In western culture, obtaining wholeness of mind, body and spirit has been considered for many generations as an ancient ‘pagan’ practice. Aligned with Eastern Religion… Buddhist & Hindu beliefs, Chinese medicine, Japanese fitness, and so on. As a child growing up in the modern Christian community, I heard that wholeness (Oneness) practices were ‘New Age’, ‘Inviting in Evil’, “Anti-Christian’ and so on.
Has uptight religiosity become so crippled by fear of everything which is not completely understood, that we have learned to avoid exploring the various unconventional gifts that God has generously given us?
Just as the counterfeit tries to use our Godly gifts for evil, so we have authority in Christ to return to practices useful in our Christian walk as God intended. Just as evil intended the internet to be used to fill the world with debauchery and all manner of deception, here I am using the internet to share my truth and the Good News of Christ…And here you are reading it.
Being present amidst rushing time, and finding stillness in God’s presence, is a most Christ-like quality, and the enemy knows this. So what if he took this gift, and corrupted the message of the One True God in the process, so that future generations of Christians would avoid all mediation and mindfulness practices?
This is not to say that all meditation practices or mindfulness techniques are completely trustworthy for Christians. If, during a guided mediation, the instructor starts asking you to connect to a spiritual system that is not congruent with the truths of the One True God, then a conscious decision to reject falsehood and reapplication of Godly armour is necessary, or we may indeed leave ourselves exposed to unwanted spiritual activity. But that is true for ALL things under the sun, discernment is crucial. Yet we have become so afraid of evil and temptation into sin, that we forget we have overcome it through Christ, and trust that His Holy Spirit will guide us through ALL things that God has made for our GOOD.
So can’t we push aside fear and step confidently into the loving protective, victorious arms of our Lord? Unlock the restrictions of the mind and seek God’s truth.
“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)
As God’s people we are inflicted with various conditions that we might lose confidence in the strength of our bodies and our self-reliance, that we may seek out and rely upon the Lord, so that He may receive ALL glory for our witness. Like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12: 7-9…
“Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
My particular psychological condition, cyclothymia, has manic tendencies, which makes it extremely hard to focus and wait for the still small voice of God. I have an extremely fast nervous system as a result of increased adrenaline, due to the climate of emotional dysfunction throughout my ancestry, heritage and history. The speeds of the nervous system can affect numerous issues aside from a fast/easily distracted mind, such as heart issues, arrhythmia, mood disorders, digestive and hormonal issues, and so on. The fall out of these conditions usually swing us towards a Doctor’s office, followed by some form of medication to attempt to override symptoms, yet not addressing the problem of the speed within. I write more on this topic in a post to follow. My point is that, over the 10 years since being diagnosed with this condition, I have found that I can significantly slow my nervous system through relaxation and meditation techniques. Practicing mindfulness has become one of the most beneficial ways for me to connect with God and hand my speedy nervous system into His calming care.
“Be Still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
“Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.” (Psalm 104:3)
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
The scriptures guide us towards meditation, to focusing the mind, to take time to dwell on good things worthy of praise. There is so much new evidence coming to light regarding the healing benefits of mindfulness and alternative treatments, all which reflect Godly principles and scripture. Yet I can not walk into any church and ask for the time of the next Christian Meditation Class. Oh I wish!
So you will not be surprised to hear how grateful I was to discover these Christian Meditations on Youtube. Enjoy!
God has been showing me some crazy similarities between destructive patterns in relationships and the common themes in Religion. The Enemy isn’t very creative really, replaying the same tired old accusations in all areas of life. The most blatant being “You can’t really trust Love, can you?”.
Who can say, in our current generation, that they have never heard a woman complain about the things she hopes to change about her man?
Who can say they have never heard a man complain about being in trouble with their wife?
There is an epidemic of families being broken all over the globe and in our western culture this theme seems to be the most common.
Many women share with me their frustrations over the things about their men that they want to alter. I’m sure many of you ladies can understand, we are all sinners after all. Maybe these men are selfish. Maybe they are unreliable. Can you relate? Maybe they stay out too late while you are stuck at home with the children. Maybe they don’t help enough around the house or with the children. Maybe they aren’t romantic any more. Maybe they spend money irresponsibly. Maybe they drink too much or play Playstation too much. Maybe they don’t work hard. Maybe they go to strip clubs or look at pornography or stray physically. Maybe arguments are often and the connection is wearing thin.
In this recent social phase, Inner Enemies have heightened the emotional atmosphere, they empower us women with the accusation, “You can’t really trust Love, Can you?”, encouraging us to become nasty and emotional when our expectations are not met. We become controlling, manipulative, restrictive. We might lay down the law, use ultimatums, make threats, yell, belittle, cry, all in order to get them to alter their ways, to satisfy us.
