Transition: Are We There Yet?

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I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Exekiel 34:26

The wife of one of my long-ago pastors told a story about her rude and cranky neighbor. After a run-in with this neighbor, she reported being shocked at what had poured out of her mouth, finishing up her story with these wise words: You don’t know what is in your bucket until someone kicks it over.

Transition is good at bucket kicking. That in-between stage of “one foot in what will be and the other stuck in what was” is a stressful place. Uncertainty, impatience and anxiety spills out of our inside bucket, sometimes in a flood; sometimes in a trickle, but out it comes during times of big change.

My mother passed away in September 2017. Being without a parent has been a difficult emotional transition for me. There is no way to describe it except to say it is a very odd and disconnected feeling.

Settling my mother’s estate has been a long and challenging process, requiring me to meet and interact with relatives, lawyers, stockbrokers, real estate agents, estate sales managers, auction house movers and so on. Then, when her house sold, the closing date kept shifting around. I felt like I was chasing a broken egg across the kitchen floor. All my prayer appointments became maybes. (Thank you to all those I pray with for their patient understanding). My settled, predictable life became very unsettled.

When my mother’s house finally closed, I grieved it, unexpectedly. I had no idea what that house meant to me until I walked through it one last time. This was the house where I had visited my mother for 30 years. The house she loved. The house she died in.

So what did Sam and I do in the midst of this life transition? We bought a house! A big beautiful, sadly neglected house that we could in no way afford unless it had been sadly neglected. And guess what? That closing date is shifting around! AND the sellers are in bankruptcy, which was NOT disclosed at the time we made our offer. So, we don’t know for sure when we will be moving or even if we will be moving. And there is an enormous amount of expensive work to do on our new house. What were we thinking?!?

So here I am suspended in transition, painting the windows of our current house, getting it ready to go on market. And like a tired cranky child riding in the backseat on a too-long road trip, I’m asking the Lord: Are we there yet?

Here is how I’m handling TOO MUCH transition. Heads up: it’s not pretty.

  1. Panda Fun got my take-out order wrong. I cried.
  2. Sam stepped in front of me to use the sink while I was cooking, I bit his head off. (Not as tasty as Panda Fun).
  3. I’m spending too much time on Facebook.
  4. I’m restless, unfocused and sleeping poorly.
  5. I’m worrying about the new house. Did we follow the Lord? Have we made a mistake? What were we thinking?!?
  6. I even caught myself watching a mental movie of the previous day’s social interactions while the devil provided a nasty commentary. I haven’t succumbed to that kind of self-hating nonsense in years.

What’s going on besides transition?

  1. The Devil. The enemy requires negative emotional energy (the dark stuff) in order to have any kind of power. He sees transition as an opportunity to amplify any fear of the new and unknown. Fear is negative emotional energy.
  2. Unresolved Historical Pain. Past issues stored in your bucket (the heart) surface during times of anxiety. That unresolved emotional pain mixes with, flavors and amplifies any present-day uncertainty.
  3. The Fall. We live in a fallen world. This means that we are surrounded by fallen people acting in fallen ways. They are afraid and uncertain, too. We feel their distress and add it to ours. Ugh.

Help! Is there help with transition?

  1. In the midst of my distress, the Lord posed a question. He said: “If you were in heaven and I gave you a challenge, like the one you are facing with your new sadly neglected house, would you be afraid?” I answered, “No. I would not be afraid because I would have all the resources of heaven to call upon to help me.” The Lord responded: “You have all the resources of heaven now. It just doesn’t feel like it because you are in the Fall.” I remind myself of this when I’m scared.
  2. It has helped to read the books of Proverbs and Psalms.
  3. Worship is helpful.
  4. If you have unresolved historical pain, work on it. If not, but the enemy is trying to take you back to resolved pain (what was happening to me), recognize what is going on and tell him to get lost.
  5. Sending my angels to bring in the help I need to accomplish the task at hand.
  6. Reciting the Lord’s attributes in my mind (so that I don’t give in to worry). He is kind; He is willing to help me; He is eager to guide and advise me; He wants to share His wisdom with me and so on.
  7. Remembering to be kind to myself, being my own best friend, the friend I always wished for has been helpful.

Let us pray together as we grow together, that our buckets will contain less and less of the nasty stuff and more and more of the good stuff. Because, while we are in this fallen world, our buckets will get kicked.

