Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Revival is A Living Sacrifice (Python Series, Part 4 of4)

Revival is A Living Sacrifice (Python Series, Part 4 of4)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1 AMP).
 
 
Welcome to this edition of Truth for the Journey! Today we continue with the series, "Divination and the Python Spirit" but today we focus on "Revival is a Living Sacrifice." This series is a long one, because much is involved. In previous articles in this series so far, we have already looked at, "Divination and the Python Spirit" and explained the nature of this spiritual attack that targets the apostle and the apostolic ministry, (its finances and its operation).
 
Then we looked into "Spiritual Weariness and Exhaustion are not Age Related!" An article where we discuss the nature of python and how it looks to ware out the saints, especially the apostle. Then lastly we looked at "The Culture of Extreme Selfishness" which brings definition to the nature of narcism which has infiltrated the culture and even the Church.
 
 Todays article builds on the last, by focusing on the life style of the believer. Something that I am a great advocate for and even named my university "LifeStyle International Christian University." Without life style, we cannot emulate Christ and words are cheap when it comes to being an example, if we lack the life style to back it up.
 
Hopelessness
All those used in revival in the past [including now] - were emptied of themselves. Those individuals, who God used, knew that revival is not all about self - but what God's doing. The yolk destroying power is in the presence of God. Only when we remain in His presence, can our life styles be changed and then we'll see true revival. When it comes to revival (and leadership) - life style - is everything.
 
Jesus called us to a life style of prayer and fasting - not narcism. When people pray and don't get results, they grow very restless and hopeless, because they pray with wrong motives and hidden agendas - to furnish their narcissistic desires.
 
We see this in James 4:3: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (KJV). "You do ask... and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives..." (AMP). "...you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way (MSG)."
 
For those who have lost hope, I say to you, we will never have a future in God when we focus on ourselves. We have to die to self. Lust is never satisfied. But when we are full of God - lust and self - are taken care of. In Christ we lose everything, to gain everything. "Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it" (Luke 9:24 NIV).
 
Life Style is Everything
Going back to our main focus of today, revival surrounds godly life styles, I want to look once again at our opening scripture from the Message bible, were it reads:
 
Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1 MSG).
 
We're not here to blend our lives with the culture. We're here to live the life style of God's Kingdom - in front of the culture - not the other way around! Instead we must lay the dictates of this culture down, once and for all.
 
Laying it all Down
A living sacrifice means trust. We are not meant to work everything out like one giant [spiritual] algorithm, but to trust God with our lives. Usually revivals plummet once division sets in. When division happens, get the unity back. Love stops division. Step back into God's love and lay everything down. We say that we want the anointing to destroy the yolks of bondage in our lives, but we must remain IN the anointing and not in the flesh. We must learn to move as He moves. It's a whole new life style.
 
In his book, "Hosting the Presence" Bill Johnson writes, "I realise that we are not to live by feelings. Emotions are wonderful, but not reliable indicators of God's Presence and moving. But there is a feeling that goes beyond emotions, and quite frankly can work regardless of our emotional state. It is the mood of the Holy Spirit Himself that we can become so in tune with that we move as He moves" (137). One of the greatest declarations of the bible is this, "When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you" (James 4:8 TLB) regardless whether we feel anything or not. His closeness creates new life-style in us. Where we are willing to change, to meet His expectations.
 
Subduing Appetites
One area that God's influence in our lives helps to change is our appetite. Fasting is a conviction, [not a brooding apathy!] and is a place where we learn to subdue the appetites of our flesh. What we don't need is more information or teaching. What we need is more revelation. Manna stank the day after. We need fresh Rhema every single day. "Give us this day our daily bread..." (Matthew 6:11 KJV), not only refers to physical food but to revelation. Even fellowship with the Holy Spirit must be daily or it will stink (metaphorically!) We need to develop an appetite for fresh manna. The now Word of God.
 
Divination and the python spirit will always draw us into idolatry and false worship [through our appetites], especially self-worship. For instance, I believe in abundance and the abundant life. I believe too in prosperity [and I don't want to upset anyone when I say] but we were never meant to worship abundance! We must worship the one true God (of abundance), Who gives us abundant life, through Christ. We don't hoard wealth, so that we can build ourselves big golden calves to worship!
 
