The Body Is Christ’s Not Man’s

one-body-in-christ

…Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly regions, far above all principality, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and hath appointed him head over all to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Eph 1:20-23, Haweis)

Wow! Did you get that? Jesus has been placed by the Father over all authority in this world and in the eons to come. But how many of us read this and really believe it or have minds that can comprehend the meaning of this passage? How many of us allow men to come between us and the will of Christ for our lives as He seeks to lead us by His Spirit?

God has appointed Christ to be Head over all the church. Yet we have millions of heads in the churches who claim final authority over the body of Christ! Because of this we now have 41,000 (and counting) separate Christian denominations and sects in the world today. What confusion!

Paul was careful not to take the place of Christ as the head of the body. He wrote:

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. (1Cor 7:17, ESV2011)

And Peter didn’t either.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1Pet 4:10-11, ESV2011)

All glory and dominion belongs to Jesus Christ forever, not to Paul, Peter or even Pastor Wonderful! We have each been given gifts by the Spirit to serve one another in love by His leading, not by the totalitarian leadership of some church organization.

church-bondage

This morning I got an email from a brother that was sitting in a Sunday school class where the teacher told them that they “cannot leave a church until the pastor lets them go”! If we really understood that we are members of Christ’s body and that HE is our Head, would we even give such rubbish a second thought? Yet, this twisting of scripture to make mere carnal men the absolute authorities in the lives of the saints seems to permeate the thinking of today’s Christians.

What part of body life do we not understand? Imagine your own human body that is functioning quite well as it was created. Now imagine some outside force, some Dr. Frankenstein, taking you captive, strapping you down on his operating table and grafting on another head. This new head now has power to send confusing messages to the members of your body according to its own will. THIS is what is going on in churches where a man or woman rises up and demands that you submit to their will in all things. This is not the body of Christ. You already have One Head and it is Christ! As His member in His body, you should never be part of a grotesque two headed monster. It is a cult.

When the leaders of the Jews demanded that the apostles in the early church obey them and not Christ’s Spirit they gave a firm reply,

“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:29-32, ESV2011)

God speaks to us through Christ and His Spirit. We are members of His body and He, as our Head, directs us through the Spirit God has given to those who obey HIM! I would like to share the following by T. Austin-Sparks.

There must be the liberty of the Spirit in us in order to realize the Body and its ministry. I am coming down to practical questions. There must be absolute freedom from human organization, ecclesiastical government, man’s control AS SUCH if there is going to be a full functioning of the Holy Spirit. To get into a hide-bound religious system, ecclesiastical control, a human organization of the Church… is not the principle of the Holy Spirit, and we must be absolutely free from all such things if the Spirit is going to function freely and we are going to have ministry in the Holy Spirit.

That is the principle of the Spirit. It was that that the Jews, the Jewish leaders, were so set against in the case of the Apostle Paul. He said, “certain came in to spy out our liberty” (Gal. 2:4). What was it? That he had thrown off the yoke of the law and the Jewish system [church systems, too, for the leaders of the church in Jerusalem added nothing to him {see Gal. 2:6}- mdc] and now he was exercising himself in the universal realm of the Body of Christ… He was free from all yokes of tradition, system, and organization religiously on the earth, in order to fulfil his ministry of revelation as the Holy Spirit led him. That is essential to the Body of Christ. By which I mean that to try to organize the Body of Christ, the Church, and to try to set a program for it and hand it to the Holy Spirit and say, “will you kindly take the chair and carry out our programme” …is so utterly contrary to the principle here revealed.

The Body of Christ is a thing emancipated from the earthly systems; it must be to function. It is not our forsaking the earthly system because we have taken hold of certain truths, but our being emancipated. (1)

What an important difference Sparks brings out in that last sentence. Reading the Bible and grasping truths that feed our rebellious hearts is not good, but reading it and having the Spirit confirm that we are hearing His voice and obeying Christ is the way it should be. If our freedom is used to bring us back into bondage it is no longer freedom, but slavery. Living in true freedom takes the leading of the Holy Spirit at all times.

God bless you all as you follow the leading of the Spirit in the freedom that Christ died to give you.

(1) http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/000755.html

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52 comments on “The Body Is Christ’s Not Man’s

  1. Fred says:

    Thank you for this. I have also heard pastors say it is hating our brother or sister not to want to spend time with them in church.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Spending time with people, believers or not, will not make us love them since behavior does not change the heart, does it…? If pastors really say such things, Fred, they only show their pharisaical thinking. In fact, the more ‘brothers’ and sisters’ join the congregation, the more tithes and donations they (those pastors) can expect.

      As soon as you feel FORCED by some ‘Christians’ to do something you cannot do wholeheartedly, you may know that the Holy Spirit was not in it since “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor 3:17 ESV) and “his commandments are not burdensome.” ((1 Jn 5:3 ESV)

      Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Well said, Susanne. The Holy Spirit does not coerce but today’s church leaders sure do.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you very much for confirmation, Michael.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I believe that statement [Fred’s] is true up until the last 2 words. “in church”. These things which have been spoke by Michael wont win any popularity contests in “the church” as todays culture defines is. It is like fingernails on a chalkboard to “the church” and the pseudo leaders will dump unfounded guilt on anyone who speaks these truths. Do not believe a word of it. We are the church and we should have a desire to spend time with one another, but we can only be the church, not go to it and spend time in it. How limiting is that? There is no condemnation in those who are in Christ Jesus, for those who are the church. We have been born again into a Life, where ever we go, there we are, there is “the church”. A piece but none the less, the church. When we all operate in that Life, the Church is complete and the gates of hell will not prevail. The confusion precipitating from the 4 walls should publically be apologized for, it misrepresents everything our Lord came for…He has set us free. We are loved. Thank you Lord.

        Liked by 6 people

      • Fred says:

        Some one had mentioned in a comment about Jesus saying Neither do I condemn you so I am actually replying to that.

        I feel condemned almost all the time. I get hope when I am reminded that I am one of GOD’s children. It also helps that GOD answers my prayers as I have been told he does not answer prayers to those who are against him unless it is to be saved. Something like that.

