On Sunday August 25, 2019 I had a very troubling dream. I could not shake it all day. Later in the morning God reminded me of three dreams I had had in 2002 and 2003, which were related to this current one. Thankfully, there was time on Monday to really seek the Lord regarding the dream(s) and I believe He gave me some understanding. I am not going to give details of the dreams themselves but will share with you the understanding I have gained.
Let me say that I do believe the Lord to be so gracious that He always warns us about the things He wants changed in our own lives, as well sometimes showing us things beyond ourselves, so we can pray.
Obviously, I do not have a wide sphere of influence or authority, but I do have a sphere, as do you. And it is vital for me to obey His nudging to share things at certain times. (I have to frequently remind myself that outcomes are never within my control. I can pray, and do pray that those who are to able to “hear” will hear and heed.)
I am going to share the “bottom line” take aways from the dreams.
- There is wide spread adultery and spiritual adultery (bowing down to other “gods”) within leadership and congregation alike the body of Christ
- The light is dim, grey. Those who pray need to reach a higher place (by going lower) in order to release more light into church matters, leadership, practices, and revelation of true holiness. When the bright light comes it will reveal things that have not been seen or have been overlooked in the dim light.
- The prayer closet is cluttered and in need of cleaning up.
- It is a season when the Father Himself is going to bring His sons to the place of crucifying fleshly ways IF the sons will not do it on their own.
- His discipline will be public and severe, but will lead to the peaceable fruit of righteousness IF there is humility with true repentance.
I want to share some thoughts from Luke 22:31-34. Before Jesus went to the cross He warned Peter that Satan had asked permission to sift him like wheat. And Jesus, who had the authority to grant permission, obviously did so. Not only did He grant it, but He also prayed for the outcome – that Peter’s faith would not fail in the process. This aspect of the Lord’s dealings must not be overlooked or minimized. Jesus prayed for Peter to come out on the other side victorious – strong in faith. He wants that for us all.
Please know that every time God allows a testing, a sifting, or a severe trial that His goal is not to harm us but rather to perfect us, purify us, and strengthen our faith and character. Everything our God allows is redemptive in nature, IF we yield in humility.
The trial, the sifting, that visited Peter was only a tool God used to show him upon what he was relying. Peter had to see what was really going on inside of himself. See, he was proud and self-sufficient. Everybody knew it but him. Peter needed to be brought down “a notch” or two so he could truly be useful in the hands of God.
Please take note that during Peter’s day, wheat was sifted by beating or violently striking the wheat with a flail (a rather crude instrument) to remove the outer husk from the grain. Peter could have and should have quickly acknowledged this warning from Jesus, instead of protesting. But he didn’t believe it possible. Wouldn’t it have been great if he could have responded to the warning in humility. Perhaps he could have avoided the huge failure, sorrow and the humiliation. (But no, flesh can rarely see it’s own inadequacy or smell its own stench.)
The threshing, the sifting, provided Peter with exposure, a diagnosis, of his own heart condition. Now it was in full view – he had failed terribly. He was not all that he thought he was or proclaimed himself to be. His inflated opinion of himself was brought low. Painful, yes. But in reality a good thing. Look what he became.
Now all of that brings me to the present. I believe we are already in a season for a public SIFTING, exposure of sin in the camp, if we will not heed the warnings. Whoever will not honestly and humbly repent will have a public fall. This will occur among the congregation and leadership alike.
Hear me. There are leaders who teach and preach one way, yet live in a much different way. It is possible for anyone to go through the motions of serving the Lord, being in ministry, of behaving like we love God with our whole heart, while yet we in hidden ways are bowing down to other gods….motivated by our own image, ambitions, performances, or need for popularity and power. The bible calls this spiritual adultery.
God is already coming to His own house. He is wanting change. He always sends out a warning first. Do we hear? Do we believe? Do we care? Often what other people believe or say about us carries much more weight with us than what God says about us. This must change.
God has good outcomes in mind for everyone who is currently trapped, ensnared by wrong thoughts, words, or habits. And because of this I believe He wants us to ask Him sincerely to search all areas of our heart and life.