What are your appetites? Do you hunger for fame and big ministry? When I listened to Joyce Myers recently, (and I've not listened to Joyce for a long while), I noticed that everything she said, was all about helping others. It was not all about making her ministry bigger or about how great the latest meetings were! Instead after many years of ministry Joyce has learnt, that it's only as she lays big-ministry down, that God has given her a big-ministry! I only use her as an example. So many in ministry today, are actually worshiping their ministries and the size of their ministries or churches- rather than God! What a bizarre state of affairs. Perhaps they were sincere to begin with but somewhere along the way, agendas got swopped and they - lost the plot!
 
Self-Help v Self-Sacrifice
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead... SELF-HELP is no help at all. SELF-SACRIFICE is the way, my way... (Luke 9:23 MSG emphasis added)
 
If I had to put sound advice into one sentence, I would start by saying: "Get into the glory and don't work it out!" Like I said above - this is not a spiritual algorithm! We'll never be able to work it all out. Instead with supernatural words of knowledge - given to us by God - all questions are dispersed and there's no debate. In fact when God touches our lives, all the questioning stops.
 
We stop questioning because we become too overwhelmed and excited with His presence. Our focus changes. We begin supernaturally trusting God to reveal what we need to know at the right time. Then we apply our lives to the right pursuits rather than exhausting ourselves by trying to be clever and working everything out by ourselves. We are not God!
 
People who soak up the glory all the time are beaming, happy and radiant people [to be envied!] Those who don't share the same experience on the contrary are often cynical and jealous of the experience they witness in others. They are close to the spout but they are not getting wet!
 
We must stop working it out and get into the presence of God and let Him work it out. Wherever the glory is, that's where God is speaking, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 60:1 KJV). And we must sacrifice self-will so that we can enter His presence. As priests of our own soul - we must sacrifice self-will every day. "Not my will but yours be done," (Luke 22:42 NIV). "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23 NIV).
 
We make sacrifices on the alter of our own souls so that we can enter into God's presence. If our worship is not helping us achieve this, then it's not worship. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks... (John 4:23-24 NIV).
 
Finally have you ever noticed how 100% tennis players are? They are ALL-IN and SOLD-OUT  individuals. They are so focused, to win. We must be the same. ALL IN - BELIEVERS. But for tennis players, it's all about the tennis and not about themselves. In fact they deny themselves many luxuries, to fulfil the demands of their sport. Equally so - it's all about Christ and not about us. If tennis players can deny themselves to follow sport, we can deny ourselves, to follow Christ!
 
If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death] (Luke 9:23-24 AMP).
 
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father help me to deny myself today to follow Christ. I want to preserve my life in Christ and not lose it on myself. Help me lay all my selfishness down so that I can live the life style of Your Kingdom. In Jesus name. Amen.
 
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I soak up the glory. I arise and shine because the glory of the Lord is upon me. I am radiant with the glory of the Lord. My life style is Christlike not selfish. I consume the fresh Rhema of God's Word. I fellowship with God's Holy Spirit. My hope is in Him. I am not hopeless but hopeful. My tank is always full because I remain thankful!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Culture of Extreme Selfishness (Python Series, Part 3 of 4)

The Culture of Extreme Selfishness (Python Series, Part 3 of 4)

As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination... she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly... she did this for many days (Acts 16:16-18 AMP).

 Welcome back! Today we look into, "The Culture of Extreme Selfishness." I link this to my series on Divination and the Python Spirit because it is intertwined. You will see why. Chapter 16 of the book of Acts tells us how the servant girl who hosted the Python, earned much money for her owners. However, Paul ruined their lucrative little trade: "Then Paul, being sorely annoyedand worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment" (Acts 16:18 AMP).

What to do when your finances get Hit
The repercussions of this incident were huge, because at the very heart of it, money was involved! Verse 19 in the Voice Translation says, "...her owners realised she would be worthlessnow as a fortune-teller." And the Message Bible says, "When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up..."