        The pastor that lives a block from me would be right though. He has told me not to do what he says or what others say but listen to the Holy Spirit and do what he tells you. This was in a conversation with him about one of his sermons. I am actually friends with that guy and enjoy talking to him.

        However the Pastor of the Saturday bible study I go to wanted me to take him on as a spiritual father. I didn’t tell him yes. I told him he has been wrong about things and that some times he will say some thing one week and then say something totally different a few weeks down the road. He told me that was because this is progressive truths. Here are some examples though he said that all illness is because of sin and a few weeks later is said sickness could be a test, a sin in your life or an attack by the enemy. He also says you should not eat breakfast, has not changed his mind about that. He has mentioned you have to listen to him if he asks you do do something because if you don’t you are disobeying GOD.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Fred, you are hearing the Shepherd’s voice and know His voice from that of the wolves. Spend your time focusing where it belongs.

        But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:2-5, ESV2011)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Fred, Jesus said that when he was sick or in prison His sheep visited Him. He never said that when we are in church we visited Him. He DID say that where only 2 or 3 (not two or three hundred or thousand) are gathered in His name (no mention of church buildings again) that He would be there in our midst. By this pastor’s measuring stick, the early church hated one another for the first 300 years because they had no church buildings until Emperor Constantine started building Christian temples around 325AD.

      You see, the early church knew that believers in Christ are living stones joined by God, the Master Builder, into HIS temple and they did not need buildings to be the church, rather they gathered as families in one another’s homes as simple loving brothers and sisters in Christ. Because of this the pagans called them pagans because they did not worship in temples the way they did with their statues, incense, tapestries, priestly garments and the collection of money. The pot is still calling the kettle black, my brother, for today’s churches are more pagan than they are the temple of the Living God.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Michael says:

      Cornilus and Fred,

      Alan, it is good to hear form you again. It has been a long time, my brother. As I thought about your comment about what Fred wrote, you nailed it. This thinking that has taken over in Christendom that we who are the body of Christ can be “in church” and be in a time that is “after church” is all warped and twisted. Let me quote the following from T. A. Sparks for he gets right to the point on how the enemy has done this…

      “Man has taken hold of heavenly things and brought them down to earth and made them earthly things. That is where things all went wrong at the beginning. At the first, things were of the Spirit. The people gathered in their homes or anywhere. It was not the place. It was not the ministry. It was the Lord, and they were circled around Him. But then the day came when they said, “We must have public buildings,” and then the architecture became a factor, and so things developed, and they became something on the earth for men to take note of. They wanted man to be attracted, and that was the first step in one of the greatest perils that has overtaken the church. For prestige, recognition, the world to be attracted, there is the result that you get the mixed multitudes in the church. If you can attach some big names to it, you can attract the people, and one of the devil’s greatest measures has been popularizing the church.”
      http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/003467.html

      Thus we have all these carnal people who do not know the presence of the Lord from that of Satan that call themselves “Christian” that we meet with and even sit under their teachings in what’s called “church.” Fred, it is no wonder you are always confused as you mingle with and listen to these people. Christ has to become your ALL in all if you are to survive in this deceptive world.

      Michael

      Liked by 4 people

      • Fred says:

        I am trying to make Christ my all. It seems to hard to do.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Carina says:

        Dear Fred,

        You’ve said you think making Christ your all is hard. You got it, brother! A passage came to mind immediately after reading you. Mark 10:17-27, Jesus and the rich young ruler. I’m sure you know the story.
        I want to point out what Jesus said after the young man, who was greatly loved by Jesus, left sadly, unable to let go of his riches.
        “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”
        The disciples were amazed, because in Jewish culture material blessings tended to be associated with spiritual blessing (the misinterpretation of the prosperity Gospel is not new! Job got accused of having greatly sinned because of what he had lost).

        Jesus expands, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
        The disciples understood the point, so they asked, “Then who can be saved?”
        And then, the message is explained in full:
        “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

        True Christianity is not hard. It is IMPOSSIBLE. It is a life that CANNOT be lived in the *old* flesh. You don’t go ahead in faith by winning, but by losing. You kill your pride, and admit you can’t do it. The righteous lives BY FAITH, not by self-effort. Not I, but Christ in me. Please read Galatians when you have time. 🙂

        Old, smart but proud Carina is a dismal failure, and will always be! Spirit-empowered, faith-filled Carina (or whatever my new name is) is a more than conqueror who can move mountains and do all things IN CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS her. That is, when I’m sober-minded, vigilant, prayerful and very meek and humble, GOD can do something with this very clumsy and sometimes rebellious sheep. And when I’m not that meek and humble, I get the shepherd’s rod!

        Every day, and every single moment, I aim to worship God by surrendering my old self (which has already suffered a death blow according to Romans 6) to death, in a desperate heartcry for Him to live His life in me.

        I’m no supersaint. I’m just a VERY flawed individual who has grown painfully aware of her extremely horrible shortcomings and is seeking Jesus Christ’s healing as her ONLY HOPE OF GLORY. The same grace is available to ALL WHO ARE THIRSTY. Isaiah 55.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Very well said, dear Carina. Now I know why the Spirit did not want me to answer Fred’s last comment. It was you that He had in mind.

        For the carnal man (and woman) the biggest mistake is to try and approach Spiritual truth with our carnal minds. We have already been warned by God that this will never work.

        For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. ​For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:8-9, ESV2011)

        We must surrender all to the cross of Christ, even our minds.

        Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed [Greek: metamorpho] (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Rom 12:2, AMP)

        We don’t just need to have our old way of thinking change… WE NEED WHOLE NEW THINKERS! When God has done his miracle in us our old minds will be gone and we will have the mind of Christ. The old no more resembles the new than that earth bound caterpillar resembles the heaven bound butterfly.

        But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Cor 2:14-16, KJ2000)

        Fred, you think too much. By the working of God and the cross in your life you have to come to the place where your soul (mind, will and emotions) no longer has the upper hand and out shouts the whisper of the Lord in your spirit.

        Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. (Ps 4:4, KJ2000)

        “Father, give us the mind of your Son who only does what He sees you doing and only speaks what He hears you saying. Amen.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Carina says:

    Thanks for this post. I was in deep distress these days and the Lord led me to read Romans (where I got as far as chapter 8) and Colossians, which I read all at one sitting.
    We need to go back to the pure Gospel because even there the message has been outrageously perverted.
    In the psalms you read a lot about the oppression of the arrogant over the poor and needy. Many have comforted me greatly.
    My next assignment will be Galatians. An urgent message for us all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Carina, I agree about the urgent message that is in Galatians. Paul wrote a warning that once these people had started out on their pursuit of Christ’s preeminence in their lives, but they had been bewitched by those preaching righteousness through keeping the law. The reason it is so critical for today’s Christians is that many have come under the laws that church organizations put them under (mandatory tithing is the most common) and these laws always trump the voice of the Spirit and the direction HE would have them go. A glaring example of this is found in the words of James “Pure religion and undefiled before God is to meet the needs of the widows and orphans in their affliction.” Instead their money is given to church organizations that do very little of this. Thus as it was with the Jews, the traditions of men make of no effect the commandments of God. How many regular tithers will hear Him say in that day, “When I was hungry you fed me not. Sick and in prison you did not visit me. Naked you did not clothe me… what you did not do to the least of these you did not do it unto me”?

      Michael

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      • fred says:

        I am concerned about hearing that actually.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Fred, you see why it is so important to have our ears tuned to the Spirit of Christ in us? If we follow HIS leading as the Spirit speaks within us, we will have nothing to worry about, but if we follow the rules of religious men… well?

        Please pray, my brother that He will show you the difference and what is missing in your life and I will pray with you.

        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        My greatest fear, by far, is to hear the I NEVER KNEW YOU statement. Though God has reminded me of Psalm 139 as a reassurance that I will NOT hear that, and has spanked me with His rod to prove to me that I’m indeed His child (otherwise He would deliver me to a reprobate mind like He does with many unbelievers), I still have moments of great panic, where the hell seems open and about to swallow me up. Perhaps I’ve heard too many fire and brimstone sermons or I’m naturally wired for this kind of fear. But many times, and this typically happens when I’m being rebellious towards something God (?) has said I should stop doing, I have felt on the verge of actual death, my heart just about to stop and my eternal destiny sealed (and my soul not going to the place of bliss but to torment).

        Many times, I have felt almost as if God was against me, calling me His enemy and not His friend.

        Right now, I feel condemned and rejected by a person I previously held in high regard, because until a month ago, he was very helpful and seemed to have a humble, loving heart. We’ve severed our ties with him and have refused to engage in conversation because right now we feel is not the right time to discuss what happened. Still, some phrases he pronounced, which may have had the best intentions (and some of it may have been a rebuke or warning from God), keep coming to my mind, piercing my soul like knives. We feel as though we were stabbed in the back, because we never saw it coming. Maybe not his intention at all. Maybe he’s completely unaware of what he did. But we sense that the devil greatly distorted his perception of us (specifically, of ME!) and he’s probably magnifying the sense of rejection we feel. We don’t want to be bitter, but this unrooting of bitterness is a process.

        I agree with you, Michael, that a big part of the reason I have experienced such things as feeling condemned by God and men is that I have trusted MEN more than God, Not trusting my own faith and my own ability to hear the Holy Spirit clearly, I have gone to people to ask for prayer, advice, guidance… I got 50/50. Some of the time, I received good things that helped. Sadly, when the guidance was NOT helpful it was very hurtful, indeed!

        I’m struggling to discern what was good, and accept any needed warning or exhortation from God, and discarding what was from the flesh and should be completely disregarded.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        My dear eternal sister in Christ,

        Carina, I have also been through many of the same experiences as you and it set me up to believe that I was worthy of rejection all my life. It started when my father rejected me when I was only one year old and he used that as leverage against my mother. They fought over me as long as I can remember. My mother finally divorced my dad, a very bitter woman. I was an only child for eleven years. This set me up for more rejection by others because I was totally socially inept. I was also raised in the Catholic system of judgement and law keeping, never able to meet the standard there. When I left that at 23 and started going to Protestant churches it was not that much better, but at least they started me reading the Bible, though they had no place for a personal Holy Spirit to lead me. All this put an image of God in my mind of being all powerful, but too weak to keep me in His love.

        Well, dear sister, THIS is not the Gospel! We have been placed in Christ by the grace of God from the foundation of the world. Eventually we accept Jesus as our Savior and the one who loves us so much that HE died for us. BUT seeing that it was our Father in heaven who placed us IN Christ because He loves us, THAT is a truth that takes us longer to accept because of our past. “God IS Love!” “God so loved the world…” We are accepted [by Him] in the Beloved [Son].” Jesus is BIG! And it is okay for us to wander around inside of Him until we finally learn how much we are loved, regardless of our mistakes and wrong choices. Nothing can separate us from our Father’s love.

        There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8:1-2, ESV2011)

        What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Rom 8:31-35, ESV2011)

        Dear Daddy, please open eyes of Carina’s heart to see how much you love her. Amen

        Come thou fount of every blessing
        Tune my heart to sing thy grace
        Streams of mercy never ceasing
        Call for songs of loudest praise
        Teach me some melodious sonnet
        Sung by flaming tongues above
        Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
        Mount of God’s redeeming love…

        Oh to grace how great a debtor
        Daily I’m constrained to be
        Let thy goodness like a fetter
        Bind my wandering heart to thee
        Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
        Prone to leave the God I love

        Here’s my heart O take and seal it
        Seal it for thy courts above

        Amen!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carina says:

      That was very sweet of you, Michael! And it seems a fitting reassurance from God.
      I was thinking yesterday that there are certain stories in the Bible that speak volumes to my heart. The woman at the well in John 4. The adulterous woman Jesus saved from stoning. The sinner (a former prostitute?) who comes to Jesus and breaks the alabaster jar, and is rejected by the Pharisee but greatly praised by Jesus.
      “Those who have been forgiven much, show great love”.
      Mary Magdalen, of whom Jesus had cast out seven demons, and was the first to see Him when He was raised from the dead.