Men in these situations too have frustrations, they feel penned in by an emotionally unstable relationship. They feel their manhood, their authority, is being challenged, being overpowered. They often hide their hearts away and continue to make their own decisions about how to spend their time and their money, without letting her reactions sway these decisions, in a way to feel like they are still in charge over themselves and not submitting to the control of someone dominating and often unreasonable. The emotional reaction of the women is often the very thing that pushes the men further into these ‘frustrating’ behaviours. In many cases these dynamics cause division in relationships, and at the very least can cause a lack of deep connection and contentment.
Making a choice and a commitment to love someone is not a decision to give up our freedom, even though many mistake this as the case. For without the freedom to decide every day if you want to be in the relationship there is only more pressure to create division. We think once someone says they love us, they commit to us then ‘CLICK’ the magical handcuffs are on. We own them, and the right to demand that they make us happy. This is toxic thinking. Any behavioural changes that are made in this scenario cannot be trusted completely, they haven’t been genuinely made out of love, they are made out of fear and control.
Conversely there are those whose Inner Angels help them to accept their loved ones imperfections. They try to be patient to wait for hearts to adjust and behaviours to settle into a united rhythm. They want their mate to be free to choose to love them, to be free to want to do right by them out of love not out of fear. They recognise that forced compliance has short term rewards, for lasting unity there needs to be alterations of the heart. This goes for both men and women.
As an example, these women give grace when their men are late. They give forgiveness when their men make mistakes. They use every opportunity to try to show love when they could show anger. They choose to give freedom rather than control. Kindness instead of attack. Consequently, very often the men in these relationships are eventually driven by their own motivation to want to do right by their woman. They would rather call and let her know they will be late, because they know she will worry, and they know they have the freedom to stay as long as they want. Suddenly they can’t wait to come home. They would rather resist the temptation to stray because they appreciate the constant approachable love their woman gives them. They choose to do right because they don’t want to hurt her, they want to love her back. Not because of the promise, not because of the words, not because of the certificate, because their heart has been altered by the love and grace and freedom and forgiveness they have received.
This is exactly how God’s Grace works as opposed to the Law. Picture these previous relationship responses as metaphors for the Christian systems of Law and Grace.
Under the Law our freedom is taken captive. Religiosity points out our flaws, condemns us, threatens us. Through fear and guilt, religion expects us to change. You are given no freedom to choose God’s will, it is expected, demanded, forced. Any changes made in this scenario are made without the strength of love, and they often are only temporary changes at best. The changes aren’t written in hearts, only in works. The connection between us and God is fragile and unstable. Any significant test and it will crumble, tempting us to hide and compare sins.
Under Grace freedom is given and love is abundant. Every day you get to choose if you want a relationship with God. Everyday God gives us our own free will to decide for ourselves if we want to grow in our commitment to Him. When we slip and fall and we turn to Him we are not belittled or condemned, we are met with Forgiveness and Love, Strength and Help. He is always waiting for us to come to Him no matter how many times we fall. His spirit that grows inside us, is what writes His laws on our hearts because we have chosen to soften our hearts every time we choose Him. This creates humility and self-awareness, altering our behaviour and our hearts, and builds a connection with God that nothing can break.
Inner Enemies have confused our twisted emotional version of Love with God’s version of Love. We know how we feel when our loved ones disappoint or hurt us and so we assume God must feel that way about us when we sin.
However God is Love!
We are all familiar with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. Love is not proud. It does not dishonour others. Love is not Self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs.”
We expect this kind of love from others and yet we rarely are able to give it ourselves. We assume God must have this same flaw. But God IS Love, His spirit gives us the ability to love others in this way. So then let’s swap His name for ‘Love’ in that previous scripture.
God is PATIENT, God is KIND. He does not envy. He does not boast. God is not proud. He does not DISHONOUR others. God is not SELF-SEEKING. God is NOT EASILY ANGERED. God KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. God does not delight in evil but rejoices in TRUTH. He always PROTECTS. Always TRUSTS, Always HOPES, Always PERSEVERES. God never fails!
So it becomes clear that the Enemy has been using this accusation “You can’t really trust Love, can you?” in our relationships, but he has also been using it in the Church. “You can’t really trust God, can you?” The Law has been used as a tool to condemn us, pushing us away from God’s love, from God’s Grace. We must realise the deception in this practice and accept the abounding Grace Christ came to share with us. Grace that makes us want to grow closer to Him, the closer we get, the more alterations He shines through in our behaviour.
