Deception in the Church, Part 1

            In my book, I only mentioned deception once, saying it could be a reason you are not receiving your healing.  God’s covenant with His children and His healing are contingent on us obeying His Word. If we’re following ‘another gospel,’ we can’t expect God to bless us with healing.

            Deception in the Church is rampant. And, if you’re deceived, you won’t know it. It is important to periodically check what you believe to make sure it lines up with God’s Word. It is also important to hone your spiritual discernment, and be open to checking your beliefs if someone you trust questions what you believe.

            Sometimes deception in the Church is very subtle. One New Age strategy to take over the Church is to infiltrate it using Christian terminology, but applying a different meaning to the words than what is perceived by the Christian hearing it.

            A simple example of that would be, “God told me…” Hearing that, esp. in church, would lead most if us to think they are Christians referring to the one, true God. However, the “God” they refer to could well be Satan, Allah, any of a myriad of “gods,” or even self.

            Sometimes deception comes in the form of false doctrine. Scripture warns us that in the last days there will be false teachers and false prophets. Some are easy to spot; others are camouflaged in their well-tailored ‘sheep skins,’ but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Mt. 7:15). They blend in so well with the congregation that they are considered one of the flock. If you have doubts as to their sincerity, you will be hard put to pin down the source of your unease. After all, if it looks like a sheep and talks like a sheep, it must be a sheep, right? These are the particularly dangerous ones!

            Sometimes spiritual discernment just comes as a feeling. And you can’t question someone’s motives just because you ‘feel’ that they are fake! Eventually, it will manifest, but it may take years and by then they will have done immeasurable damage.

                                                Hone your spiritual discernment!

           Learn to tell the difference between natural aversion and sensing a spirit that is wrong.

           I spent many years thinking I was just being critical of certain people, mistrusting them for no reason. Eventually I noticed that I was always right about them. I didn’t spot every false spirit, but the ones I had questions about always proved to be false. Then someone told me it was the gift of spiritual discernment.

            Since I grew up under the influence of my mother’s dedication to Scientology, one form of New Age, I became familiar with some of the terminology and methods they use. I believe exposure to evil spirits made me more sensitive in regard to recognizing those spirits. Which leads to my belief that lots of exposure to the Holy Spirit will make it easier to recognize false spirits. When you know the real thing, the fake becomes obvious.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Looking back over notes I’ve taken over the years, I came across this one from one of Dr. Virginia Mayer’s teachings. Dr. Mayer and her husband are the founders of Living Waters Ministries, a Christian counseling service in Headland, Alabama.

‘Keep your focus on Jesus. Looking back to ‘self’ stops healing and causes stress. Stress makes us borrow trouble, makes us worry. Those “What if…?” questions are vain imaginations that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God. Lift Jesus above everything.

God loves you. He sees your heart. He doesn’t require you to live up to His expectations. He is your provider and protector. He is merciful. People can’t fulfill our happiness, only Jesus can. His love, His peace, His joy are all unconditional. Give them to others the same way and be stress-free.

Stress is focusing on the bad things while the beautiful things are all around us and we don’t see them. It is “overwhelmingness.” When he finds a weak spot, the enemy piles things on you until you are overwhelmed. Stress is the opposite of flowing, living water. It short-circuits the power of God, which stops flowing in your life.

Chaotic stress stops miracles and healing for ourselves and others. Remember, “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

Stress leads to depression. It sneaks up on you. There is no joy, no life in your eyes. Anxiety blocks joy. It is fed by anger. Panic attacks keep you from breathing, can cause heart attacks, and block everything God has for you.

Stress comes from inappropriate expectations of others and of ourselves. Stress kills hope, joy, faith and love.

Smile! Don’t let dread choke the life out of you, and quench the Holy Spirit. The enemy tries to ground us to the world and sever the power of God! You become spiritually drained.

Take your eyes off ‘self’ and don’t depend on others for your happiness. Only Jesus can give you lasting peace and joy.