      What do all these women have in common, apart from past sexual sins? An identity that was distorted by the father of lies.

      I’ve no doubt that it’s those ideas about a God who hated me that led me to despair, and despair led me to sin. I believe most of the sins I committed in my life stem from that lie, “God doesn’t really love you. He loves humanity, but he doesn’t love you personally. He doesn’t really care about your hurt. And he wants to spoil your fun.”
      When I was a child, I believed with all my heart that Jesus had come to die for sinners. It took me much longer to understand (I mean with revelation, not theoretical knowledge) that Jesus died for ME. It took me even longer to believe that it was *the Father’s* will for Jesus to die because of His great personal love for me.

      Still a long way to go. But while I was hearing sermons with a slightly legalistic bent, I kept thinking about grace. It’s all about grace. Our faith begun with grace and it ought to continue being empowered by grace, by an intimate, life-changing conviction that we are greatly loved by God. Otherwise, the Gospel is no longer good news, and the “easy yoke” becomes a “heavy burden”.

      I love you greatly in the Lord. Thanks for allowing me to share a piece of my heart in your blog, and not judging me for that. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Carina, I prayed before writing my answer to you that it would be the voice of our Daddy reaching out to you. Those wonderful stories about these women who had lives of sorrow and sin until they met Jesus are so instructive as to what Jesus’ and our Daddy’s heart is toward those who have been dealt a bad hand in this world. If we read the gospels closely we see that many of them followed and worshiped Him with their love as a result. I am blessed that He has sent you my way and has used me to point to His love for you as well.

        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, amen!

    I go to a sweet little church now and one thing that appealed to me is that guys get up and move around sometimes. That’s a funny thing to zero in on, but people can get wiggly, men especially, so they go get a drink of water or move to different pew. Those who can’t sit still at all, there’s a kind of foyer off to the side with an exit, so you can in theory be halfway in church participating and yet still keep one foot out the door. What it all speaks to me of is freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Gabrielle,
      I have to admit that I am one of those men who can’t sit still for long especially with this bad circulation in my legs. In fact if I do feel led to go to a church “service” I make sure I sit by the door so I can get up and move or even leave if I have to. For me it is like that Farmers Insurance ad, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing of two.” Keep your freedom in Christ, dear sister, for you belong to Him.
      Michael

      Like

  4. Marshall says:

    it’s been said that the Catholic church has one pope, and that the Protestants have thousands of little popes. All this is built upon the foundation of unbelief: covert and (at times) open denial that the Spirit of Christ remains alive and amidst the saints. Results of delimiting, excluding or forbidding the Spirit of God among include a gaping hole in doctrine and-with the striking-out of Scriptures that “don’t apply” where and when Christ is not truly alive today and/or He is thought to have left us as orphans upon the earth. yet, the most fearful consequence is arriving by way of these men so much denying and speaking against the Holy Spirit of God, with the same known to be exclusively the only sin not forgiven among men.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Marshall, I have heard this saying about thousands of popes in Protestantism as well. I would take it one step further, whereas we have only one pope per congregation in the typical Sunday church, now with the emphasis on house churches we have thousands more reigning over others from their homes. Not all house churches are this way, but many of them have a preeminent leader and follow a format very similar to the Sunday churches they left behind and are too blind to see it! Christians for the most part still deny the leading of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and the lives of those who are under them.

      You make a good point also about the “striking out” of scriptures that they do not like under the guise of dispensationalism. How often we have heard this like, “The Holy Spirit was given to speak to the churches until the closing of the canon. Now we have the Bible and that is all we need.” Didn’t Jesus say, “I will not leave you alone. I will come to you again. I will send you the Comforter and He will lead you into all truth”? No wonder that Jesus stands outside a locked door in this Laodicean church age we are in while everyone inside those building are so smug in their opulence yet are poor, miserable, blind and naked in the eyes of the Lord. The unction, the eye slave of the Holy Spirit is what we all need so much.

      Yes we have gone full circle. As it was spoken of the Jewish leadership 2000 years ago in by Jesus, so it is today, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither allow you them that are entering to go in.” (Matt 23:13, KJ2000)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marshall says:

        it was men who ordered a canonization of Scripture and of saints. Yet even today there are men, as was Martin Luther, who don’t receive such as the book of James to be worthy or sound.

        Thanks be to our God, smaller (“house church”) assembly does not as well facilitate those taken in papal spirit. uncounted “church plants” have fizzled or failed in consequence for how that Christ was not truly Head of them or their purpose. Some who have made it their business to plant small groups have since begun to proclaim it be “normal” for the body of Christ to fracture or self-terminate. Yet, what Christ Jesus is building does not die. Can we not learn in caveat by all that overtook Paul’s labors in Corinth?

        [video src="http://worthyhouse.info/docs/John_17.mp4" /]

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Michael,

        I painfully agree with you! Again, I had to go through this experientially so God could really get His point across.
        I have heard many people mention this church age as that of the Laodicean church. I would in general terms agree that most of “nominal Christianity” fits the description perfectly. However, in my humble opinion, all of the 7 churches in Revelation are present in the wider perspective, thought they apply to different people, and some of us have a mix of qualities (good and bad) from different churches. ALL of the messages speak to my heart, and have described my walk with Christ at different points in my life.

        I mentioned (or I think I did) that God rebuked me with the message to the church of Thyatira. He told me in no uncertain terms “I have this against you… you tolerate Jezebel”.
        I am still asking questions to understand the full ramifications of the Holy Spirit’s admonishment. When such a word comes to you, you begin to question *everything* you have believed, *everyone* you have welcomed, and most of all, you question yourself. The first question I asked the Lord was, Is Jezebel in ME? Do *I* have a spirit of witchcraft, manipulation, pride, greed…? That’s a very painful question to ask!