This spirit not only wants to divert our attention from prayer, it also wants to divert our funds, from fulfilling God plans. When you live by faith as I have for many years, you'll discover, that when the unity goes, so will your income! Living by faith means you can't live in the flesh. You don't get away with it. And you have to keep the unity at all costs otherwise the devil gets in. As much as divination and the spirit of python want to annoy and ware us out, it wants to influence our income. If it can bankrupt us by using greed to siphon-off resources, then we become ineffective and non-productive. Ministries everywhere including Christian businesses - dedicated to the work of God - can suddenly start hemorrhaging money, usually miss-management and greed are to blame: "You can be sure of this: No one will have a place in the kingdom of Christ and of God who... is greedy. Anyone who is greedy is serving a false god(Ephesians 5:5 NCV). The Voice Translation says it this way, "greed... is just a form of idolatry."

Take Authority
Only when Paul took authority, did he put a stop to this spirit. And by experience, I can tell you, that divination and the spirit of python are after your finances. If you want your finances to be free from its control, then you must take authority. To divert your funds it has to get you to mismanage them, where you or your people spend money on the wrong things.

God has ordained good works for us to do. But if the money dries up, your hands are tied. You can't move left or right [and frustration sets in]. For example, people who where once reliable and generous in their giving, start being more sensitive to their own ends, than the Spirit of God. They switch allegiance and develop urgent agendas of their own. Yielding to the extreme selfishness of this culture, which is totally self-serving in nature. The spirit of this culture is narcissism and has successfully infiltrated the Church.

Narcissus is a fictional character from history who fell in love with himself. There are variations on this particular myth, but at it's core is SELF-WORSHIP!

Narcissism Defined
Narcissus was "a beautiful youth in Greek mythology who pined away for love of his own reflection" (Merriam-Webster).So when someone is described as narcissistic, it refers to their self-absorbed personality traits and excessively self-centred behaviour.

"Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)" is a disorder in which a person isexcessively preoccupied with personal adequacy and was first recognised in 1968 but was historically seen as megalomania or severe egocentrism. "People who are diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder are characterised byexaggerated feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behaviour. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy" (taken in-part from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder).

Love Reaches into the Culture
I think that most people have narcissistic tendencies, in one way or another. Basically the definition above describes the fallen nature and the fruits of the flesh. Which is the opposite to divine nature and the fruits of the Spirit. Love represents the divine nature. The fallen nature is always self-serving and self-seeking. Only as we walk by the Spirit and cultivate our love walk with the fruits of the Spirit, can we avoid this narcissistic manifestation in our own lives. "Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking... the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity... (Romans 12:1-2 MSG).

In our culture today, narcissism is all around us - in the music, the arts and all other forms of entertainment. It is in the schools and education. In fact narcissism is generally celebrated and encouraged. However, as believers, scripture separates us from the culture. We are in the culture. We even reach into the culture. But we are not of the culture: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world..." (Romans 12:2 NIV) "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16 KJV). Our behaviour must emulate and imitate Christ, Who revealed Himself to us as a "servant King." He came to serve and not to be served, although He was King of kings and Lord of lords! We too have position and possession [in Christ] yet we must serve and love the people of this culture - without loving the culture!  

Are your Finances under Attack?
If you are looking to do anything significant for God, then be prepared for spiritual attack. Understand that your money and resources - will suffer spiritual attack - probably more than any other area. Narcism is a great influence on our today's culture today [the Church is not immune] and wants people to indulge in self-love in a wrong way. So how do we recognise when narcissism has crept in? It will manifest in the people! Those who were once reliable to give and tithe are suddenly overwhelmed by their own needs and full of excuses.   

Don't start complaining and becoming weary with your people. Recognise the spiritual warfare for what it is, and take the fight to the devil - not your people! ["The goodness of God that leads men to repentance" Romans 2:4 KJV]. See the strangle-hold on your finances: your church, business or family and take authority over it. If you don't you'll become weary and frustrated. You'll start making poor decisions that will discredit you and things will get messy!When selfishness suddenly grips all your people at once - the devil in your midst!Recognise him and cast him out. Keep the unity and the bond of peace, and take the battle to the enemy, not each other.

Dear friend, if you have been struggling with your finances in this season, and many have, recognise divination and the spirit of python. Cast it out of your affairs - just like Paul cast it out of the servant girl. Leaders, you need to cast it out of your people. This spirit has no jurisdiction - unless you give it some - so rise up and stop brooding over your losses. Stand up and proclaim liberty over yourself, your people and your finances. Straight away, you'll begin to see change. Even if things get worse before they get better - change will happen. Speak those things that aren't as though they were and start-giving God high praises [in advance] regardless of your circumstances, like Paul and Silas and take courage as chains supernaturally begin coming off. You and your people will be free again.