Please don’t misunderstand here, no one is saying that it is okay to stray, to neglect, to be selfish in a relationship. However nor is it okay to condemn the faults of those we love, and expect them to change just to suit us. In this way the Law has its purpose, it is God’s way of communicating to us what sin looks like. In the same way we can communicate with our loved ones which behaviours cause us to pull away and protect our hearts. Keeping in mind all the principles of what LOVE IS, as stated above. Just as God stands firmly behind the truth of the Law, we also stand firmly behind the conviction of our Christ-centered expectations in our relationships. But Love, LOVE is the key!
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1 John 4:18-19 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Simply put…..If freedom is given, mercy is abundant, then love becomes the powerful force that encourages our hearts to want to change!
I have this friend, a friend who is more like family. I have a longing in my heart to undo all the damage that Religion has done to him and replace it with the Love of God. Sadly it has become a taboo subject. He knows I have an abundance of faith and yet he finds it laughable.
You see his only memories of God, Christ and the Bible are tainted by an abusive and legalistic school system. Forced to believe in a God he could not identify with, and expected to behave in ways completely foreign to his nature. He was told to accept teachings that made no sense to him or God would send him to an unending place of torment and fire. Now this is bad enough in itself, yet he was abused further for asking challenging questions when he had doubts about the teachings he was being held captive by.
For those of us who have also experienced this type of controlling religiosity, and because the scriptures are often confusing for us in our immaturity, it is no wonder many pull away from God, from Christ and from the Bible. Especially as the basis of any faith comes from a place of what makes sense to us, not just what we are told, otherwise it simply unravels as we grow in understanding and maturity. We begin to realise that the theories we have been taught no longer line up with our reasoning and comprehension. Just as Santa Claus is easy to believe when we are very young, as we grow, we start to have doubts, we begin to ask intelligent, rational, and reasonable questions such as, *How does he reach every house in only 24hrs? Or *How does he get to the Christmas tree of houses that have no chimney. *Why do we let someone we have never met into our homes when we sleep? *Why did I get all these presents when I have been naughty?
This friend of mine is extremely intelligent. He values wisdom and historical knowledge and reason. So when he was punished for investigating the parts of religion that made no sense to him, he gave up any shred of faith he may have had in the God of the Bible. His rational doubts were met with irrational responses, which gave him few other options than to conclude that they were all talking a load of rubbish.
His teachers were afraid of his challenges, they were angry at his doubts, and yet the truth has no need to fear investigation.
In this fantastic message which I heard recently, came this insightful quote. “Doubt creates a space for faith to exist, for without doubt, faith is irrelevant”
Doubt is a vital and important part of developing the stability of faith. Without doubt, God becomes a concept only for the naive and the ignorant. Without doubt there would be no challenge to pursue truth. Without doubt we would believe every lie. There is an enemy of God out there, deceiving and lying, and as far as I can see, those who aren’t allowed to doubt, and aren’t allowed to question, end up either accepting the concept of a God different to the One True God. Or they give up on God and try to get as far away from the notion of God entirely.
Once we begin to ask the right questions we can begin to piece together what makes sense to us, and that forms the foundation of our beliefs. Religion tells us to believe what we have been told no questions asked, but God wants us to ask and ask and ask. To never stop asking, never settle on a belief until we find the answers that match the still quiet voice of reason deep within our core.
Here is a place to start… Why would God want us to ask the hard questions instead of just simply believing what we have been told? – The answer is genuine connection and Love!
To prove that we are all made in God’s image He put the desire to be loved, not just the desire but the necessity. Not just to be loved but to connect on a deep level with something other than our own conscious ego. Because He is Love, because he wants to connect, He needs to connect.
Look at it this way, if you found someone you wanted to connect with, someone you wanted to love you, and you gave them a love potion. Sure enough you have their attention, their confessions of love, their attraction, their passion. Yet your trust, your connection, is not based on the genuine truth of their love, it is based on your trust of the potion.
This is why He wants us to question and to discover reasons that make sense to us to Love Him, to decide of our own free will to love, to connect, to trust, to revere. So that He can have trust in our love for Him. Then and only then is true unity, euphoric connection, ultimate fulfillment, possible for both us and for God!
Points to ponder….
*Truth can handle being reasonably investigated
*Lies are abundant and deception is rife
*Doubt is essential and discernment crucial
*God loves us and wants to connect with us
*Why not ask the tough questions
The scriptures say that God is Love. God is full of Truth. Let us not become naive about our beliefs, swallowing whole the lies of the enemy that seek to corrupt the virtue of God’s Love. Seek out the truth, discover what makes sense to you in your pursuit of God’s Love through His word, through a personal relationship with Him, questioning all who claim to understand Him. Its time we did away with these poisonous teachings of an abusive and unreasonable God, determined to send us to our unending torture, when the reality is that His love is the only way we can overcome all that seeks to destroy us. Lets no longer be like children who misunderstand the loving authority of their parents. Lets build a reasonable and rational foundation for our faith starting with the truth that God is Love!