        And then the Lord showed me that this is one of the spirits ruling the hour, and I tolerated such a spirit ruling over me and oppressing me to the point of almost killing the embryonic revelation of Jesus growing inside of me. I tolerated man’s interpretations to make me insecure whenever I received something that was not quite the “mainstream” view of the generality of Christendom, even if I had many passages from Scripture to back up my *slightly* “divergent” view. I tolerated men putting my faith inside a narrow, small, dark box, when the Holy Spirit called me to be free.

        I was the church of Galatians, bewitched by man’s traditions. I still find it very hard to *fully* believe the Gospel, because the voices that condemn me scream too loud. I have yet to fix my eyes on Jesus writing in the dirt… and telling my accusers to go ahead, throw the first stone if they are absolutely guiltless. I have yet to hear Him say, “I do NOT condemn you!” Yes, I have heard the message *in my heart* many times, and have a certain revelation of this. But I need to hold on to it, and let it sink in so much more until His perfect love casts out *all* fear.

        Yes, I was also a hypocrite, judgmental, Matthew 23 kind of “Christian” most of my life. Yes, I was also a control freak, manipulative, greedy, envious… but this is a plank in my eye that God has been removing for +30 years. Not fully free but trusting God’s help towards the goal of being fully ruled by God’s love.

        The problem, as I see it, is that most people who are “heads” of churches are not aware *at all* of the darkness in *them*. They *think* they are good at discerning other people’s shortcomings, but according to Jesus, if you cannot discern the plank in your eye and remove it, you’d better forget about correcting others!

        We can change the “organization” but if we don’t *unroot* the problem, the same bad fruit will manifest. The problem is in the heart. The system only makes it manifest. And we’ve ALL fallen short.

        Please read Psalm 14. I believe this is what Jesus meant when He said the phrase “workers of iniquity”. Verse 4 hit me like a hurricane!

        Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
        Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
        And do not call on the Lord?

        Then compare to the list in 2 Timothy 3 of people “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”. They make sinful and gullible people captive to *them*.
        Jesus said to them, “For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers.” Literal widows, but also anybody who hasn’t learned that Christ is meant to be our husband! They adulterously get in the way of a pure, intimate, devotional relationship with the bridegroom. They are not “friends of the bridegroom” like John the Baptist was. They get into bed with the bride they were supposed to serve and prepare for marriage!

        May the Lord make us eunuchs so that when we deal with younger Christians, we won’t usurp the role only Jesus ought to have in their lives!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Thanks, Carina. This is truly a time of soul searching for us both. I find I do much better when I am not hanging around with people who cling to religion more than they cling to Jesus and allow their hearts to be exposed to His cleansing light. Like John so rightly wrote,

        This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1John 1:5-7, KJV)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        I agree with what you wrote, Marshall. I also went to Mike’s blog article you linked to at the end. He makes it sound like faith in Buddha or the teachings of Mohammad are on equal footing with our faith in Christ and we need to accept everyone the same way as searchers for God. We can only have true fellowship IN the Spirit of Christ if we walk in the light as HE is in the Light! We are saved by the faith OF JESUS CHRIST, not the faith of Mohammad or Buddha or Krishna or any other “church planter,” Jesus’ faith was in the Father, a title that no other “teacher” ever gave to their gods. He was intimate with the Father and opened the door through His perfect sacrifice for us to enter into our Daddy’s presence with this same intimacy as we accept His blood atonement for us. None of these other founders of religions can do this no matter how much “faith” we have in them. I think that we would do well to meditate on this passage…

        Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Rom 3:22-25, KJV)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. dimple says:

    Thank you, Michael!
    The WOW factor of this passage in Ephesians goes beyond the point you rightfully make… I am bowled over every time I read it and pay attention… He is the head of his body, the ekklesia, [which is] the fullness of him who fills all in all. A simple declarative truth, but so vast in scope that it extends to cover the whole of creation. Amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Louise,

      How deep is the snow up at your house? We have about 9 inches and it is still coming down.

      Yes, I am still trying to grasp all that Paul was saying in Ephesians on revelation at a time. When we read that Jesus was crucified from the foundation of the world and then that we were crucified IN Christ… the timelessness of our salvation starts to take on scope. Like Paul said, “Who is sufficient for these things?” It is TRULY AMAZING indeed!

      Good to hear from you again, dear sister, Keep up the good listening to our Teacher.

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I was especially struck by your statement that, “If our freedom is used to bring us back into bondage it is no longer freedom, but slavery.” So few Christians recognize this because so few read the Bible any longer. They read books that have made it to the Best Sellers List. Often, however, those books water down the Gospel or distort it completely.

    Thankfully, we have teachers like you, Michael, to set us straight! 🙂

    With love, your sister in Christ,

    Anna ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Anna. Yes, heaps of teachers who leave out our need of a personal cross as we follow Christ, This not the Gospel of the New Covenant. But the gospel that Jesus shared caused all but a handful to forsake Him and it still does. It is not a message that one speaks to win the popularity contest that builds mega-church followings.

      Bless you, my dear sister,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ken. Dawson says:

    I remember a pastor I met at a convention who told me that his greatest fear was that the people of his church group were making the bible into an idol–I also remember reading a testimony of a guy who wrote how he put his bible away for one year and lived his daily life by looking and listening to Gods Spirit for guidance and he grew more spiritual in that one year–makes me wonder?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Ken, the Bible that is used as a rule book or something to be worshiped as it is in many Fundamentalist circles, leads to a kind of merciless fanaticism. It is easy for me to see that this kind of a spirit is what Jesus was up against with the orthodox Jews 2000 years ago. And it is even easier for me to see this same spirit is working in ISIS with their bloody enforcement of Sharia law! Yet, Jesus’ constant emphasis was to point them away from the traditions that grew up around the Old Covenant with its earth-bound focus on things seen, touched, smelled, heard and tasted… temple rights, feast day rituals, services and loyalty to the kingdom of Israel unto Himself and the Kingdom of Heaven, that they might become a heavenly people and come to Him the originator and Source of all Life.