If we truly want to be holy and to be all that He has planned, we will welcome His searchlight. We will not try to avoid it. We will gladly repent and renounce the other “gods”, other lovers, in our life.
I heard someone just today say that the statistics are staggering related to sexual abuse within the church. Plus there is widespread adultery, fornication, perversion, greed, deception etc. that is being overlooked or celebrated within the body of Christ. This ought not to be.
Take heed to the warning. It is time, actually past time, for personal repentance, change, holiness.
- Take personal inventory.
- Study the scriptures about adultery; about spiritual adultery, about mixing truth with deception.
- Spend and hour or two in prayer for a deep cleansing to come to the church.
- Remember the Father, our Father, wants us to worship in Spirit and in Truth.
I can assure you that no one will escape the sifting, the disciplinary actions that are upon us. And teachers and leaders will incur a stricter sifting or discipline. My prayer is that all will turn away from error and darkness before it is too late and things become public.
In His Great Love,
Warriors, it is vital to maintain our one on one love relationship with Jesus. This is how we maintain health in spirit, soul and body. It is also how we receive instructions for the day, encouragement, as well as how we maintain focus on His priorities. Everyday what a delight it is to just enjoy being with him.
Psalm 27:4 One thing I have asked of the LORD; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek Him in His temple.
Here are some powerful “take-aways” (reminders) from my time this morning as I read and meditated in Psalm 4; 5; 56; 57; and 58.
I can and should meditate on my bed. I should take time to be still.
I can, and should, offer sacrifices of righteousness to the Lord.
God blesses and surrounds the righteous (me) with favor as with a shield! Wow!!!
Psalm 56:4, 8
Because I put my trust in the Lord I do not have to fear anyone.
God takes note of all my wanderings. He puts my tears in His bottle.
God performs all things for me.
There is a reward for the righteous (me). I am righteous by His grace and faith alone.
Now, after a sufficient time reflecting and thanking God for these things, I am readied for whatever I may encounter in the natural or spiritual realm.
I pray that you will be used mightily today through your prayers or in direct ministry.
When I first began my walk and work with the Lord, He kept me meditating in 1 Corinthians 3, as well as in the Sermon in the Mount. I was very impressed by several things as I read and meditated in the Corinthian passage.
First of all, It became most evident to me that we do not all have the same assignments, field of service, roles, or responsibilities. And that it is God Himself that brings the increase (results).
Secondly, I understood that we must accept what we are assigned. (This becomes our “lot”, as noted in Psalm 16.) Yet in light of that truth we must realize that we are not in a position to fully evaluate the significance of what He has called us to do. We must ever be mindful that what matters to God is our obedience to the call, not necessarily our understanding. The Bible tells us that “obedience is better than sacrifice”. (1 Samuel 15:22-23) Obedience, that emanates from a heart of love and gratitude, is what God is looking for.
How important it is to rest in the knowledge that He is the potter and we are simply clay. He reserves the right to fashion what He desires. In light of this reality, hopefully we see how utterly useless it is to compare ourselves or our work to others. How useless to think we are “something” or on the other hand to think that we are “nothing” of value.
Thirdly, Each assignment is to be carried out unto the glory of God, not grudgingly, and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Each of our smaller assignments, over the course our lifetime, will fit together forming a larger picture which turns out to be our “life assignment”.
And finally, one day our work will be tested by fire. If our work goes through the fire and remains intact we will receive a reward from the Lord.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
During the very early years of ministry (in 1980) I was given a very clear instruction. Please note I would never, never, think that what I was told is what you were told or what you should be “doing”. God deals with us uniquely, yet always within the parameters of the scriptures.
What the Lord told me was this: “Do not set out to build an organization. Build people.”
From my perspective and from my journey I have come to believe that as I have to the best of my ability kept to His instruction, I have in fact been participating with Him in building His Kingdom. (My part of the building process may look very different from your portion.)