Those gifted with faith have always been in the enemy’s firing line, and it is very obvious when someone else persecutes you. But this blog has always been devoted to revealing the hidden enemy, the inner enemies. One area that has impressed itself on my heart recently is the fine line between certainty in faith and arrogance.
Beth Moore said this in a recent series “I don’t mean to sound presumptuous, but you may believe that I only think I know Christ. Let me assure you that I KNOW HIM, I may not have seen Him with my eyes, but every promise has been kept to heal my wounds into marks of Christ. I have a personal relationship with Him. No imaginary friend could have done all He has done for me.”
There is nothing else that compares to the feeling of being certain in faith. Those times when there is nothing anyone can say to make you doubt what you have experienced to be true. Especially the times God has aligned numerous perfect signs, or given prophesies before they appear, or fulfilled promises when obedience brought them to reality. Certainty in faith like that can be the most wonderful experience known to mankind, and yet it is not without its potential drawbacks.
Inner Enemies seek to destroy all testimony of a loving God with us and in us, doing all they can to cause us to doubt God, to resist Him, to prevent us from having these experiences of certainty. Then, once we experience certainty in faith, they push us further into it. They empower ego and pride, conceit and prejudice. The weakness of our flesh is real, and the lies of the enemy are subtle enough that they are easy to believe. It could be as simple as wishing others believed us, and defending ourselves when they don’t. It could be that our experiences don’t line up with another’s so we may dismiss or doubt the beliefs of another. Inner Enemies attempt to weaken our self-awareness and corrupt our humility, or at the very worse end of the spectrum, may encourage the violent atrocities carried out across the world in the name of religion. Even the Enemies of God have learned how to imitate God so well that many are convinced of their certainty when it is in fact a counterfeit. Just another way to fill the world with confusion about the One True God.
Our desire to know all things is both our passion and our down fall, from the fruit to the future, human’s greed for understanding has been misleading the world. It has driven science to make adamant claims to have discovered a vital new piece of ‘truth’, only to realise much later how far from truth it was. It has driven Christians to divide up into various denominations, each one disputing the beliefs of the next, watering down the effectiveness of God’s message with each new dispute.
In order for us to stay on the fine line towards our Godly calling, my Dad used to explain it like tacking into the wind in sailing.
The Enemies attempt to push us off course, a slight nudge here and slight nudge there, knowing that even just a tiny deviation off course will end us up a long way from our calling. If the Enemies use doubt, guilt, and resistance to keep us on this side of the course we must tack towards the line by seeking out God’s word, God’s truth, building up and exercising our faith. Alternatively during those times we experience certainty in faith, the Enemies push us right over to the other side and use pride to attempt to convince us that there is no longer a need to change, not much more need for growth. Subtle lies that say we have grown enough and we know enough. One side of the course keeps us dull to insights and understanding, while the other pushes us into the arrogance of knowledge. All is a strategy to keep us from pursuing the truth in the word of God, and this is when many may start comparing sins and sinlessness, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. It doesn’t take a genius to see that if radicals saw themselves as equal sinners there would be no one to judge, no one to condemn, no one to make an example of. Only Compassion and the Unity of a world full of sinners who ALL need a Saviour.
Self-awareness and a close relationship with God is the safest way to navigate the course to our destiny. Keeping our humility, recognising that we always have more to learn is vital if we are to tack back away from arrogance. An arrogant testimony is more likely to dissuade unity, and yet we must have confidence if our testimony is to carry any weight. In order to walk the fine line towards our destiny and give compelling testimony along the way, we must stay in the constant presence of God. I pray we all keep up our armour and keep vigilantly tacking against the winds of our Inner Enemies, until God’s purpose is reached in each of our lives.
When I was a young adult I made all my decisions based on what I felt was right. I trusted my feelings above all else. I truly believed that I was upstanding, that I was honourable, that I was right. Aren’t we all so good at self-delusion?
In my mid twenties I welcomed my Dad back into my life, and he introduced me to God and His word with new perspective. I began to see how the words on the pages cut through the lies the enemy had been using to hide my intentions from me. Lies that encouraged me to compare myself to others so I could deem myself to be better, smarter, kinder, more organised, more loving, more righteous than those around me. Easy enough when I compared myself to those who appeared to be lacking in areas I was adept in. A labyrinth of lies stood between the intentions of my heart and my conscious thoughts. Each secret pathway was filled with excuses, with comparisons, with emotions. I was completely unaware of the truth in my heart.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9
I had yet to learn how to investigate the heart of the girl in the mirror, without the rose coloured glasses Inner Enemies had placed over my eyes.