This time of big transition has been emotionally upsetting AND beautifully humbling. Any notion that I was a spiritual big shot full of faith and confidence is long gone. I still need a savior. And I have learned that when the challenge is big enough, what is in my bucket is going to spill out.

I bless your journey wherever you may be.

Hugs,
Susan
thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555
(Leave a message when you call).

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Prayers We All Pray (That Never Get Answered)

 

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in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

So, your neighbor has once again delayed mowing his grass until the dandelions have gone to seed. Your teen just used up all the hot water taking another hour-long shower. Your spouse doesn’t appreciate you. And the dog ate your new couch. Sunday’s sermon was about loving your neighbor, but you’re just not feeling it. What to do?

You try praying to see the situation from God’s perspective. “Lord, let me see with Your eyes.” The next thing you know, you’re yelling at your family and looking into rehoming the dog. So much for God’s perspective.

How about the sermon instructing you to have God’s heart for the lost? You pray: “Lord, give me Your heart for people.” That works until someone shoves their overloaded grocery cart in front of you in the express lane. Or a store clerk is rude. Or someone jumps you about your political views. Next thing you know you are thinking everyone needs to go to hell! So much for God’s heart.

Why doesn’t God answer when we ask for His eyes and His heart? He doesn’t answer because you and I are not capable of seeing or loving the way God does. If we saw everything the way God sees it, our heads would explode. If we loved people the way God loves, our hearts would stop. We simply do not have His capacity. So these kinds of prayers go unanswered, leaving us frustrated with ourselves and, if we are honest, with God.

So what do we do when we desperately need His help navigating challenging situations and loving people? A small adjustment to your prayers will make a huge difference.

Instead of praying for God’s perspective, pray like this: Lord, help me see that person or situation the way You want me to see it.

Instead of praying for God’s heart, pray like this: Lord, help me love others the way You want me to love them.

You and I cannot see or love the same way God does because we are finite and lack His capacity. But we can ask Him to adjust our perception and our love for others appropriately, according to our capacity and according to His will. These prayers do get answered.

Hugs and prayers for you,
Susan
thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

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Angels and Housework

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Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14

For six days, the Lord created the heavens and the earth and all that’s in them. Then He rested. I know that most Bible teachings focus on that rest day – how and when and what’s too much and what’s too little and do we still have to observe an official Sabbath day or is that the law … yada yada yada. (You should google it. All the controversy will make your head spin).

I personally believe that the Old Testament day of rest is a little picture of the true rest that we find in Christ. In other words, we don’t have to worry about breaking the rules when we don’t rest on Sunday – or Saturday, as the case may be – from sun up to sun down. We can pick another day to relax because our rest is not in a natural day, it is in the person of Jesus Christ who has delivered us from all our desperate struggles to make ourselves pleasing to God. In Jesus and His completed work, we rest.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

So enough said about that because I want to look at the other days. The six days that God worked. If we are to rest one day, doesn’t that mean that we are supposed to work six days?

Have you ever thought about the fact that no natural creature, except humans, intentionally and unnecessarily works? They gather food and do what else is absolutely necessary for survival. Only the image of God (that’s us) is enough like God to work with some other goal in mind. Humans commonly get together in order to solve a problem or improve something. Let’s say they decide that the traffic traveling from Point A to Point B is heavy enough to warrant the construction of a new bridge north of the old bridge. So, they hire consultants and engineers who draw up plans and hire staff to construct a new bridge. Only people do that kind of thing.

So, when you work, no matter what kind of work it is – washing dishes, emptying the litter box, bagging groceries or removing gall bladders – you are behaving like the image of God. This means that work – all work from low to high – is holy.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord … Colossians 3:23

So, what does all that have to do with angels and housework? In September 2017 my mother passed away. The task of preparing her home to be sold had fallen to me. The day before, an auction company had carted off all of her remaining possessions, leaving me with a few cleaning supplies in an otherwise empty house. I don’t live in the same city, so when I discovered that the large vent covers of her HVAC unit needed to be taken off for a serious cleaning, I didn’t know what to do. The only tool in the house was a paint scraper.

I had already spent days going through her things, arranging for most to be sold; others to be set aside for family members. I had scraped up paint splatters, scrubbed bathrooms and windows, cleaned out the refrigerator and the fire place. I was weary and sad and overwhelmed. I missed my family. I was waiting for the real estate agent to come by. Then I was going home. I didn’t want to drive to the store to buy a screw driver.