His Kingdom is made up of chosen people….people who are learning to co-rule and co-reign with Christ. He desires us to reign over our soulish realm and circumstances. He desires us to be co-rulers in prayer on behalf of others.
Now let me share several nuggets from scripture in regard to this “building”process
▪️Read 1 Pet 2:4 -5* In this passage we are called living stones that are being built together into a spiritual house and priesthood acceptable to God.
▪️In Ephesians 2:22 we are told that we are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
▪️ 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 tells us that we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building, and that we are to build with precious materials not perishable ones
Read with care and prayer the entire passage from 1 Corinthians 3:
v. 10 according to the grace of God which was given to me as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. BUT LET EACH ONE TAKE HEED HOW HE BUILDS ON IT.
v. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is Jesus Christ (the chief cornerstone).
v.12 Now if anyone builds with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, EACH ONE’S WORK WILL BECOME CLEAR; FOR THE DAY WILL DECLARE IT, BECAUSE IT WILL BE REVEALED BY FIRE;
THE FIRE WILL TEST EACH ONE’S WORK, OF WHAT SORT IT IS.
v.14 IF ANYONE’S WORK WHICH HE HAS BUILT ON IT (the foundation of Jesus Christ) ENDURES, HE WILL RECEIVE A REWARD.
v. 15 IF ANYONE’S WORK IS BURNED, HE WILL SUFFER LOSS; BUT HE HIMSELF WILL BE SAVED, YET SO AS THROUGH FIRE.
Ask God to reveal to you what the gold, silver and precious metals represent.
Then reflect on what I believe the wood, hay and stubble represent.
▪️Perishable Works: our “good works”, our “good ideas”, our “flesh empowered” ministry/activity.
Wood = “fuel for fire”
Hay = simply food for animals, stuffing for beds etc. very temporary
Stubble = grass, sticks very temporary material
▪️Building with perishable goods – like a house built on sand, has no firm foundation, has a very temporary “life-span”. Characteristics of the perishable:
- more concern about temporal things/this life alone
- live a life for our own self
- seeking personal validation
- seeking pleasure (without regard for the eternal)
- seeking attention and applause
- seeking power, position, greed
- wrong words, deeds, attitudes, temporal “life-investments” (with no view of THE eternal)
▪️Time to ask: What am I doing in relation to the people God has put in my life? Am I directed and empowered by Holy Spirit? Am I more concerned about the eternal than this temporary earth life?
These are matters of eternal significance and worth an investment of time to meditate under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This life is so short. It is vital for us to ask God if we are truly building something that is eternal. What is built with gold, silver, and precious stones will come through the fire. We will receive reward, ready or not.
Within every believer there are two natures. An old nature and a new nature. The new nature has the potential to grow to full Christ-likeness. The old nature, if allowed to rule, has the potential to almost completely choke out the God-life potential.
The old creation is full of:
◽️pride (self) and may also be full of the following
The old nature never ceases to war with the new, always attempting to reclaim it’s ruling position over the life. It continues to desire enthronement upon the seat of power – the human will.
The RULER PRIDE congratulates itself when the individual performs well, and compares itself to others with great satisfaction. On the flip side when the individual’s performance “falls short” the RULER PRIDE berates, tears down, relentlessly accuses and torments for as long as possible.
The new creation, the one noted specifically in 2 Corinthians 5:17, is the Christ-nature. The perfect nature. The pride free nature. Selfish free nature.
The Christ nature has NO:
◽️toxic anger (hurtful)
The Christ-nature was planted inside you when you believed and received Jesus as your Lord. It was planted just as a seed is planted in the ground. Over time, if nurtured, watched over, watered and fed it will grow and produce a full crop of Christ likeness. The seed (nature of Christ) is intended to produce when cared for, cultivated, guarded. Remember the verse Luke 2:52 Jesus GREW in wisdom, stature and favor with God and man.
The Christ-nature is implanted in seed form, literally housing the genetic program or blueprint of the Christ-nature. (1 Peter 1:23)
Note several very significant passages concerning being born again:
Read John 3:3-8 in the entirety, noting the significant points of Jesus’ words.