Leaders Gather your People
Greed and selfishness scatter the people. Leaders gather your people together. Get them back into a place of unity. And bring them to a place of repentance if necessary and help them overcome individually, so that you can overcome corporately. Pray with a united front and take authority over divination and the spirit of python. And don't be intimidated by all the noise it wants to make. Go right ahead and do what God's instructing you to do, because you have this assurance: "No weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged. Any accuser who takes you to court will be dismissed as a liar. This is what God's servants can expect. I'll see to it that everything works out for the best. God's Decree" (Isaiah 54:17 MSG).

A Dramatic Turn of Events
We know that divination and the spirit of python tried for many days to divert attention and create commotion. Although it did stir up a great disturbance, this just turned out to be verysuperficial in the end. We know this because in verse 38 and 39 it says, "The magistrates ...were frightened when they heard that the prisoners were Roman citizens; so they came themselves and [striving to appease them by entreaty] apologised to them. And they brought them out and asked them to leave the city."

What a dramatic turn of events! Yet you too can experience such a turn around, if you'll take your stand like Paul and Silas did. You'll go from feeling spiritually-beaten-up, to feeling normal again. And when the turbulence eventually dies down, you'll see all the awesome things God achieved in the midst of it! 

God does not need a red carpet to make an entrance (He too can work in stealth!) The conditions don't have to be perfect for Him to move. God will do most when we least expect it and in the most unpredictable places. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies..." (Psalm 23:5 KJV). The lilies grow in the valley not on the mountaintop. And its in that place of trouble that God performs life changing miracles. Paul's jailer "...brought them out [of the dungeon] and said, Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved?" (v 30)"And they declared the Word of the Lord... to him and to all who were in his house" (v 32 AMP).

God always has a purpose, beyond what the eye can see!I always tell my family and team: "When it seems like God is doing nothing, very often that's when He's doing most! Just because we can't see what's happening right now, doesn't mean that nothing's happening!" So be determined to see God in every situation. He is there... moving, working-miracles and speaking to all those who have ears to hear!

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father I want to minister into the culture but not be part of it. Give me a heart for the people who are caught up in extravagant and selfish greed. Christ reached every people group. Every social stratum. He was not limited and bound to the religious crowds. Quite the opposite. Help me resist narcissistic tendencies in my own life, and to love those who exhibit them in theirs. Help me reveal Christ to this culture. In Jesus Name. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I am a child of the King. There is nothing I cannot have. Unless God prohibits. I do not yearn for the things of this culture. I yearn for God. I am not dictated to by a narcissistic spirit or tendency. My thirst is for God. I display this to the culture around me. To God be the glory.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spiritual Weariness and Exhaustion are not Age Related!

Spiritual Weariness and Exhaustion are not Age Related! (Python Series, Part 2 of4)

He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall WEAR OUT THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (Daniel 7:25 KJV - emphasis added).

In the last truth for the journey about "Divination and The Python Spirit," we opened with Acts 16 where it says, "As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination... Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn outturned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" (Acts 16:16-18 AMP)

Notice how Paul and the company were on their way - to a "place of prayer." The devil always wants to divert us from praying! Evidently this did not stop Paul, but we know it "annoyed and wore him out!" No matter how long we've been doing this, or how mature we are, sometimes the spiritual manifestations are so loud, tormenting and relentless [when we least need it] that weariness sets in.

Nonetheless Isaiah comforts us by saying, "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted" (Isaiah 40:30 AMP). Evidently then, spiritual weariness is not an age related phenomena! Exhaustion is not always physical it can be spiritual. Something that comes on us like a thick cloak, that oppresses us, our minds and our bodies. In fact I'd say that many people are spiritually exhausted and don't even know it. They feel bad about themselves, when all they need to do - is take authority and get out from under it. [In Christ we are above - not - beneath, see Ephesians 2:6].