      The letter of the law, any law that we make from reading the scriptures, kills, but the Spirit gives Life. The whole Old Covenant was used by Jesus to show the disciples how it pointed to HIM and in HIM it was all fulfilled. It was all a sign! When I go on a trip to Glasgow, Montana, there is a place that the main freeway peals off to the right and if you don’t look closely at the signs, you will go strait and miss your destination. The problem is that people who worship the Bible and focus on it alone, are those who either miss the turn or camp out around the sign “Glasgow =>” and never go on to where it is pointing. Like Jesus said, “You search the scriptures and in them you think you will find life. But it is these that speak of me and you will not come to ME THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE!”

      Ken, I read the scriptures until they have pointed me to Christ and then I lay them down and focus on Him and what the Spirit is saying to me. He often gives me a short phrase from the Bible and when I look it up a whole new light dawns on me as to its real kingdom of God message is. Then I let that message draw me up into heavenly places IN Christ. “The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

      Thanks for your comment, my brother. I have missed you.
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • Carina says:

      Ken,

      What you and Michael have shared is a very real danger, and I have fallen into this trap of “bibliolatry”. I still believe and will always believe that the Bible is inerrant, inspired (God-breathed) and useful for instruction, reproof, etc. I have seen how the spiritual principles found in it WORK. They are literally life-saving in every sense of the word. BUT they only reason the principles work is because the Holy Spirit translates the theory into practice when we seek God devotionally.

      I have spent occasional extended periods of not reading the Bible. Perhaps reading spiritual books with a quote, but paying more attention to men’s comments than the Bible text, because I “knew” so much of the content that I was sort of fed up with Bible study. The Bible had ceased to be new. Over time, I stopped reading Christian books, I stopped listening to sermons, and I stopped praying (actually I stopped praying before stopping all the other spiritual disciplines). I think part of the reason I was fed up was that, because of men’s yokes of tradition, Bible reading, like the other spiritual disciplines, had become a chore. Since I derived no pleasure in the book, I felt it was more honest to do other things with my time. I studied Italian and brushed up my Portuguese. Surprisingly, God used that apparent detour to open a door at work for me.

      But even when I was at my most “rebellious”, depressed, burned-out stage, God never ceased speaking to me, and when I kept refusing to listen, He spoke with a terrifying silence…
      Hosea 5:15 describes my experience:
      I will return again to My place
      Till they acknowledge their offense.
      Then they will seek My face;
      In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

      The next chapter begins with the result of the silence.
      Come, and let us return to the Lord;
      For He has torn, but He will heal us;
      He has stricken, but He will bind us up.

      I don’t think I would recommend not reading the Bible as a “treatment” for spiritual burnout, though. I would rather recommend people meditate on Jesus, seek Him in every page in the book, because you see shadows of His ministry throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament is definitely explicit in being all about Him. This doesn’t mean burdening yourself with 4 chapters a day. A single verse per day (per week?) may be enough to ruminate! The Holy Spirit is the best guide!
      If you seek the Bible as a “book of knowledge” (knowledge meaning “theory”, “dogma”, “concepts”) you’ll definitely get it very wrong. If you read to obtain grace and wisdom = the fear of the Lord (reverence + love towards Jesus who loved us first and gave His life for us and the Father who sent Him!), the reading will help you get to know the Lover of our souls.

      I don’t read as a “theologian” (or at least, the way theology is understood as a mostly intellectual exercise). I read as a worshiper. And that has made all the difference!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the blog. As I read the blog, I was reminded of how I continue to miss the mark. I still have a self awareness that wants to please man – to my defilement.

    While reading in Revelation this morning, my attention was called to the dragon, the beast and so forth who had multiple heads; as opposed to the Lamb who had one head. This came into my consideration because of your writing in the blog of an Imaginary Christ with two heads. The body of Christ has one head as you so beautifully defended. The kingdom of darkness is another matter as Revelation reveals.

    Father God, thank You for Michael who shines a light on your truth to my edification.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Hi Pat! It is good to hear from you again. That is an interesting discovery you found in Revelation, dear sister! And the woman dressed in scarlet, the great whore, rides upon this many headed dragon from where she gets her power and direction. No, I will not have any of those heads leading me. Christ is my LORD and Husband forever!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fred says:

        I have to admit that when I first got born again I was not reading the bible and that was I think when I got delivered from my addiction. I was guided away from watching tv as well but mainly because that was shown to be hurting me.

        Oh and something interesting I saw on facebook just a little bit ago was this. “Drop your Bible and Follow Jesus Christ “

        Liked by 2 people

      • Somehow I felt nudged to check this out, Fred. And thank God, I immediately found this short video on the internet! 🙂

        Usually, I do not read books or watch videos at all, esp. when I cannot sense the Holy Spirit there. However, in this case, this Russian guy seems to be right. Thank God, again, someone jotted down what he had said as well. So I could copy and paste it with little changes from the internet. Here is the context of what he was saying in these 1:40 min.

        Drop your Bible and Follow Jesus Christ (published on Oct 26, 2016)

        “To be a child of God means to be born again of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ Himself living in you, guiding you, and teaching you. You follow and obey Him, to be a child of God. It does not mean carrying a Bible and applying biblical principles according to your own mind; that is religion. That is carnal. That is not following Jesus Christ. You need to be led by the Holy Spirit. If you do not have the Spirit of Christ in you and you do not follow and obey Him, then you cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ, you cannot be a child of God. Obey Jesus Christ, repent and be baptized in water and invite Jesus into your life. If you obey Jesus and seek Him with all your heart, He will come and dwell in you. He will guide you and He will teach you and you will know Him for real. If Jesus is not in you, then you are not of the kingdom of God.
        May Jesus bless you.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Susanne and Fred, this Russian has it right. Using the Bible as a rule book governed by our limited vision of what God “wants” (following a religion even of our own creation) can be the worst enemy of hearing the voice of Christ in our daily lives and obeying His leading. Yet, when we focus on Him in an ongoing Spirit to spirit relationship first and foremost, He can use the Bible to speak to us as well. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” is not the same as seeking first the Bible and our understanding of it.

        Thanks for sharing this, you two!
        Michael ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fred says:

        Has any one else noticed something odd about the bible.
        Read Isaiah 11:6 – There is a word wrong. It should say “The lion also dwell with the lamb” However it says “The wolf also dwell with the lamb”.
        I found this in all version of the bible that I could find.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        Yes, Michael!

