This is a three part series:
- My story – part #1 – the story
- My story – part #2 – lessons
- My story – part #3 – meeting Him and coming out
This post contains some of the thing I have learned during my time. In all these experiences I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot. My experiences are mine and they are not perfect and not right.
This is not gospel, it’s just my story and my thoughts. You’re the hearer, the pressure is on you to discern. Keep what is good, discard the rest.
Here are some highlights:
General warfare stuff
Why am I starting with this? I dunno.
I’ve learned what scriptures work and what doesn’t (even though it seems like it should). For example
- praying psalm 91 is like using your faith, you gotta have some.
- Putting anointing oil on your doorways has a retarding effect, it slows them down.
- Praying for Jesus Blood to cover your house works very well, but only for a period of time.
- Hedges of protection… it’s like faith, it works… sorta.
- But getting into all that Jesus has done for you and getting into Him, into His death and into His life (by faith in baptism)… wooooo! that works FABULOUSLY! Incredible! Clean and clear. The enemy is pushed far far back and the people in houses nearby you are able to breathe easier, the evil-doers can’t practise their stuff. It’s tremendous.
I’ve learned about churches and what it’s like to be a hurting person in a church that doesn’t focus on people and love them. How many times did I ask for help and the pastor either had no idea, or was scared, or too tired. One priest even said “oh so you’re one of God’s difficult children” and smiled. What the?
I’ve learned about the enemy and the occult. Seeing in the spirit realm kinda takes all the mystery away you know? hehehe. I was once at a Christian “Open Heavens” conference and the leaders up on stage said to the audience that “religious demons” were fighting angels. I looked where they were pointing. Nada. Nothing. They were trying to intimidate us. Not good. Really really not good.
Don’t listen to anyone who implies that angels and demons “fight”. I’ve seen them “fight”. I was in a cafe and saw a person who had a demon behind them. I prayed compassionately “Lord Jesus please help him”. Two angels swooped down and the demon froze up and the angels carried it off out of my sight. Period. It’s NOT a fair fight at all. Capice?
Listen mate, when you’ve seen an angel come to fight or protect, felt his presence, you’ll never doubt that God is God and there is no other.
Sure, in the OT the enemy was not defeated and angels had a hard time back then. But now, NT, Jesus has defeated them on the cross and our prayers have ENORMOUS impact on the lives of people around us. Woooo!
I’ve learned about God. Not nearly enough about God, I have to say. Nowhere near enough. Maybe all I know is that He is a good guy and He is tremendously loyal – He sticks with what He says. Lord, in all these years of wanting to be back with God, I seemed to be close to everything but. I’d like that to change. (Said in a nice calm voice).
What I’ve learned about God
I’ve learned that before you sign up to work for God, consider what Jesus said: don’t be like the worker who says he can build something without first counting the cost. It will cost. Kathryn Kuhlman said something that chilled me when I first heard it: “If you want to know what it will cost, if you reaaally want to know… if will cost you everything. I can tell you the day Kathryn Kuhlman died, I can take you to the spot.” She said that wiping away the tears.
The death is a spiritual death. Not literal. And the cost doesn’t have to be very very high either. For some it might be.
Brother Lawrence once said that he didn’t have any difficulty in getting close to God. He didn’t go through hard times, even though everyone else seemed to. He simply just “thought fondly” about God and tried to “involve” God in everything and “talk” to Him. He found God responded and talked back. No dramas!
To sign up, you need to be determined. I had to offer three times over several months. He gave me a warning. Along the way He again gave me warnings before things would get much worse. I pressed on.
Setting your face like flint can help. But it might not. There is no one “way”, we’re all different.
You have to know why you’re doing it. Why did Jesus die for the world? “For God so loved the world…” If your motive is wrong, you’ll build a big rich church with all the lavishness and wealth and splendor… you’ll have great music, fabulous bible-based teaching… but never actually touch people, never release them into ministry and never truly reshape the world by letting God work through you.
I could never ever have survived this without His hand on my life. Never ever. I’d die without Him, which is what makes it so hard being apart from Him. This whole process would have been easier had I never known Him intimately like I did as a young boy. But had I not known His goodness, I could not have wanted that for other people and I would not have persisted.
If He says it will be very hard… it’s going to be very hard.
He will always be there to limit what the enemy can do, but the enemy might make a mockery of your faith and what you believe.
In the beginning it was wonderful, a honeymoon. In the middle it’s hard yakka. In the end, it will finish with a wedding feast and He will wipe away every tear.
Along the way the bible repeatedly says to “stand” and to “resist” and that we will face difficulties. Like the child I am, I didn’t want to hear that. Paul was stoned (and resurrected… and then went right back in to that same town!). Jesus was crucified (and He said to walk like He did). All the apostles died (we suspect). THings weren’t easy for Joseph after he found out his destiny! Abraham. Moses. David. All had hard times.
Sometimes you can’t stand, you can’t resist. That’s ok. He ultimately is the One who places Job-like limits on what happens to you. Trust Him.
Learning to trust Him is like learning to breathe underwater (if you could breathe underwater that is). Someone holds you down under, you hold your breath, you panic, you struggle.. you thresh about, you freak out… in those last moment your body reflexively gasps for air, and you find you can breathe. You begin to breathe again. Easily. Freely. That’s what learning to trust God is like. We simply don’t know how to do it, but when we have no other choice, we do it freely and easily.
He’s not insecure. He’s not going to walk away, no matter how angry or childish or jealous of other “happy” Christians you are. He didn’t abandon David as he wrote more or less 47 melancholic psalms. He won’t abandon you either.