Young men in their prime can feel like old men, when spiritual weariness comes upon them. I knew of a young man in his mid-twenties, who went through a very painful divorce. He was a young pastor and so the surrounding circumstances were very difficult. This young pastor did not want a divorce from his wife and tried for several years to prevent the divorce from happening, to no avail. During which time, (having two very young children) this man found it hard just getting out of bed; his body ached all over like an old man's - just from stress. And only after receiving a timely word from his spiritual father (a word of knowledge that profoundly encouraged him), did he begin to recover. His body felt young again, all the aches and pains went away. I'm telling you folks... this was spiritual.

I can also affirm, that this kind of experience has happened to me, on more than one occasion. It comes on you so subtly, that you don't even notice at first. You assume its just age related. In fact when you're so distracted by the trouble you're in, you take no thought for yourself, until you can barely stand! Even sleep offers little reprieve, because you feel the same when you wake up! Once you finally realise you're under attack, you've already "annoyed and worn out." [As ministers we're so busy "doing ministry" that we forget to minister to ourselves].

Can you relate with this? Have you ever experienced something like this? You'll know it's not merely physical, when after you pray, the exhaustion leaves as quickly as it came. [That's when you know it was totally spiritual]. Many people have told me their experiences, so I know this is not rare. Stress and unresolved trauma can wreak havoc and has been linked to illnesses such as fibromyalgia. [But this is another topic for another time!] Sadly unresolved trauma causes much needless suffering. 

However in the book of Galatians 6:9 it warns: "Let us not become weary..." (NIV). In other translations it reads: "Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint... (AMP). "Let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued...give up, or quit" (MSG).

SO what does it mean to be Weary?
The Greek definition for weariness: "to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted" (Strong's G1573). [Exhaustion comes from the Latin word exhaurire 'drain out']. The english definition for weary: "lacking strength, energy, or freshness because of a need for rest or sleep; annoyed by something... done many times ["many days"]or for a long time; causing you to feel tired" (Merriam-Webster). "Utterly spiritless and exhausted"adequately describes the young man suffering emotional and physical exhaustion. But it was a spiritual attack on his life and ministry.

Exhaustion:
Comes from the Latin word exhaurire 'drain out.' Therefore exhaustion means: a state of extreme physical or mental tiredness and the action of using something up or the state of being used up. Exhaustion involves over-tiredness, fatigue, weariness, lack of energy, and faintness. It also involves depletion, using up, expenditure; draining, emptying, sapping. The antonym of exhaustion [opposite meaning]:  vigour and replenishment.

Let's recognise that worn-out saints pose no threat! All the time we remain full of vigour and strength on the other hand, we pose a very real threat to our enemy. But how do we achieve this? Isaiah tells us how, in chapter 40:31, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall... not be weary... and not faint" (KJV).

It intrigues me that just "waiting on the Lord" has the ability to "renew our strength" which in turn helps us avoid "weariness."  This is a common sense matter to me. We must learn the art of "waiting." And according to the original language (Hebrew) waiting means: to look for, hope for, to expect, to look eagerly for, to lie in wait for, to linger for, to be collect/ed and bound together (Strong's H6960).

For me, these definitions could preach by themselves! And I could preach - an hour on each one - but space won't allow! The ones that stand out the most are: "lying in wait" and"lingering for." I like also the idea of being "bound together" with the Lord through the process of "lingering." [Reminds me of the Hebrew word selah meaning: pause and calmly think of that!] Being "collected" talks of composure. Paul displayed awesome composure, when for "many days" and did not act rashly.

All in all, waiting on the Lord, does not give us the picture of rash behaviour. But that of calm, collected, composed and thoughtful. Many years of ministry have taught me the lessons of acting rashly! People, who, on the other hand, wait patiently for God's instruction, are never the types who live from knee-jerk-reaction to another! In fact people who are mature in the things of the Spirit, who have learnt to be led [under years of pressure] by the Holy Spirit - are some of the most composed people you'll ever meet.

And no one has ever displayed as much cool-factor as Jesus! "They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Then he went down to Capernaum ...he taught the people" (Luke 4:29-31 NIV). Unmoved and undeterred Jesus went on his way - with a business as usual attitude - to teach the people. The Wycliffe Bible even says, "Soothly Jesus passing went through the middle of them." I admire His sheer demeanour...!