        Though I agree for the most part with this kind of exhortation to NOT use the Bible wrongly, pharisaically, I am still concerned that we may go from one extreme to the other, which can be just as bad. Idolatry of the Bible is terrible, and can make us just as horrible people as the original Pharisees, even if the Book is holy, inerrant, God-inspired. The problem is in the human heart, not in the God-breathed Book.

        On the other hand, if, rejecting that legalistic attitude of reading the Bible as a rule book, we throw the baby out with the bathwater, and fail to see that the Bible is an extended love letter from God to us, we will miss out on the many treasures God left “hidden” in it, waiting for us to find them.

        I also fear that, rejecting the intellectualism of the “ivory tower academics”, we’ll fall into the opposite trap of totally refusing to use our God-given brains in the pursuit of knowledge. It’s not that we read the Bible with our brains, no… But sometimes I find that when I observe nature, I find “parables” to some spiritual principle and get reminded of a Bible verse on the topic. Sometimes when studying something completely “secular”, and not even thinking about spiritual things at a conscious level, God speaks to me through something in the book I’m reading. No doubt it is the Holy Spirit and not “my” mind that breathes such an unexpected thought! And yet, I sense there is *some* connection with our predisposition to observe, analyse, reflect, stop and think.

        I believe our human reasoning, when FULLY SURRENDERED to God, can be, first “crucified”, then “resurrected/redeemed” and “used” by Him. The apostle Paul was such a case. A brilliant mind who had a lot of reasons to boast, and yet chose to consider all his learning and natural abilities as dung. And yet, don’t you find in his letters an extraordinary use of argumentation that far surpasses any Greek or later philosopher? I’m speaking about a mere mortal. But if you consider Jesus’ amazing responses to the religious experts of His age, there has been no one with such an ability to shut us all up and prove that we have all fallen short!

        So I would submit that using our reasoning “spiritually”, that is, surrendering the whole of ourselves, including our minds, for the renewal that is essential, can help us, when we totally lean on God and depend not on our own feeble attempts at “grasping” Him with “I-have-arrived!” thoughts.

        I would suggest “rationalizing” God, or “reasoning God into” narrow, closed boxes will *always* fail. Reducing the Bible to two or three legalistic principles and trying to “systematise” theology into clear-cut, dogmatic categories will still result in an “image” of God. A god that is a figment of your own “imagination”, not the real, Most High God who revealed *some* of His nature in the Book, but reveals *all* of His nature in the face of His Son. And we’ll probably need eternity to get to understand Him fully…

        I’m saying all these things because the main way God has instructed me in our +30-year relationship was the Bible. Jesus jumped out of the Bible to save me from suicide when I was a tormented 10-year-old. HE spoke to me and said, “I AM the Truth you’ll one day get to know, and I, Jesus, WILL set you free!” He spoke to me again at 16 and told me from Psalm 139, “I know your EVERY thought! I know just how much darkness you have inside! I still love you!” Throughout the years, He has “translated” the verses that were relevant to MY situation. He has bridged the gap between my finite, usually twisted understanding and His Way of thinking and feeling things. I’m still a work in process, alas!

        I don’t reject the contemplation of the mystics. I just find it useful to meditate on Bible verses (or Bible stories without thinking of a particular verse in them) than on God’s “abstract” qualities. When I think of a word like “mercy”, many verses come up automatically, but most of all I see our Beloved Jesus hanging on the Cross, looking at us, with an “I-love-you” written all over His bruised face.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Carina, there is an old saying, “A man (or woman) convinced against his will, will be of the same mind still.” If God is to lead us by the Spirit, it is our willpower that must die so that we can hear and do HIS will in our lives. It is futile for me to argue with you about what 46 years of suffering in Christ has taught me.

        For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:6-8, KJ2000)

        Paul did not write from his carnal intellect, but by listening to the Spirit of Christ. This is what is still missing among most Christians today. The war being waged is in our minds, dear sister and they cannot be trusted. Satan appealed to Eve’s mind when he tempted her with the tree of knowledge. Eat from the tree of Life and live.

        “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Rev 2:7, ESV2011)

        You wrote that you want to write novels and become a published author. Then do it! Get a snoot full of what this world has to offer to those it can use for its own gain. Quit halting between two opinions! Go for it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Oh, no! I won’t go for anything but God’s best. 😦

        That’s the whole point I was trying to get across… I admit I’m super ignorant at most things. Ok, maybe I’m very wrong here… Or maybe I didn’t express myself very well. I didn’t mean to speak for a position of pride. I’m very far from that know-it-all I used to be… It’s just that, clumsy as I am, I do get distracted and confused about some things still… I express my thoughts precisely because I want other brothers and sisters to help me discern better. My husband and I pray a lot… but we don’t trust our own discernment all that much, for we know we see in part, we prophesy in part… And we still need other brothers and sisters with more experience in some matters to help us see what we’re not seeing. Ultimately, it’s the Holy Spirit we trust.
        Since God has used you so much to exhort me, and uplift me, I accept your rebuke, thought it really hurt.
        No, I won’t try to get *anywhere* without Him. The reason I’m paralysed, and I’ve expressed it in many of our past communications, is that huge, overwhelming fear of stepping out of His will, and “falling from grace”. I admit there may be too much self-love that still needs to die… Ouch! Really! Ouch!
        You are right… Sometimes I feel I’m still in the “valley of decision”, and sometimes I make the wrong choice. God never fails to pierce me with His sword when I do. Please bear with me. I’m still “under construction”.
        No, I won’t take any step towards any “personal” dream. I don’t want to have personal dreams any more. I have the strong sense that these dreams of mine are not personal. But yet, even if Isaac was given by God, he still needs to go to the altar. I have my Isaac at the altar every day, and keep telling God, until you say Yes, this is a No to me. Until you say, Now, it is a Later.
        Anyway, a dear brother gave me Psalm 121 many times this week. I now stand on His promise that He will preserve my soul.
        I love you, brother!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Good to hear this. I will keep praying for you that God wins all that He is doing in you. Pray for me as well.
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Of course I will pray for you, dear brother! You have been a blessing to me and many others! I didn’t take offence at what you say and I hope I didn’t offend you. If I did, please forgive me! I’m truly embarrassed and sorry.