◽️One MUST be born again in order to see the kingdom of God.
◽️One must be born of the Spirit. (Flesh “begets” (reproduces) flesh. Spirit “begets” spirit.)
◽️What the Spirit does is, by in large, beyond explanation, although “movement” of Spirit activity (like the wind) is generally noticeable.
Read 1 Peter 1:22-23
◽️Purifying the soul happens by obeying truth. A purified soul is a soul (mind will and emotions) that has been set apart to be used by the Spirit of God for His purposes (The Greek word used is #53 in the Strong’s concordance and means to sanctify, to make clean)
◽️Being “born again” comes by receiving the incorruptible Word of God
Read Romans 10:17 and verses 9-10
◽️Faith for experiencing the new birth comes by hearing the Word
◽️Faith comes by believing in your heart that Jesus died and rose from the dead for you personally and expressing that truth verbally
Read Mark 4:1-20
◽️The soil referred to in this parable is an individual’s heart
◽️The seed is the Word
Growing up into fulness of the Christ-nature is God’s goal and desire for all.
◽️This is the assignment of the born again believer – Work it out. Phil 2:12-13. Fruit in our lives and in others will be produced(John 15)
Read and then note what is stated in these verses:
◽️1 Corinthians 13:11
◽️Ephesians 3:14-19b*, 20
◽️1 John 2:6
(Remember: primarily the scriptures were written for and to believers.)
Consider the following passages regarding the war between the two natures:
Read James 4:1-7
◽️your desires war in your members (ascendancy of Self, or rule of the old nature)
◽️your desires prompt asking God for things that please your own self life
◽️the self life tries to be a friend with the world – to get approval and affirmation in the sphere of the world and not from God and His the kingdom
◽️only in humbling ones self before God, and often in front of others, will we receive grace (empowerment to change, grow, go through)
Read Romans 8:5-16 (Specifically v.5-12)
◽️Motivation toward things that gratify the old nature produces death
◽️Motivation toward things of Spirit produces peace and life
◽️The “old nature” is and enemy of God – it can’t even obey God, therefore it cannot please God (no matter how “good” or noble it acts)
◽️v.12 we are not in debt to the flesh nature (the old nature)
Read Galatians 5:16-25
◽️Walk in Spirit – How? By a conscious choice, by faith.
◽️The war rages because there are two completely opposite natures within us.
◽️How to know what is from the old nature and what is from the new? Measure by v. 19 -22
◽️Crucify flesh as often as needed – We have been crucified (Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:11 and we “die daily” 1 Corinthians 15:31).
◽️The old nature cannot be healed
◽️The old nature cannot be transformed
◽️The old nature cannot be reformed
◽️The old nature cannot be restored
The old nature was crucified (positionally) with Christ. This death must be walked out daily. We are empowered to walk in newness of life, if we will.
The body of sin is tied to the new man – Romans 7:24 – who will rescue me from this body of death. This passage Paul is referring to the practice of tying a dead man to another. The Romans had a hideous form of punishment – binding a corpse of amurder victim to the back of the murderer.
The big question? Who will rescue me from this body of death? It has already been done. Christ has forgiven and freed us from eternal condemnation -Romans 8:1.
Our part is to believe and we are set free from the body of death; the rule of the old nature. We can live out and grow in the Christ-Nature.
Many Christians have “dropped out” of church and have become captivated by their own purposes, pursuits, pleasures and the treadmill of life. When the pursuit of God is left out or becomes secondary in one’s life, the heart then becomes cold toward God and toward the things that God cares about.
Other people can actually continue to go to church and even go through the motions of “serving” God yet their heart is untouched by His love, and therefore they live in a “masked” backslidden state.
Over the years I have seen that this “backsliding” of heart can at times be triggered by unaddressed and/or unhealed early issues of abandonment or rejection. I want to address that soon, but first will look at what 2 Peter 2:19-20 says about backsliding.
“…for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them that the first.”