Realizing how Normal You Are!
So going back to Paul being tormented for "many days," just think about it - what we're willing to tolerate for just a few days, would totally bug us after "many days." And it's for this reason the devil is persistent. He knows it's just a matter of time! [No matter how spiritually mature we are!] And hearing how "annoyed and worn out" Paul was, makes us realise just how normal we are. If he struggled to stay composed, how surely will we be tested?

However there's something I don't want us to miss here. I believe, that there are times when certain things should be ignored (even Jesus ignored the devil at times!) Paul had a mission and would not allow himself to be distracted. Sometimes (not all the time) it can be more strategic ignoring the devil, than giving him too much of our attention.

 Too much attention given to the wrong things, at the wrong time, just makes them worse. We must rely on the Holy Spirit. Without His leading, we've no business provoking and chasing devils. The fact that God chose to bless us in the presence of our enemies means they get to see how blessed we are! The idea is that we're fixated on God, no one else!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over (Psalm 23:5 KJV). You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing (MSG).

Fixated on God
Jesus never asked for us (disciples) to be rescued but protected - there's a difference: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15 KJV). Some people are so fixated on the wrong things, they actually end up talking to devils more than they talk to God! I know this!

Paul ignored Python - he didn't breath too much oxygen in it's direction - until the Holy Spirit instructed him to act. Lets take note. On the other hand, perhaps the Holy Spirit waited until the audience was so vast, for greater impact! The divine strategist: "When the enemy comes in like a flood the spirit of the Lord raises the standard against him." Perhaps the Holy Spirit was orchestrating this whole event? To get as much attention on Christ's power to deliver - as possible.

So striking the balance between knowing when to act and when to ignore - is important. Yet always keep the main thing the main thing: "You will guard him and keep him in perfectand constant peace whose mind... is STAYED ON YOU" (Isaiah 26:3 AMP).

Finally, we never witness Paul repenting for being "annoyed and worn out" or for over-reacting to the situation! But we do know that the spirit of divination [python] was out to destroy Paul and discredit his whole apostolic company. We can learn a lot from this. To guard ourselves from weariness at all costs because any diabolical spirit will have measured success against us - when we are worn out. If the devil can't stop the apostolic ministry he'll certainly try to delay it, by drawing negative attention to it and trying to discredit it.  

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father God, I want to remain fixated on You. I want to get my strength from You every day. I want to learn how to wait on You like Jesus did - Who was utterly calm, cool and collected! I want to remain full of vital energy so that I'm not so easily distracted. I want to be led of Your Holy Spirit, especially when the circumstances pressure me on all sides. I want a mind that's stayed on You and I want to avoid weariness. Father help me today - in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen


CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I am hidden with Christ in God and I live in the same cool composure as He did. I am led of the Holy Spirit, especially when times get tough. I am not easily distracted and wearied. I live my life, waiting upon the Lord. Jesus is my perfect example. He is my Apostle and High Priest. In Him I lack nothing.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Divination & The Python Spirit (Python Series, Part 1 of 4)

Dear Friends, 

During the month of April I am bringing you a NEW four-part teaching series in regards to the Python Spirit. At this moment in time, there is a strong manifestation of its strangle-hold on the Church, especially its leaders. Ministries are falling by the way side. Many are confused to why their ministries are not successful. Therefore I am also making available to you my book "Seduction & Control: Infiltrating Society and the Church," available on Amazon.com. This is a must read for all who wish to safeguard against this devastating assault.

 
Divination & The Python Spirit (Python Series, Part 1 of 4)

As we were on our way to the place of prayer (Church), we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [python - see KJV] [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment  (Acts 16:16-18 AMP).
       
Felt under spiritual attack lately? Well here's a passage above that helps describe the kind of spiritual attack we've all been experiencing.

Firstly notice that this was not a spirit of stealth and seduction but of harassment and pestering torment. [Divination or python: exposes, provokes, discredits, humiliates and even bankrupts]. Notice how it did not just target Paul but his entire apostolic company, "...she kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly."

Folks, as part of Christ's apostolic company [see Hebrews 3:1 KJV] we too are the target for such harassment, designed to "sorely annoy and ware us out." We know this because it goes on to say, "She did this for many days. Then Paul, sorely annoyed and worn out turned and said..." According to the dictionary the word annoyance refers to an unpleasant mental state, that is characterised by such effects as irritation and distraction... and can lead to emotions such as frustration and anger. It refers to the act of making unwelcome intrusions upon another (this was taken in-part from Wikipedia and Merriam-Webster).