        We need to be patient with each other and understand we’re all in the same school. The Teacher is the same but not all of us grasp the same spiritual concepts at the same time. I mean in revelation knowledge, not intellectual knowledge which is an easy but deadly shortcut as you have very well warned! You’ve reminded me of your dream when you wanted to grab some of the praises for yourself. Sounds a bit like me. I guess the self-esteem false gospel still needs to be uprooted to the core. I still need much more grace teaching.

        Please don’t hesitate to speak the word of correction when the Holy Spirit tells you to. Many people have corrected me on different areas, and though I in many cases took the good in what they said and went to God and finally was changed as a result of any “constructive criticism”, usually what happens is the rebuke is coated with a judgmental, condemnatory spirit… and that results in despair.

        People like you, who can correct and not discard the whole of me as a result of my falls, are few and far between! When we express our struggles, our questions, our areas of uncertainty, most people are too quick to reach conclusions that we’re very immature, or not even saved. I tend to “confess my sins” (part of my long Catholic heritage?) to people I trust, but I’ve trusted the wrong people most of my life, sadly. But that was part of God’s rod, I can now see! Habakkuk speaks about Israel being punished by a people who were cruel and more ungodly than they were.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Fred says:

        Carina your experiences seem similar to mine. I was not raised Catholic though. I was raised Methodist. Have you gone through major battles in your head? Oh boy those are hard to deal with but before I started having those I had a lot of pride and after my pride went way down.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        Fred, “major battles in my head” is my last name! I did, and I do. Every single moment is a battle of which I’m deeply aware. I got really huge, shameful falls, including an episode when my sanity just crashed at 21 (months after I heard a voice in a dream that told me, “Next year you are going to die”). Unsurprisingly, the “outbreak” had mystical delirium elements.

        Most of my historic battles had to do with major demonic attacks and extreme fears of the supernatural which began when I was around 8. My sister, who used to love writing, too, wrote a story about two twins, one of which was kidnapped by the devil and imprisoned in hell. After reading her story, I was convinced that it was prophetic, and I was the girl in the story who was going to experience that. The devil told me he was going to do it and God was not going to prevent it. This irrational fear chased me for MANY years. I also had lots of nightmares and visions (though I never hallucinated) and a strong awareness of demons present in my room looking at me with hatred, which got much worse when I turned off the light. I felt Satan (most probably a lesser demon, but in my perception it was huge!) watching me as I was taking a shower. I could go on and on…

        I was probably dualistic or Manichean before religion made me a Catholic. Based on horror movies and pop culture ideas, I believed either Satan was almost as powerful as God, or that God the Father was not loving. We had a Bible in our house. When I was around 10 or 11, I started reading it from Genesis, and got as far as the plagues in Exodus. When I got to the deaths of the first born, the devil whispered the thought, What kind of God lets *innocent children* die like this? and this cemented the idea of God the Father as a cruel, despotic, irrational, volcanic-anger being, just like my natural dad (well, my dad wasn’t all that bad, but the accuser was shrewd at painting him in the worst possible light!). I saw Jesus as the one who interceded between us and prevented the full weight of the Father’s wrath falling on us, just like my mum did. I failed to see the full agreement between Father and Son.

        I was extremely sensitive and intuitive, but even that was misleading. Because of *actual* rejections and bullying, I could also sense when someone was rejecting me subtly… and my imagination would also make big deals out of little things, so it got very paranoid. At one point, I hated every one in my family, so much so that I would surely taken my own life if I hadn’t had an embryonic form or faith and hope. Only one thing prevented me… I knew the devil’s voice and I didn’t want to spend eternity having to listen to it. So even if God the Father seemed judgmental or distant, what sustained me was the hope that Jesus *could be* my salvation. Being alive, there was a trace of hope. If I decided to try to end my torment, I was certain I would be doomed for ever and ever.

        It’s been a long road to freedom. I cannot say the demonic attacks have ceased completely. Every time I draw very near to God the demons strike back with a vengance to intimidate me and make me back out in fear. They threaten they will send me to a mental asylum. My mild occasional sleep disorder becomes an almost every day inability to fall sleep at a normal hour.

        The normal “battle of faith” can get extremely bloody in my case. And so-called “deliverance ministries” have done more harm than good, probably. My approach today is to use the sword of the Spirit against them. I use the full armor of Jesus as my truth, my righteousness, my Gospel of peace, my salvation, my defender. I stand on God’s promises. I pray over them. I meditate on them. The Holy Spirit, reaching out to me from the pages of Scripture, literally saved my life many times. Most of all, I trust that the same Jesus who told me once He was going to set me free with His truth, will keep His promise, because He’s never left my side, even when I have really made a mess of everything!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Fred, what you just wrote about this passage in Isaiah 11:6 is an excellent example of how our traditional beliefs of what God is saying through the scriptures, blind us from reading by the Spirit what He has said. What you quoted from Isaiah is what is written, not what the traditions of men say in your mind about the lion and the lamb lying down together. You see why our minds cannot be trusted when it comes to spiritual things? God speaks into our hearts and the Spirit in us also speaks from there as well. The killing of our old man by the cross of Christ is what is missing in most Christians in how they read and handle the scriptures. Jesus did not tell the disciples that He was leaving them, but would return again in the form of a leather bound book trimmed in gold. No, He promised us the Holy Spirit who would lead us into ALL truth. As long as the early church listened to the Holy Spirit they did not need Paul’s letters of correction. The Judizers from Jerusalem were using the scriptures to put them back under the Old Covenant and away from Christ. His letters were written to them because they chose to follow these religious traditions and the letter of the Bible with their carnal minds instead of the Spirit of Christ. In the cultures of the West men worship their intellects, but Christianity was founded in the east not the west.

      Liked by 1 person

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