The word of God did just as the scriptures said it would. It cut through to the bone and exposed my hidden intentions that I had been completely oblivious to.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. Hebrews 4:12
Seeing the truth about my wicked heart was a turning point in my life. I was shocked into self-awareness, ripped from the false sense of security the labyrinth of deceptions had given. I saw a heart that was self-seeking, dishonest, and emotionally manipulative. Yet the hardest blow came when I saw that not only were my emotions manipulating those around me, those I ‘loved’, they had also been manipulating me!
In my youth I had a gift of twisting my own lies into the most believable display, I was very good at convincing others of my mis-truths, sometimes I was so persuasive I began to believe my own lies. Once I felt the conviction of how clearly I had been deluded and how easily I had fooled myself, I began to distrust my feelings, rather than allowing them to make all my decisions, I gave in and let the word of God do it’s healing work in me. I began instead to despise deception and I developed a love and pursuit of truth, as a result God has used the sharp edge of the sword to cut away each segment of that labyrinth of lies. I came to understand that this is how God uses our sin, plus His word and His grace, to sew His laws into our hearts.
“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”
Facing up to the true wickedness of our own heart, which has so well worn a righteous mask, is one of the most self-damning experiences, and Inner Enemies love to overplay their hand. They will try to use this awareness to shroud us in guilt, guilt that is so hideous we become afraid to enter into God’s presence. Inner Enemies tell us that our sins are too appauling to forgive. However when we learn that God’s grace is far more abundant than our sin, if we recognise this trick and learn that so long as we confess our sin to God He is faithful and swift to forgive us. He will bring us into a new covenant where another level of Holy Spirit is given to us, to fight against the lies, against the guilt, so that God may do a miraculous work on our hearts. God can then fulfil His intentions to circumcise the hard and wicked outer case of our hearts, to reveal a soft place for His voice to be established, and malleable hearts that bend to His will. Then He can give us all the blessings a righteous heart deserves and more.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
“For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favour You will surround him as with a shield.” Psalms 5:12
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalms 34:17
“LORD, who may abide in your tabernacle? Who may dwell in your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart;” Psalms 15:1-2
“Behold, I will lay your stones with colourful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.” Isaiah 54:11-14
When a fellow believer unifies their heart to mine and to God’s presence in prayer it is an amazing event, and I have been blessed enough to experience this kind of unity a number of times just recently in fact. Yet sharing in verbal prayer is not a practice that I always find as comforting as some may think I should. Over the years I have noticed that some prayers don’t always sit quite right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate verbal or group prayers’ certain place within the body of Christ, I listen intently to the words offered aloud, agreeing deep in my spirit when my heart harmonizes with what is being said. I am aware of the miraculous power sharing prayers can have, and yet sadly sometimes I notice that prayers can feel recited, watered down, and even at times heretic.
I wonder if perhaps I have an aversion to people praying aloud over me, from when I fell in with a false prophet for a brief period of time. At the time I had no idea she was a false prophet, as the evidence came to light later on. I was just thrilled to have made a friend who accepted me in all my faults, who at the lowest point of my life did not condemn me, who openly professed her belief in God and was happy to talk about the Bible and faith. Yet when she asked if she could pray over me I felt awkward, I noticed that her words didn’t line up with the Will of God as I understood it. She was trying to override His control, trying to get Him to change the circumstances He had put me in, rather than asking Him to empower me to accept His will, to guide my steps, to learn through the trials, to trust Him through the storm. No gratitude, No praise, No humility. As she prayed over me it made my skin crawl, and even though I fought myself trying to be polite and ride it out, I couldn’t and had to ask her to stop.
In Matthew 6:5-6 Jesus gives us direct guidance not to pray out loud and in public.
5 And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.
Have we forgotten how to value the purest communication with Our Heavenly Father? How intimate and wholehearted it should be?
Praying allowed, sixteen times a day, regardless of who is present, may seem like the most righteous practice around, and yet it is so simple to perform without righteousness. Careless use of prayer can be more harmful than good especially if God’s Will is not at the center, it may even push some away from the unity God’s people are intended to have. It won’t resonate the abundant power prayer can have when true unity is felt. Careless prayer may even guide some out of God’s will, if specific guidance is given when not prophesied directly from God.
Maybe my heart pulls this way because most of my experience with verbal prayer always came from my Dear Dad, who used to pray aloud with me whenever I desperately needed it. He always knew how to line up his heart with mine, and connect us in unity with Gods presence. Maybe it’s simply because I was spoiled to have shared that and I just miss his fervent prayers?