Let me say it again – He will never let you go, no matter how you feel, no matter how angry you are, no matter what. He will never let you go EVEN if you let Him go or push Him away.
What I’ve learned about the bible
Jesus didn’t have a bible or access to the scrolls that were locked up in the temple. Think about it.
The disciples also didn’t have a bible and didn’t have iPods with worship tunes on them… what they had was their faith in Jesus, the Person. They met every day and encouraged one another, told stories and sang songs.
Our faith must not be in the bible, it’s to be place in Jesus… the Person. And faith is only one part – we need two other parts too: love and hope.
We must read the bible to understand Jesus. Read the bible to hear different descriptions of Him that God has written through different anointed authors. The bible is His words to lead you to Jesus.
Do not place your faith in scripture, Jesus specifically warned people against that, simply place your faith in Jesus. Believe in Him.
Don’t presume you know what the bible is saying. Hold the scriptures lightly. The level of clarity between the KJV (they have wrong translation of certain words) and the far better AMP (with it’s clarity of the meaning of Hebrew and Greek in contaxt) helps us to see more and more clearly what Jesus did and what He said and who He is. Understanding Him is a revelational thing over eons of time.
Don’t presume that you have the exact revelation, even if you heard it directly from God. Many many people hear directly from God, more than I ever thought possible, but we all hear in part. That’s why we’re a body with different parts.
Being clothed in salvation is good, being clothed in robes of righteousness is the must-have accessory for this century.
What I have learned about the church
People need love and support as much as they need food and water. Babies die if they are not cuddled. Adults die on the inside if they don’t receive love and support. Have less teaching, have more community-time.
If people come to your church, be genuine with them and make time to help them. Put down your reports and pick up your diary and make time for them. If your three sermons have left you too tired to love someone, your focus is entirely in the wrong spot.
God’s children matter a LOT to Him. Hire lots of pastors (by gifiting) and set them free to pastor your people back to health. That’s what Moses did!
Religion and teaching is listed way down the giftings for good reason, because it’s pharasaical and just not that important. What is important is living as Jesus did. What is important is loving each other.
What I’ve learned about prophecy
“The church is a non-prophet organization”. I heard that recently. I think it’s funny. hehehe.
But seriously, most people that we look at and say “oooo, he/she’s prophetic” are not actual prophets. Hearing God’s voice is not the sign of a prophet. The people who hear God’s voice are usually extremely messed up. God is simply speaking to that person to get them through a tough tough life. While they are in that very tough stage – that is NOT the right time to ask them about God, about life or for prophecy.
BUT. They MIGHT recover and then go on to BECOME a prophet, that depends on how far they want to go with Him, whether they will let Him change them.
The parable of the sowing of the seed is a good explanation of why so many people don’t get into the Kingdom: cares of this world, fears, money concerns etc. They all stop us getting into the Kingdom. Check out the parable.
There’s no shortage of prophets who will tell you what you’ve done wrong to get God upset. (Think: Job’s friends). There’s a real shortage of prophets who will go to God on your behalf to find out how to get right with Him and to establish peace and growth in each other’s lives. Words vs useful and helpful actions.
Prophets and leaders must experience pain – it’s how they are forged to understand the needs in society. If they can’t understand people’s needs, then they can’t truly have compassion and therefore they cannot lead.
Many are called but very few go on to actually BE a officed Prophet (let alone a mantled one) or a leader or an apostle. The calling doesn’t result in choosing simply because the person didn’t recover from the damage and didn’t prize love enough so they couldn’t be released into their role.
Being a Jeremiah who represents God to mankind is good… lots of people want to do that. Judgement is very a fufilling feeling – like we’ve done a good job. We stick out the index finger and identify sin or evil. Yeeaaahhh for once I’m behind the finger, not in front of it.
But did we love the person? Did we really understand their predicament? Did we prepare the way for the “word”? Did we help them AFTER they received a difficult word? Did we first establish a relationship with them, gain their respect and trust SO THAT they will trust our words?
How many people will be a Moses and represent the people before God (represent our foibles, our limitations, our needs, our stupidity, our blindness) and ask Him to have kindness and mercy and help us to get through? Be a Moses!
I know that many many people identify themselves as apostles and say we’re in the apostolic age, but when I look around me, all I see are budding prophets. I think we have yet to see what God has planned.
What I’ve learned about healing
God can heal instantly, but quite often what He doesn’t do in a power event, He does as a process. The only difference is that the person who goes through the process has more compassion and is able to lead other through the process. Event-experiencing people expect more and more events to quick solve the problems in other people.
I must learn to look after myself, learn to receive love and give love, learn to figure out who to let in and who to block, learning to have boundaries and generally just building an EGO to help protect me.
And don’t forget, to have fun. Fun comes from the ID, the raw emotions inside us. What I did in Dahab – spontaneous fun.
The key thing is to understand is: balance
We somehow think it’s about scripture. It’s not. It’s about these three things: faith, hope and love. That’s it! That’s all it’s about. Nothing more, and to take just one (faith) is to set yourself up for serious problems in life.
- Faith – put your faith in Jesus Christ and what He can do for you (and not in stuff written about Him),
- Hope – hope for what He can do, hope that things can get better, want it, ask for it,
- Love – this is the greatest of the three. It’s what the judgement is all about. Did we love?
Love has many aspects: love for yourself (self-care), self-less love for others and love for God… to whatever capacity you are able to (and not more, that’s just faking it)
I hope this has provoked some thought. I’d love to hear them. Leave your comments.