Restating the above passage:
- A person is enslaved to whatever overcomes him. (It can begin with a deeply entrenched wound of abandonment or rejection, which most likely has formed a prison in the mind – a mental stronghold, or mindset that every life experience is filtered through.)
- If a person seeks escape from pain by returning to former ungodly practices, the bondage becomes worse than the original condition.
- It is better to have never known salvation/deliverance than to know it and then walk away.
- Returning to former unbelief and ungodly thoughts, words, practices is compared to a dog returning to it’s own vomit.
Yet, we know that the scriptures do teach us that restoration to right relationship with God and the congregation, or family, is possible IF there is true heart repentance. If there is genuine godly sorrow there can be a new beginning. (2 Corinthians 7:10). James 5:19-20 says that if anyone strays from the truth and is then turned back, his soul is saved from death. We have all heard of King David’s extreme moral failure and return to to God in true repentance and humility.
We all have an obligation to pray, without a judgmental attitude, for backsliders. 1 John 5:19-20 tells us that we can ask for life for the one who is sinning a sin not unto death and God will grant it.
As intercessors we must pray that the backslider will “rise again”, even as Jesus told His friends that Lazarus would rise again, through the power of His Word and compassion. He still offers restoration. It is a process . Friends must “unbind” and remove the grave clothes. This must be done with an attitude of meekness and awareness of our own vulnerability to fall prey to temptations.
Let’s look at some of the ramifications of being abandoned early in one’s life. Abandonment can be real or imagined and can occur through a variety of ways. A parent/caregiver may die, leave, divorce, work continually, or just be emotionally unavailable. The child that habitually experiences a lack of emotional security, “specialness” and stability, protection or care, will be driven (throughout life) by those unhealed wounds to seek resolution to the emptiness. Remember, most individuals are usually not aware of the hidden driving forces.
Emotionally abandoned children learn to shut down their ability to feel or they learn to over react in pursuit of the attention they crave. Many times as the child grows older he tries to meet his emotional needs through other channels. He may become a “performing overachiever”, perfectionist, a controller, or develop harmful coping mechanisms such as various addictions. They too can become abandoners.
Now when a person comes into relationship with Jesus and with the “church” these patterns of do not automatically disappear, although they may be hidden for a season. Since church relationships often mirror what one has experienced in the natural family, you can be sure that sooner or later situations will arise that are similar. If a believer has not learned the ways to biblically address “heart issues” then it is very likely that old pain and old reactions will be triggered. When old patterns are triggered, tension intensifies and the need to escape becomes very attractive – highly motivating.
“Escape” will most likely mean leaving the “family of God”, running away from all the hypocrites and back to old friends and old ways. Bitterness kicks in along with accusing voices that condemn the “church” for being no different than the world. In fact it is often believed that “non-professing” Christian friends are more accepting, inclusive, and caring than those in the church.
The cycle can be broken — it must be broken, so that true life and destiny can be the daily path, not the short-lived exception. But, for the cycle to be broken there must be a deep desire for freedom and truth – not just a quick fix. To face realities of what is really going on requires courage. One must also truly believe that there is supernatural power available for things to change. Supernatural solutions are recognized and received in an environment of heart humility, honesty and caring and safe relationships.
God’s supernatural solutions must be applied with diligence, over the long haul and with the support of true healers.
Healing for wounded hearts must be ministered at a recovery speed known only to God. There is no standard formula.
God truly is looking for worshipers and warriors, but in His wisdom He makes heart healing for His warriors a top priority. Wounded warriors simply cannot fight the good fight for very long.
Healing early emotional insults doesn’t provide us with guaranteed protection from similar occurrences in the future – within or without of the church walls. There will always be occasion for hurt, rejection, betrayal, abandonment. Jesus was well acquainted with the failures that occur within relationships. But, He was whole inside an out. He didn’t fall. He didn’t give into ungodly behaviors, escape or retreat from His assignment.
Because He overcame WE can overcome. He said to be of good cheer in the midst of all the trials because He, THE OVERCOMER, lives within and can manifest complete victory in every trial IF we will but believe.