This post was not an easy one to publish, as it has the potential to be misinterpreted or taken out of context. It is tough to expose and put into words exactly how or why my spirit interprets prayer in this way. I guess I’d just hope to use this post as a gentle nudge to ask ourselves some honest questions about the true nature of our verbal prayers and to be wary of using them rashly, repetitively or without deep consideration.
One of the major reasons I have avoided religious institutions during my faith walk, is due to the abundance of Imitation Faith which I have witnessed, and I realise I am not alone in this. While I thoroughly love being part of a faith-group where I can share in worship, and servitude, which challenges me, and yet supports me in my faith walk, I have found it difficult to find lasting support for the type of relationship I have with my Lord and Saviour. Still I keep an open heart, an open mind, and a willing spirit to go wherever He directs me. The true test is to be completely myself and not contort into someone I feel the church might support, I must focus on the promise that God supports me, and that is all I need. That being said, I have been blessed many times within church walls as God has moved me in and about. In fact I am currently befriending a new congregation and excited to see how God moves there.
Evidence of Imitation Faith disheartens and upsets me. Sometimes the imitation is glaringly obvious, you can tell within one interaction. Often the imitation appears so similar to the genuine article, making it difficult to identify, and it can take quite some time to recognise. If there is the possibility of hearing from the Lord through a Donkey, we have to have open ears no matter our whereabouts. It’s hard to explain how to tell the fake, because it’s not always due to behaviour, or language, or anything exterior. Sometimes it can be genuine for a season and then become corrupted. It is a constant battle of discernment. Genuine faith is an internal, private journey with submission to the specific, individual guidance from God, with opportunities to exercise our faith and obedience to fulfill each request, developing and maintaining a covenant with Him. Through each unique relationship, God reveals Himself to us, this is how we develop a familiarity with God’s Character so we can recognise, trust and truly love Him. Imitation faith attempts to push us all onto one same narrow path, it fails to grasp how vastly unique each of us is and which level our faith is at, or what is required to gain the next perfect level. It can severely mislead believers away from their God given path with guilt, than towards it with support. It’s no wonder that it can be something to be wary of. Much evidence throughout the bible states that within the Nation of believers there were only ever a remnant who obeyed God, only a remnant who trusted Him. Something else to remember is that Christ spoke in parables for a reason, to hide the truth, to prevent the imitation from knowing the secrets of the gospel. For good reason….
9 He that hath ears, let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 And he answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.13 Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.14 And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them.16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.17 For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not.
Recently during a great conversation, I was reminded of a metaphor which my Dad used to explain imitation faith to me when I first began my adult faith walk. It was invaluable for me as a ‘Baby Christian’ to understand how easily we can be deceived into building imitation faith as apposed to genuine faith.
There was once a man who was flat broke, he had many bills to pay and debt collectors breathing down his neck. During a moment of extreme desperation he fell to his knees and prayed “If there is a God, please help me pay my bills”. The next week he was walking along the road on his way to a job interview for a job he would rather not do, when he discovered a briefcase, unlocked, full of money. Now the money was counterfeit, but the man didn’t care to wonder nor check. He went to the post office and paid his bills, it worked. His debt was cleared, he thanked “God” and he decided not to go to the job interview after-all.
The metaphor is that the pursuit of faith is just like the man’s pursuit of money, he needed it, he prayed for it, yet he found something less than perfection, less than righteous, less than true and he accepted it. He accepted it because it was an easier ‘answer’ to his prayer than the job interview God had actually provided, for a job that would have taught him priceless lessons about himself, about hard work, about responsibility, about the character of God and how to develop true faith in Him. He would have received an abundance of Godly blessings that would not only have covered his debts, but given him a lifetime without worry of money. He didn’t push past the imitation in order to search out the genuine, and settled for much less.
Lord, cover our mind with the amour of your salvation, that we may see and perceive, and hear and understand. That we never settle for the easier false options in our walk, and that we are blessed to be privy to your hidden truths, which fall on the soft soil of our hearts and not be stolen away, or overgrown with falsehood. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name I Pray! Amen!
When was the last time you felt torn, tested, tempted and deceived? Throughout my walk this has happened many times. Always before a huge breakthrough and a jump to a new level of faith, but at the time it is happening it is extremely tough going, dragging me to the edges of my sanity. My heart pulls one way, my flesh the other, my mind and my spirit also tug in opposite directions. It’s quite hard to focus and be effective when you feel split four ways. It can make you behave in ways that feel foreign and out of character. Scarily, cracks in focus easily lead to deception. My Dad used to say that being deceived was his biggest fear, and even though I too strive desperately for discernment, I recognise that hindsight exposes when deception has occurred. Thankfully Our Gracious Father above can turn our tests into our testimonies!