When you take your eyes off God, you open the door to stress. As the song says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” Discipline yourself to never take your eyes off Jesus.’

Job’s Trial and Health, Part 2

In Job 33:23-26, Job longs for a mediator, not knowing that God had made plans for just such a thing. But Elihu put Job’s longing into words:

23 But if an angel from Heaven appears – a special messenger to intercede for a person and declare that he is upright – 24 He will be gracious and say, “Rescue him from the grave, for I have found a ransom for his life.” 25 Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s, firm and youthful again. 26 When he prays to God, he will be accepted. And God will receive him with joy and restore him to good standing. (NLT)

Job knew what mankind needed: a mediator between God and man. He also knew he didn’t have one. His only recourse, as he saw it, was to plead his case before God on his own. And he knew it would end with him being declared, “Guilty!”

He had no personal relationship with God; no redeemer; no mediator; and no hope. So he accused God of injustice. He complained bitterly about it. He didn’t know any better. He was ignorant (not stupid). It means he had a lack of knowledge, a lack of facts. He was ignorant of God’s nature.

But he knew a mediator, a redeemer, a savior, would be able to rescue him from God’s wrath and return him to right standing with God. As a result, he would have his health restored and be received with joy by God. Elihu was young, but wise. He prophesied about Jesus, the coming Savior, although he wasn’t aware he did so. That is amazing to me how he could know a mediator would save him!

God came to Job to correct his ignorance. After God finished speaking, Job says in chapter 42, 3 You asked, “Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance?” It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me… 5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. 6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.

7 After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about Me as My servant Job has. 8 So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about Me, as My servant Job has… 10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes.

Job’s friends assumed troubles only come because people sin and have evil in their hearts.

In my final article on Job, I will address the issue of sickness being sent to try us.

Healing From Sexual Abuse

One of my readers contacted me to let me know how my book is helping her obtain healing from years of sexual abuse. We thought that her story might be helpful to others who are dealing with this painful experience.

It started when she was around 9 years old. A family member began by touching her in inappropriate ways. She told her mother about it and about the way he looked at her, making her feel ugly and dirty. But her mother did nothing. Within two years, he graduated to raping her. This time she told no one. The abuse continued for years. She tried to avoid him, but it wasn’t always possible. She felt betrayed by her parents for not protecting her. (In all fairness, her father never knew.)

This relative seemed to be an upstanding member of the community. He was even a lay preacher. She learned recently that he had been discharged from the military with a dishonorable discharge for sexually abusing a minor, but her mother had kept it a secret all those years to protect the family name.

At fifteen, she feared she was pregnant. At sixteen, desperate, she married the first person to promise relief and security to a scared young girl. Unfortunately, in her desperation to get away from abuse, she just walked into a marriage of physical abuse with a mean, twenty-three year-old man. In addition, the relative’s abuse continued.

At twenty, with two young children, she finally confronted him, telling him how much he had hurt her. He told her she watched too much TV and imagined too much. He never admitted he had done anything wrong. As a sexual predator, he needed power over his victims. But she vowed to never let him win. One victory was that she managed to protect her little sister from him.

Still, the struggle continues. The smell of the cologne he wore triggers panic. She won’t wear shorts for fear of giving the wrong impression to men. There are many other challenges and much more to the story, but this is enough detail for this time.

At church with her sister, the preacher told his story of abuse and after a great struggle, she ended up at the altar. She had blamed God for letting it all happen. He told her He had been there with her through it all, and she could use what happened to her to help others.

When she read my book and the experiences I had growing up with Scientology, it helped her cope with her emotions. She has quit having nightmares. The chapters on words and thoughts and emotions helped her, but it was the chapter on forgiveness that had the most impact. She has particularly had trouble with forgiving her parents for not protecting her. But there is no one worth losing God’s forgiveness! She is relying on faith in God and what He is willing to give her to replace her lost childhood and all she went through. She will see victory over this!

Telling her story is helping.