So, I asked my angels a question: Are you guys able to help me clean these HVAC vents? Next thing I know, I have used the paint scraper to remove the screws holding the vents. I then washed, dried and reinstalled the big heavy things as if I were an expert at home maintenance (I am so not an expert). Looking at the sparkling clean vents, I wondered. Hmmm? What other ordinary tasks could the angels help with?

Housework is not my favorite thing. I like a clean house but making it clean isn’t fun to me. I remind myself as I scoop the litter box and wash the dishes, that all work is holy, but still … housework is not my thing. So, Sam and I were scheduled to host our small group which meant cleaning the house. Wondering if my angels could help me with the housework, I told them, “Angels. If you are able, help me clean this house.”

The next thing I know, worship music is belting out from my iPad and I am sitting on the floor hand-vacuuming the rug. Let me just say that, as a rule, I don’t voluntarily hand vacuum rugs. But here I was happily vacuuming away. I had been cleaning for hours! And I was full of energy. At 8 p.m. I finally thought to tell my angels they could stop helping me!

Curious to learn if enlisting angel-help for ordinary tasks would work for others, I passed this information to my buddy, Janie. Janie is getting her house ready to sell, so she wondered if her angels would help her paint a bedroom. Keep in mind that Janie is well into her sixties and a widow living alone. Janie reported that the room was painted in record time!

All of us face tasks that are too hard, high pressure or just boring and repetitive. But what if the angels want to give us a hand with our work? Wouldn’t that help to make work the joy that it is meant to be?

I invite you to try this, keeping in mind that work is holy. There is no honest work that is dishonorable. Not if Jesus can dress himself as the lowliest slave and wash dirty feet without losing His identity or self-respect. So enlisting the aid of your angels to accomplish your tasks in no way dishonors them.

Just keep in mind that angels are servants and soldiers. Servants and soldiers do not take initiative. They take orders. That means that you must tell themwhat you want them to do. If you want them to help you with your housework or yard work, tell them to help you. If you want them to help you complete your paperwork or homework, tell them.

I don’t understand how spiritual beings such as angels are able to help us with natural tasks, but they are and they’re very good at it. If you decide to lighten your load by employing your angels, would you take a minute to shoot me an email about it? You might have discovered something angels are able to help with that I haven’t thought to try.

the Lord your God will bless you … in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. Deuteronomy 16:15

Hugs and blessings,

Susan
thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

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Breaking the Drought

The Anti-Holy Spirit Spirit

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Rain upon us, Holy Spirit!

Recently Sam and I visited a small fellowship that was trying to establish itself in a nearby needy neighborhood. We arrived early and as we waited for everyone else to arrive, both of us noticed that the spiritual atmosphere was extremely heavy and slow, like sitting inside a waterfall of thick syrup. We felt so weary we wanted to go home and sleep the sleep of the dead. Exchanging glances, we quietly slipped out. No way was the Holy Spirit going to move in that atmosphere. And we really didn’t want to sit in it.

What was going on? We were discerning the presence of an empowered evil being. This wasn’t our first encounter with this particular creature, although its presence isn’t usually so obvious. It is a commonly found strongman in churches and in the lives of some people.

The Lord had begun to teach me about this particular evil spirit many years ago. I had spent the day interceding for someone who had deeply hurt me. Not because I’m especially good at loving my enemies (I’m not), but because he had been in a horrific car accident and was barely hanging onto life. Church members had called me, begging me to pray for him. So I went to the hospital and spent hours and hours walking the corridors and praying in tongues on his behalf. (He did make it and is doing well).

After returning to my home, I crawled into bed only to begin to be rocked violently back and forth. Suddenly, I was out of my body, flying around my small city. I landed on the roof of the hospital where I had been praying at which point I panicked and was immediately returned to my body.

As I lay there marveling at the experience, a very large upright snake came though my bedroom door, stopped by my side and stared down at me. Still stunned by my out-of-body flight, I demanded the creature tell me its name (I wouldn’t do that now). It replied that it was Leviathan. I then told it that it wasn’t allowed in my bedroom and commanded my angels to beat the thing. As I watched them whacking it with swords, everything slowed down to a crawl and the angels moved as if they were swinging their swords in peanut butter.

I described my experience to a respected prophet who warned me that evil spirits lie, so in all likelihood it wasn’t Leviathan. From the way it affected my perception of time and motion, he suspected it was a spirit called Python. Having no idea what to do with that information or my experience, I put it away.