A faith walk is like walking along a join in the pavement, it’s a balancing act where missed footing doesn’t lead to an instant fall, in fact it can feel much the same as walking that fine line. If we forget to pay attention to each and every precise step, we may not even notice how far from the narrow path we have strayed.
Not only is having an effective faith walk a wobbly balancing act, fulfilling Godly purpose is a journey fraught with potholes. When a believer is determined to exercise their righteous gifts, venturing toward the goal God has placed in their destiny, they are certain to step into enemy territory. These determined ones are top priority foes for the enemy to tempt, to attack, to deceive. A common ruse the enemy uses is the counterfeit, often disguised in such a way as to appear Godly. Counterfeits come in many forms, false prophets, imitation faith, counterfeit gifts, and all are blatant impersonations of God, a subject I have written on previously in this post.
On a personal level, counterfeit gifts have been dancing circles around about me, on and off throughout my life. They attempt to drag my attention away from the true gifts which God placed in my spirit many years ago. New gifts are often exciting, bringing with them enthusiasm, inspiration, motivation, gratification. While gifts that are well worn often appear to have less of the glamour and more of the work. Hell bent on leading us away from our calling, the enemy can strut right up with a bright shiny new counterfeit ‘gift’ and convince us that it is a Godly one. The counterfeit appears so close to the genuine article that it takes some time before the truth becomes clear, the enemy can even mislead us within the very same nature of our genuine gift. Many times we can dive headfirst into the counterfeit because we believe wholeheartedly that God is the designer of it.
The scriptures warn us to be wary of falling for a counterfeit…
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
For me, deception is usually closely related to a manic episode, a humbling little quirk God obviously thought my personality could use. A manic episode is like being stuck to the side of a snowball rolling down an avalanche. Starting off small and manageable, perhaps a little bumpy, yet before you know it, it has grown bigger than you can cope with and find yourself hurtling toward the ground at a frightening pace, convinced of your ultimate destruction. It is easy to be misled when your thoughts have taken on a life and speed of their own.
This time of year is always somewhat manic, and discernment is particularly challenging around Christmas time when the enemy is in full force against believers who spread the true message of Christ and reject the Santa myth. Thankfully, true to form God’s word always gives guidance and weapons to wage war against these inner enemies.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”
I recognise that in order to ‘bring every thought into captivity’, I need to be willing to pause for thought in the midst of the chaos and listen out for God’s instructions which I need to submit to and obey. I need to slow down my thoughts, I need some quiet time, some mindfulness, some time focused on God’s abundant presence.
I pray fervently, Lord help us focus our thoughts, pulling them into captivity and obedience. Show us the counterfeits and deceptions so we may fulfill the purpose of our true gifts. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name. Amen!
“HONEY!! SHE NEEDS WATER!!” My husband calls to me in a desperate way, from twenty meters behind me.
It’s 3 am, middle of the City on a Sunday night.
A group of us are staggering from our work Christmas Party (insert excess alcohol here) heading towards the nearest open establishment, a nightclub which was about 800 meters or so up the road. We all worked in hospitality, in a club that opened all day everyday, and the Christmas party had been arranged on the quietest night so that only skeleton staff were needed at work. Being a Sunday night, in the middle of the City, not much was open. My husband was helping one of our overly intoxicated friends to stay upright as she tried to put one foot in front of the other without falling back into the bushes that skirted the footpath.
“I don’t have any water” I replied. I should mention here that I am famous for placing full glasses of water into the hands of those around me who are helping themselves to the unlimited Bar-tab without a second thought. “We are heading to the nearest place with water.” I reminded him.
“HONEY!” He called again, in a higher pitch, as he pulled himself and our friend from the bushes for the third time. “She really needs some water, she can’t do this!”
I began looking around me for a tap on the side of the building, or a bus stop or anything. No Luck.
“I’m sorry Babe, there is no water here, we just have to get her to the club.” I insisted.
“She’s not going to make it that far without some water!” He calls back.
I threw my hands in the air, I know he had had too much to drink, we all had, but what on earth did he really expect me to do? At the time I was in front of a large office block, which had a neat grassy area in front of it, but there wasn’t a tap in sight. Yet as I threw my hands into the air, I looked upwards into the dark night sky. I suddenly remembered my faith, I remembered that I have a relationship with the creator of the universe. I prayed….
“Lord, We really need water, I have no idea where you can get us some, but I know you can.”