Seek the Lord. He will show you the way out. He will heal your broken heart. Do not look to people as the answer, even though He will use people. Draw near to God and He WILL draw near to you.
We all have mindsets, belief systems, and strongholds in our thinking. Many of them have been established by our early life experiences, our unique perceptions of events and through “life-conditioning” – training by parental figures, teachers, television, culture etc.
Many of our beliefs are not accurate. They are skewed in wrong directions and not built upon truth. (Truth is a person who is revealed in the scriptures. John 8:32 “Know TRUTH and you will KNOW FREEDOM”. John1:1 tells us that Jesus is “THE Word”.)
God desires that all of our mindsets that are opposed to the truth be transformed. To do so requires a desire as well as a commitment to learn the “language of heaven”. It does take a significant investment of time to remove old thought patterns and to bring our thinking in line, in agreement, with God Himself and His word.
WHAT IS A STRONGHOLD?
Stronghold defined: A stronghold is an established way of thinking, or a habit pattern of thought. Strongholds can be individually personal, familial, or corporate [societal]. The Greek word (Strong’s #2192+3794) means fortress or castle. So it is a fortress, castle or wall built with thoughts (either lies or truth).
In a positive sense, the Name of the Lord is a stronghold and the Word of God is a stronghold to those who believe. This is why we must meditate on the truth as found in scripture: Joshua 1:8; Philippians 4:8; Romans 12:2. (Meditate on relevant verses from the whole bible, from Genesis to Revelation related to whatever issue you are facing such as hope, or fear or loneliness etc. and what God’s solution is.)
As stated above, on the negative side, or unhealthy side, a stronghold can be formed by believing anything that was taught us through our parents, siblings, media, friends, society and/or repeated traumatic experience.
Examples of negative strongholds include: racial and denominational prejudice, anorexia, bulimia, poverty, sickness, homosexuality, “get rich quick schemes”, unworthiness, rejection, fear, even infirmity etc. etc. etc.
A stronghold is not a demon, but demons can empower a stronghold/fortress/castle to stay in place. Demons can, and do, often hide behind the fortress walls of a stronghold.
Read: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, learn, believe, speak these scriptures until they are well established in your mind.
The weapons we have been given are supernatural. Fleshly strength and wisdom cannot free us for wrong thinking.
“Supernatural weapons” (tools to war with) mean that the “super” is the God part. Super means beyond the natural realm and abilities: His Word + His power.
The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:14) and is supernatural. When Jesus faced the devil prior to beginning His ministry, He used the sword to speak to him. He said “It is written…..” Matthew 4:4 The Holy Spirit empowered Word of God defeated all lies and temptations thrown at Jesu and will do so in our lives as well.
The “natural” part is my part: My voice speaking + my heart believing. See how believing and speaking are connected.
Read: Romans 10: 9-10
Read: Deuteronomy 30:14
Read: Luke 6:45; 2 Corinthians 4:13 We believe therefore we speak.
We must use our voice – our words. Imagine going into a restaurant and not opening your mouth to place your order. Nothing would happen. You would not get what you want. It is the same with dealing with the enemy and with your own soul. Your voice must be used to “place your order”
Look, according to the 2 Corinthians passage noted above, we are to v.4 pull down, v.5 cast down and to bring every thought into obedience of Christ. (Our words should line up with the Word, John 1:1 Jesus is the living Word of God.)
Practice saying: “I take this thought, this lie, captive.” [Say aloud whatever the “thought” happens to be.]
Example: “I pull down this thought of ___________________”
“I bring this thought into the obedience of Christ, to the Word of God which says_______________________[this should be a relevant scripture like “God has not Given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind”. Or “I am favored by the Lord”.]
In preparation to take thoughts captive read and meditate on: Romans 1:25 then exchange lies for truth John 8:32. Also, meditate on Philippians 4:8
Purpose in your heart to make the exchange from wrong thinking to right thinking. (Think God thoughts, which equal what the Word says.)
(Read Isaiah 61– See that you can exchange – beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, garment of praise for the spirit of depression…) Practice making the exchange of lies for truth until it becomes habit.