The greek for "grieved" as used in the King James Version [instead of annoyed] means: "to manage with pains, accomplish with great labour; to be troubled, displeased, offended, pained and to be worked up" (Strong's G1278). Perhaps Paul was not on best form after "many days" of such annoying harassment? Plus the original language confirms that it was just "a young female slave" who got under his skin (annoyed him so much!) Her masters weren't interested in harassing Paul - there was no money in it for them - she even lost them money. Instead she locked target with Paul (and the others) and wouldn't let go - until Paul put an end to it. 

Never Take Spiritual Warfare Personally
What's puzzling is why did Paul take so long to respond? I would suggest to you, that the devil wants us to react to everything and to take everything personally. Paul on the other hand knew that she was just a "servant girl." I want to remind you, that it's never a good time to take things personally, especially in spiritual warfare [we are all prone to this!] It's hard sometimes because the devil uses people. Still this spiritual-struggle that we are in, is never against people. "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12 NIV; John 17: 14-16 KJV).

Once we start taking things personally, we have lost the plot completely. Self-preservation makes us lose our focus and our purpose [Christ's agenda was never self preservation]. Self-preservation - always motivates us - out of the will of God. We become defensive and our sensitivity to God becomes seriously impaired. All spiritual warfare is targeted at Christ [hence anti-Christ] and is therefore never personal. [Remembering this fact can really help prevent the roots of bitterness - see Hebrews 12:15].

However we know that Paul was capable of being led of the Holy Spirit, because of preceding events mentioned earlier in the same chapter. At each major juncture of their travels, we see an interaction between Paul and his apostolic company and the Holy Spirit. For example it says in the passage below that, "...they were forbidden by the Holy Spiritto preach the word in Asia" [right place - wrong time]. We also know that Paul was quick to respond to the Holy Spirit's guidance because it says below, "Now after he [Paul] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them." 

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit [a] did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
 (Acts 16:6-11 NKJV)

So this apostolic company, who were "forbidden" by the Spirit, also knew to "conclude" when they were permitted "to preach the gospel" in Macedonia. They knew how to be led by the Holy Spirit. With this in mind, are we to believe they missed it, when it came to a mere "servant girl"?

Did Paul [who responded "immediately"] suddenly become delinquent? Either Paul "concluded" deliberately to ignore her for "many days" then out of mere exhaustion succumb to the frustration of relentless spiritual harassment [Moses also struck the rock twice out of frustration with the people and suffered the consequences]. Or Paul - waiting on the unction of the Holy Spirit (to minister deliverance) only delayed his response - out of a knowledge of the spiritual climate and what sort of trouble it would stir.

When we read accounts like this in the bible, there was so much going on. Our lives are much the same. It takes great discernment to distinguish what's really happening. On a human level, we've all been "annoyed and worn out" [especially in the ministry!] So whether Paul acted out of frustration and spiritual exhaustion or not, the servant girl was still delivered and Paul's jailer [and household] were saved!

Many other miracles occurred also, and I would suggest, that it was because Paul faced and did not run from spiritual warfare. [He knew about Daniel 7:25 and how it was the enemies ploy to "ware him out."] The consequences might have seemed heavy, but what are the alternatives? To do nothing or "pursue and recover all without fail" [like David did in 1 Samuel 30: 1-19]. If we just lick our wounds we'll lose everything. However we are more than conquerors, we triumph through Christ, Who's is greater in us, than he that's in the world! (Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 4:4 KJV paraphrased).

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father many things in life are sent to ware me out and exhaust me so that I am non-productive for Your Kingdom. I want to fulfil Your purposes for my life and to glorify Your Name. Help me to distinguish between the superficial and the supernatural. Help me to discern what I am dealing with. So that as I depend on you, I will see victory. In Jesus name. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I am more than a conqueror today. I always triumph through Christ. I have nothing to fear. The consequences of life can be harsh (but they are much harsher without Christ). I am anointed for hard stuff! I have power, love and a sound mind. I keep my position and my possessions in Christ. I keep what's rightfully mine. I am a victor not a victim - in Jesus Name.