Then a few years back the Lord again brought up the subject of this evil spirit. He instructed me to visit a local church that is part of a well-established charismatic Pentecostal denomination. When worship started the atmosphere was light. Heaven felt near; the people were joyful, then something shifted. A heaviness fell on the congregation. They slumped in their pews and their faces became sorrowful. As I observed this sudden shift, I discerned a very large snake slithering through the congregation. As it slid by me the Lord spoke, saying that “it” was making its Sunday rounds through all the local churches.

How?!! What?!! Why?!! Why was this thing able to do this??!! I needed to know. Thus, began my search for the answer to why our churches are oppressed to the point that spiritual freedom in worship and the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit is almost extinct.

At the request of the Lord, I contacted the pastors of the new fellowship we had visited and they agreed to meet with Sam and me to discuss how activity in the spirit realm was affecting their gathering. During our meeting they explained that they had given up on developing a fellowship at that location. It was too hard. The people too weary. They had turned their attention to an area outside of the county, equally needy, but suffering more from simple ignorance than empowered spiritual opposition.

I am going somewhere important in this next section, and I beg you not to get in a huff and stop reading.

These pastors are what is called “Spirit-filled.” That is after being born-again (receiving Christ as Lord and Savior) they had an additional experience with the Lord during which He baptized (immersed) them into the Holy Spirit. This is what I mean by Spirit-filled. They had emerged from this experience speaking in tongues. They became deeply aware of and connected with the supernatural. They began having spiritual dreams, visions and encounters. From this immersion into the supernatural they began to develop a profound experiential relationship with God. They didn’t just feel warm and fuzzy occasionally. They didn’t just have the occasional prayer answered. They knew by frequent experience that God was real and interested in them. They lived in the spiritual realm. And it is because of exactly this that the evil spirit targeted their little fellowship, smothering it before it came to life.

And that brings us back to the question of why. Why is this thing able to do this? What is empowering it and how do we counter it?

A Masquerade

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12

This spirit masquerades as the Holy Spirit. That is why I call it the anti-Holy Spirit spirit. It deceives by hiding behind what seems to be good. For example, Paul and Silas encountered just such a spirit living within a fortune-telling slave girl. They were in Philippi when she began following them, shouting out “These men are servants of the Most High God and are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” (See Acts 16). Sounds good, right? It wasn’t. Although the word was accurate, the source was wrong.

Now think about it. Here was free advertising for the gospel. Paul might have been rapidly promoted to a place of prominence in that city and reached a lot of people quickly. Isn’t that what he wanted? What the Lord wanted? Paul cast out of the girl the spirit behind the words. And in doing so, proclaimed that the devil doesn’t get to be a fake Holy Spirit, no matter the perceived benefit.

I have seen ministries rise very rapidly into preeminence, then fall even more quickly into disgrace. It makes me wonder just what spirit is behind such meteoric rises that result in such disastrous falls. Many Christians are not as wise as Paul. They are deceived when the enemy offers them a benefit that looks good and may even seem godly. When they go for the bait, they always lose what is really important.

Big Lies That Opened the Door to the Masquerader

Going Along to Get Along
In the late 70s and early 80s pastor groups began to form across America. These groups were spearheaded by Spirit-filled leaders who were seeking to form alliances. Unity was their goal and that’s a good one. But unity cannot be achieved by human effort. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit and by His direction can we hope to achieve godly unity.

These leaders were soon approached by pastors of churches that had rejected the filling of the Holy Spirit, (claiming they received all there was to receive when they accepted Christ). They did not speak in tongues, nor did they want too. They avoided the spiritual realm and questioned the possibility of a supernatural relationship with God. All well and good, because most simply didn’t know any better.

But for those who did know better, God expected them to share ALL the truth and not cave in to peer pressure. You cannot diminish the truth and expect good things to happen, because the Holy Spirit IS the Spirit of Truth.

But instead, those who knew better agreed to “park their lesser theologies” at the door in order to embrace a form of unity, which is at best only conformity. They dishonored the Holy Spirit by jettisoning any expression or experience that caused disagreement. All for the sake of getting along.

Today, in my city and all across America, most church leaders belong to a pastoral unity group. AND most churches are pretty much carbon copies of one another. The worship is short, to the point, and barely gets off the ground. The congregation is tired, discouraged and spiritually hungry. The messages are mostly about being a good person and serving others. There is little to no expectation that the Holy Spirit will show up and show off at any of these meetings.