I took two more steps along the empty street, and all of a sudden irrigation jets rose from the grass next to me and began squirting out water like a drinking fountain!!
“AMEN! WE HAVE WATER! WE HAVE WATER! AMEN!” I screamed, completely amazed by the accurate precision of God’s perfection and timing. Our dehydrated friend, came swaying over to the sprinklers and manages to slur,”Is it safe to drink?”
I filled my hands and gulped it down, laughing hysterically, “IT’S FROM THE LORD!”. Needless to say, that she had her fill of water and made it safely to the club, where we got her some more water and a cab home.
Our God is SO AWESOME!
This miracle occurred over 10 years ago, which happened to be a few years before that prophet came to my church and gave me the name “The Water Bearer” . I actually didn’t realise at first how many connections I had had with bearing water until sometime later. Needless to say each confirmation is always incredibly powerful, big or small.
Sharing these testimonies is such a pleasure, to be able to share evidence of how abundant and miraculous God’s impact can be in our lives when we believe and reach out to Him. I’d love to hear some of your testimonies. Please share below.
We’ve all heard people claim “I don’t care what anyone thinks” and for those of you like me, perhaps this seems a far off concept, one we are encouraged to strive for. Getting to the point where we don’t care what others think seems impossible. I have always cared, deeply. So much so, that for much of my life I believed I needed to be malleable, that I needed to change myself to be what everyone else told me I should be. I spent so much time hopping from one foot to the other unsure of who I was, depending on who I was with. I assumed that if I somehow met their expectations then they would have to approve of me. I tripped over myself trying to ensure no one held ill feelings towards me. I pursued those who had gripes, finding anyway I could to defend myself and convince them that I was worthy of their approval. It is one thing to try and be at peace with all men, and another thing entirely to need the approval of all men. Through therapy I came to understand much of this was due to my hidden insecurity and once I began to believe in my own worth I began to take a much different approach.
When I look back at that girl I see many differences. I no longer see someone who is willing to change herself at the whim of others, I no longer see someone who needs to chase down everyone who condemns my faults and has unreasonable expectations of me. In fact these days I quite simply stay away and allow them to think whatever they like. However, I still and always will pursue change. Changes that I see as valuable, and changes that God has impressed upon my heart, I hope to always be malleable in my Lord’s hands.
During these changes, I have come to realise that the statement “I don’t care what anyone thinks”, is somewhat false, hence the reason it seems impossible. We all care….We might not let them know we care, we might not chase them, we might not change for them, but to be misjudged, misunderstood and lose connection still hurts, it still bothers us, we still care.
I started to get some insight into this recently, after I dug deeper into the question “why do we all care?”. A little epiphany came after praying on this, that the reason we all care is because we are all made in the image of God, and Our Heavenly Father IS LOVE. Perfect, pure, righteous LOVE. Love that intense has an unwavering need for connection with others. It is why He created all beings. Another thing I have come to understand as I have grown in my relationship with God is that because He is LOVE that makes Him a giant throbbing HEART. When we say our heart has broken we understand it as painful, for Him it is multiplied 100 fold. The pain of being disconnected from us was the catalyst for His reasoning to send His Son to reunite us to Him. I bet He suffered excruciating pain when that first bite of forbidden fruit was taken, when the enemy first severed the connection between Him and us, His children. I bet the pain He felt when Lucifer turned was beyond words unbearable.
The spirit of our Heavenly Father is inside every single one of us, it is the thing that levels every human being as equals, whether we recognize it, admit it, believe it or NOT. His spirit within us is the drive in our deepest part that craves connection. Whenever our connection with another is severed it hurts us because it hurts the spirit of our Heavenly Father. Still we can find solace in knowing we are approved of, we are worthy, we are loved, unwaveringly by our Creator, and an open connection with Him is always available.
I am perplexed by all the meme’s and statements encouraging us to not care what anyone thinks. On one hand I see the empowering mindset to detach from the restraints of approval seeking, and yet when we desensitize ourselves so much to the thoughts and feelings of others we may risk the very essence of us that makes us human, a deep caring, and loving spirit of God.
When we begin to understand how God feels, it gives deeper insights to who He is and what He stands for. We humans have blamed Him for all the things not understood, and have portrayed Him as a heartless powerful giant who treats us as ants and cares not, when the opposite is closer to the truth. Everything He does and has done is to secure the connection between us and Him and each other. However… He doesn’t change himself to please our every whim, He doesn’t allow disconnection to alter His affection for us, He doesn’t allow His emotional state to influence His righteous stance. I think there is something in that we can all be empowered by.
So next time you hear the phrase “I don’t care what anyone thinks” remember, we all do in some way, especially God.