would eventually be the disciples' job to preach the gospel to the world, but at this point Jesus was sent to the Jewish people only.

The woman was persistent and came to Jesus and bowed down before Him, crying out for Him to help her. He finally spoke to her, but He said "it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." Most people would surely walk away in shame, or argue in arrogance, but she didn't do either one. She didn't care that He called her a dog. She didn't get offended at all, instead she said, "Yes Lord, but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table." Wow. With that He saw how great her faith was and spoke a word of deliverance for her daughter.

The remarkable thing about this woman's faith is that she let Jesus know that she wasn't there to steal the children's bread. She didn't even mention the children's bread. She said the dogs eat from their master's table. She didn't want to interfere with His call to reach the lost sheep of the house of Israel, she wouldn't take their bread, but she would take the leftovers, the crumbs, from His table.

The woman's attitude is just as remarkable as her faith. She didn't argue the equality of all mankind. She didn't get an attitude. She knew she didn't deserve anything from Him, and she didn't want to take away from what He was called to do. She simply knew that He had the authority to deliver her daughter and she begged for mercy, calling on His compassion, as humbly as she possibly could.

One little wave of the hand, one little brush of a finger, and a crumb falls from the Master's table. A crumb that is powerful enough to drive out a cruel demon from this woman's daughter. This woman's life and family was drastically changed due to this one crumb. Imagine what we can do now that we have been empowered with the Holy Spirit and commissioned by the Lord Himself to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth!

Matthew 28:18-19, Mark 16:15-18

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Staff of Reed: U.S. Lessons from Egypt

Around 595 BC The Lord spoke a word through the Prophet Ezekiel that Egypt would be destroyed. He said he was against Pharaoh because of his pride but he also says the following:

"Then all the inhabitants of Egypt will know that I am the Lord, Because they have been only a staff made of reed to the house of Israel. When they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their hands; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins quake. Ezekiel 29:6-7.
There are a couple things we can learn from these verses. Egypt was being destroyed and it was, at least partially, because of it's relationship with Israel. Egypt was not a staff that Israel could rely on. They were a staff of reed, one easily broken, injuring Israel in the process. The Lord wanted (and still wants) Israel to trust Him and Him alone, not any other nation or any other person, and Egypt was suffering because of Israel's trust in them.

Does that mean Egypt should have just left Israel alone? Well, it says when they "took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their hands; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins quake." God didn't want Israel to trust in Egypt in place of Him, for that would be trusting in something that really can't hold up when put to the test. Egypt was not to give Israel a false sense of security--whether intentionally deceiving them or ignorantly thinking they were their protector. Yet they should have supported Israel as much as possible, if Israel made any agreement with them and then needed help.

The United States should take heed. If Israel reaches out to us, we don't want to just appear that we support them, but then not really do so when the pressure is on (like a flimsy staff of reed). At the same time, we need to realize that we are not to take the place of their trust in the Lord, and we should encourage them to trust in Him over us, rather than arrogantly thinking we are the fixer of all things. Yes we should support Israel, but that in no way means that they can't survive without us. We both need to look to the Lord as our God--our defense, our help in trouble, our provider, healer etc.

Egypt was to "never again be the confidence of the house of Israel," (vs 16) and the United States should never think that Israel needs us to survive. We need them, and we both need the Lord.