And so, we have become one with each other, but only if uniformity is unity. We are not one with the Spirit, which is the precursor to true unity, because the Spirit has been made unwelcome. After all, He might expect us to dance as David danced in total humility before the ark. He might expect us to prophesy or surrender our tongues by speaking in tongues. He might require that we abandon our comfort zones in order to fully embrace Him.

… holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 2 Timothy 3:5

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:6

Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues … 1 Corinthians 14:5

A Compromised Truth
At about the same time that church leaders were parking at the door their “lesser theologies” in exchange for human unity, C. Peter Wagner published a book called Finding Your Spiritual Gifts. It became a best seller. Wagner, himself a Spirit-filled believer, wrote the book in an effort to make tongues more acceptable to the traditional church establishment and, thus, produce greater unity between the charismatic and the non-charismatic.

Wagner took four lists found in the New Testament (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Peter 4:9-11; Ephesians 4:11) and lumped them together, claiming that everyone had one gift from the pile. This meant any manifestation of the Holy Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 was no longer the choice of the Holy Spirit at a particular time during a gathering of believers. It was a gift that belonged to an individual.

So let’s say that I didn’t particularly like public speaking. Now, thanks to Mr. Wagner’s book, I didn’t have to obey the Holy Spirit if and when He expected me to prophesy because I could claim that prophesying wasn’t my gift! I could pick another gift off the list – say hospitality – because I was more comfortable with that one. So now, obeying the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues or prophesying has become optional.

Comfort Above Submission
Perhaps the greatest lie that opens the door to the anti-Holy Spirit spirit is when we choose our personal comfort over obedience to the Lord. Remember that this particular spirit is a fake Holy Spirit that deceives by mimicking the Holy Spirit. So it offers false comfort and false rest by helping us to never embrace change or ever question the status quo. It makes the struggle seem too hard. Essentially, it puts believers into a trancelike sleep that never refreshes.

The Drought

When the leaders of the church embraced a unity that compromised the truth about the Holy Spirit and when they embraced Wagner’s ill-conceived teaching about spiritual gifts, they opened the door to a corporate manifestation of this anti-Holy Spirit spirit. This wicked spirit seeps into all the spaces left by the absence of the Holy Spirit. It makes us comfortable in the mire of our unbelief and disobedience. It keeps us “safe” from a Holy Spirit that might embarrass or challenge us by expecting us to embrace a supernatural existence. It puts us to sleep and drains our life so that we won’t have the energy to pursue spiritual truth. AND we have given it permission to do so, because we are afraid that the Holy Spirit might manifest His presence through us in ways that make us look foolish in the eyes of the world.

So to answer the question of what is empowering this evil entity … we are empowering it with our fear of the Holy Spirit and our concern about how we look in the eyes of the world; that is, our pride.

Should we marvel at the spiritual drought in the Church? We want signs and wonders, but we don’t want the Holy Spirit to move with freedom in and through us. We tell Him how He is allowed, and not allowed, to manifest. Then we bemoan the fact that there is no manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings or in our lives. When someone tries to raise up a work of the Lord – someone dedicated to maintaining the truth of the Holy Spirit in all its scary glory – the anti-Holy Spirit spirit wipes them out and we are glad, because we don’t want that kind of thing in our community. It’s embarrassing.

Because we believe that anything is better than the horror of being embarrassed, we are giving these evil beings our tacit permission to destroy nascent works of God. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless … it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:34-35

What to Do

The first step is to recognize when this spirit is moving. Usually the atmosphere feels thick, heavy and sad when this spirit manifests. Pay attention to how the atmosphere feels particularly during worship and ministry. It is easiest to discern the atmosphere during corporate worship. Notice if it is light or heavy. Does it shift from one to the other? Is the Spirit of God allowed to move in worship as long as He wishes? Or is it highly controlled?

When in ministry or prayer, this spirit makes you feel like the situation is hopeless, too hard or too exhausting. It feels easier to give up, play a game or take a nap.

While you are working on learning to identify this spirit, ask the Lord what you have done (knowingly or unknowingly) that empowers it. Repent for yourself and for your ancestors as a representative of your family line. You don’t need all the details. Just repent for anything you and your people have done that empowers this spirit.

Then ask the Lord to open up heaven over you and around you. Just you, not your church or your region. Remember that this spirit is empowered because people have chosen what it offers over what the Holy Spirit offers. So don’t go trying to pull the entity down. It won’t work. I know. Instead ask the Lord to establish a zone around you that is safe from any intrusion by the anti-Holy Spirit spirit. Then pray that He will expand that safe zone as you follow Him. When you feel the effects of the anti-Holy Spirit spirit in the atmosphere, remind it that it is not allowed to interfere with you, then command your angels to punish it.

It is my prayer as more of us turn away from our fear and pride, becoming willing to be fools in the eyes of the world as we embrace the fullness of the Holy Spirit that these open heavens will grow and merge together until the rain of God once again falls upon His church.

Be blessed. I write this to you in love,

Susan
thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

The following links take you to teachings that will answer your questions about the Holy Spirit. Just copy and paste the link into your search bar.

If you want someone to pray with you to receive the Holy Spirit, call the ministry at 205.556.4555. Ask for Sam or me.

http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/life/events/words-life-or-death/session/2012/06/09/receiving-the-holy-spirit

http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/life/events/words-life-or-death/session/2012/06/02/the-pure-language

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Spiritual Challenge in the USA

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Do not let the world pull you into fear. Stay in joy!

Written 2/15/2018

I wish I had shared this with you before the recent shooting in Florida. Here it is now. Please pray as the Lord leads you.

The Lord has been talking with me about three high-level evil spirits that have recently been super empowered to do great harm here in America.

Here they are:
1. The spirit of unexpected, sudden, premature death. (Usually violent).
2. The spirit of extreme division (Remove a person or group of persons at any cost – violently if necessary – and everything will be ok).
3. The spirit of obfuscation. (Intentionally obscuring and making unintelligible the truth. This goes beyond confusion. It makes the truth incomprehensible).

Whenever a group of people agree that certain evil actions are necessary to protect themselves AND when that group of people is willing to do whatever it takes to keep themselves safe, these kinds of high-level spirits become empowered to do great harm.

My intercessors think that this empowerment is coming out of Washington D.C. (and possibly Hollywood) as people scramble to escape the consequences of their actions.

Our first strategy to counter this evil spiritual activity is basic repentance. Pray like this:

Father God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, I repent for myself and my ancestors for ever cooperating with, agreeing with or empowering the above spirits, knowingly or unknowingly. Forgive us for ever being willing to do anything, no matter what it is or who it harms, to hide our actions and escape the consequences of our actions. Please forgive us. In Jesus’ name I ask this.

A second strategy appears to be this:
Offering the Lord childlike, joyous praise when asking Him to destroy the plots of these evil spirits.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

Stay in joy, dear ones.

Hugs,

Susan
thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

Please share so others can know to pray.

Trust and Transition

 

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Written January 2018

On September 10th, 2017, I drove my elderly mother through pounding rain to a busy emergency department. She had been scheduled to see a cardiologist on the following day, a Monday, but Hurricane Irma had just slammed into the coast of Florida. My mother’s Alabama city was flooded with refugees, and meteorologists warned that heavy rain and tornadoes were a strong possibility even as far north as Montgomery.

The night before, my mother had slept in her recliner because she couldn’t breathe lying down. I had paced the floor that night, asking the Lord what to do. Her doctor’s appointment had been cancelled. Everything was closing down. When morning arrived, I told her that we needed to go to the hospital emergency department. She rolled her eyes, but agreed.

Eight hours later she was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and admitted to cardiac intensive care. My brother and sister-in-law took over for me and I left to get some rest.

My mother’s home was eerily empty that night. I walked in circles, living room to den, around through the kitchen and dining room, back through the living room. As I wore a path into my mother’s flooring, I asked the Lord, “Why? Why am I so anxious? Why don’t I trust you?”

The days that followed were spent in a shadowed hospital room, watching my mother rally a bit, then slide into silence. My nights were spent alone, walking my path through her desolate house, knowing what was coming. Only a few days into my vigil, the Lord spoke to me, saying “You don’t think that I am kind.”

It’s funny how you know what the Lord means even when its days later that he answers your question. The reason I was struggling with trusting him through this transition was because I didn’t believe (in my heart) that he was kind.

My mother came home on Hospice. Two weeks after our trip through the pouring rain, she passed away. Looking back, I see just how kind the Lord was to her and to me, smoothing her passage into heaven in ways that meant the most to her. She was able to live out her very long life in her own home; she died quickly – all things considered – in her right mind, surrounded by her family. She left all of her financial affairs in order; her funeral arranged and paid for in advance, so that my brother and I had very little to do.

As the days passed, I found myself thinking about the Lord’s words to me. And I began to understand how trust grows. Trust grows in response to the consistent acts of kindness performed by the other person.

The Lord didn’t want me to be upset with myself because I struggled to trust him during that time of transition. He knows that I cannot grow trust by simply deciding to grow it; any more than I can grow sunflowers without first planting sunflower seeds.

No significant person was consistently kind to me during my childhood. As a result, trust was never produced within me. By the time I received the Lord, I was a completely unchurched young adult. When I became involved in a church, I was rigorously taught that I had to trust God. That God would reward my trust with the blessings that I desperately needed. Sort of like a system of exchange. I pay God for his blessings with trust. No trust. No blessing for me!

If you think about it, that kind of doctrine makes God look bad. I try to be kind to everyone all the time. They don’t have to pay me for it.

Now there is a time to choose to trust the Lord. To make the decision to believe his word; to walk his path. And that choice is crucial to our maturity. But there is a deeper trust. One that can only grow through relationship. That kind of trust makes us settle down in green pastures.

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest … Hebrews 4:11

So here is what I am learning. Kindness – God’s consistent acts of kindness towards me – is the seed that produces trust. I cannot grow it by myself. But I can participate in the process by asking him to make me aware of his kindnesses. In this dark world, it is so easy to focus on all the bad stuff. We need his help to see the good stuff he is doing for us.

(He) raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6-7

Blessings and hugs,
Susan

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The Sound of Cowbells

(Written January 1, 2018)

For the Lord is going to destroy Babylon, and He will make her loud noise vanish from her. Jeremiah 51:55

In his famous epic poem, Paradise Lost, 17th-century poet, John Milton, named the capital of hell Pandemonium. The word pandemonium means a wild uproar or a scene of unrestrained chaos and tumult. In Psalm 64, David beseeches the Lord to hide him “from the tumult of evil doers.” Tumult, according to Dictionary.com, means a “violent and noisy commotion caused by a crowd or mob.”

That we need to be hidden from tumult became clear to me while I was watching a football game between the University of Alabama and Mississippi State University. I’m not a huge football fan, but when you live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where college football reigns supreme it’s difficult (Ok. Impossible) to resist the tug of Roll Tide.

Inside their own stadium, Mississippi State has a tradition of ringing cowbells during games. Never was this tradition entered into with more determination than when they played against #1 Alabama. Mississippi State fans deliberately, and in unison, aimed those cowbells as a weapon against the Alabama team. Just imagine the noise in a stadium capable of seating over 60,000 people, half of whom are armed with cowbells. The resulting cacophony was deafening and deeply disturbing to my spirit.

But it’s just a football game and so what? Right? Except for this: Sound. Ephesians 2:2 names Satan “the prince of the power of the air.” Sound travels on air. Sound waves. What happens when humans join together to create a specific sound? When we worship together, in unison, we are joined by holy angels as we release life and blessing into the atmosphere.

So, what happens when we humans agree to make a weapon out of sound? Do demons join with us? I think they do.

Mississippi State was ranked #16 at the time of the game. (They were ranked #24 going into their bowl game yesterday). Alabama was #1 or 2 depending upon which poll you like. Alabama had injuries going into the game, but nonetheless they struggled in a way not seen before, gasping out a last-minute fourth-quarter victory. Today, Alabama will play Clemson to decide who will compete for the national championship.

Those were some powerful cowbells. As I considered the cowbells later that evening, the Lord directed me to repent of ever using sound as a weapon. He had me include using sound to manipulate, control, disturb or hurt. I obeyed and also repented on behalf of my ancestors. Then something extraordinary happened. As long as I can remember I have heard discordant noise, racket in my ears, even when it should have been quiet. The noise stopped after I prayed, and it has not returned.

In all likelihood you are like me. You have misused sound and you have ancestors who have done the same. Here is how I prayed:

Lord, I repent for ever misusing sound. I repent for myself and on behalf of my ancestors. Please forgive us. I ask that you remove any devices, objects or structures that have resulted because of the misuse of sound. Please cleanse and restore my ears as well as any part of me corrupted by the misuse of sound. Please cleanse and restore my tribal line as well. Teach me to use sound according to your will and your design. In Jesus name. Amen.

Blessings to you on this very first day of 2018!

Susan