The Image of God

I am exploring the different aspects of the image of God (that’s you) in short posts on Facebook. For those of you who are not on Facebook, or would like to read my observations together, here are the posts from October 28 – November 5, 2018.

 

October 28, 2018

Because you are made in the image of God, it is useful to look at the different aspects of God in order to better understand how you work. God is described in scripture as having a soul, a heart, a mind, a spirit and (in the case of the incarnated Christ) a body. (Leviticus 26:11 & Jeremiah 32:41; 1 Samuel 13: 14 & Acts 13:22; 1 Cor 2:16; Genesis 1:2).

So, because you are human, you also have these parts. Is that not the coolest thing ever? You are God’s mini me! Except for NOT being omniscient; omnipresent and omnipotent. lol Here are the scriptures: Matthew 22:37; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Romans 10:10.

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October 29, 2018

If humans are patterned after the image of God and if God has a soul and a spirit; a heart and a mind, then we have those components as well.

Many people have been taught that the soul and the spirit are the same, but they are not. Scripture is very clear that the soul and the spirit are distinct aspects of the human being. There are many scriptures supporting this. Here is one:

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

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October 30, 2018

In my last post I showed that the soul and the spirit are not the same. So now that we know that, let’s look at what the human spirit is.

“And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Revelation 4:5

“And I saw between the throne … a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God …” Revelation 5:6

These scriptures (as well as Revelation 3:1) state that the Holy Spirit is a seven-fold spirit.

Is the human spirit a seven-fold spirit? It must be if it’s made in the image of God.

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November 1, 2018

Your human spirit is amazing. It remembers everything that has happened to you (1 Corinthians 2:11) and it is capable of working with the Lord to search out all the parts of your innermost being (Proverbs 20:27).

This makes your spirit an excellent resource when seeking to resolve emotional issues buried in the past.

Unlike the soul, your spirit does not need to mature. It is created fully mature and complete at the time of conception. But your spirit does need to grow in wisdom.

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November 2, 2018

The human spirit is drawn from the infinite Spirit of God. Because of this, your spirit comprehends existing eternally.

The human soul does not automatically grasp the concept of eternity. This is because your soul is truly a new thing.

The soul comes into existence at the moment when God joins matter (earth) with His essence (spirit). This happens in the womb at the time of conception. Or in the case of Adam, when the Lord blew breath into him and Adam became a living “nephesh” or soul (Genesis 2:7).

What didn’t exist before – what could NOT exist before – was produced when spirit and matter were joined by God. This is the human soul.

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November 3, 2018

Let’s try again on the soul since my last post was met with bafflement lol. The soul is one aspect of the image of God. You are the image of God. Unlike the human spirit which comes directly from the Spirit of God, the soul is a new thing.

The soul comes into existence at the time of conception when God joins together spirit and matter. Because your soul did not exist in any way before this joining, your soul is a brand new, one-of-a-kind, creation!

Your soul faces many challenges. First of all, it comes into existence within the fallen world. This means the first emotion your soul feels is fear. Without intentional and direct intervention, your soul will rule your life from a position of fear.

The fear of being wrong, of being embarrassed, of making a mistake, of being rejected and abandoned imprisons most human souls. The soul’s many overwhelming fears affect its willingness to listen to your human spirit.

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November 5, 2018

The human spirit is drawn directly from God’s Spirit (Genesis 2:7). This means that your spirit understands eternal concepts and principles, BUT it is placed within the womb with NO knowledge of sin. Thus, your spirit must grow in wisdom in order to successfully navigate you through the fallen world.

A soul is an entirely new thing that comes into existence within the womb. This means the soul has no automatic understanding of the eternal. It only knows the pain and confusion of sin because the womb is a fallen place. The soul responds to this dark and fallen environment with fear.

Wise parents can disrupt the fear. But this happens only rarely, because all parents are fallen and most are ruled by their own fearful souls.

It’s not too late for you to disrupt the fear ruling your own soul though. Think of your soul as a traumatized child who desperately tries to make itself safe by controlling everything and everyone, who either hides or strikes out because of fear.

Your human soul needs compassionate nurture, training and discipline in order to successfully mature. A well-loved and gently disciplined soul will rest on the spirit as a weaned child rests upon its mother.

Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. Psalm 131:2

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The Pool Ministries Is On Facebook

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If you would like to follow me on Facebook, you can! I have begun sharing short, and pithy, teachings :] as well as my blog posts there. It’s a good place to have a conversation about what I post. Here is an example of what you can expect.

If humans are patterned after the image of God and if God has a soul and a spirit; a heart and a mind, then we have those components as well.

Many people have been taught that the soul and the spirit are the same, but they are not. Scripture is very clear that the soul and the spirit are distinct aspects of the human being. There are many scriptures supporting this. Here is one:

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Click the link here and you will be translated, I mean transported, to The Pool Ministries’ Facebook page.

Smiles and blessings to you all,
Susan

thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

(Leave a message when you call. So many spam calls these days, we don’t answer unless we recognize the number. So leave a message).

Please share if you found this helpful.

Transition: Arrived!

This is Part 3 of the series on transition.

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It’s been awhile since I have written because I have been happily nesting in our new home. And, yes, there is a crazy story about finally getting here because we are NOT in the sadly neglected house mentioned in the previous article about transition. So many lessons learned during this amazing (and amazingly stressful) transition that I can’t think of a single title that begins to cover them all.

It has been a year since my mother passed away and my transition into a life without a living parent began. During this year, I managed to survive settling her estate and moving into a much larger house to accommodate my adult son. Jay is intellectually challenged and really needs a space to call his own. Sam and I thought we had found a house that would suit all of us. It was a gorgeous old girl, but it needed lots and lots of expensive work.

Finding a house that would work for us all, that we could afford, wasn’t easy. So we felt really blessed when our bid was accepted. But then things started going crazy. The closing date kept being moved forward because, unbeknownst to us, the sellers were in bankruptcy. I grew more and more anxious as time rolled on until finally, after another night of tossing and turning, I completely disrupted our plans by calling our agent and asking if we could look at some other houses. It was the call she had been waiting for apparently, because she immediately canceled our pending contract (we got our earnest money back) and set up appointments to view other properties.

This all happened without Sam’s knowledge. He had gone birding (shorthand for bird watching) with some of his buddies, leaving me alone long enough to hear from God without interruption. (I live in a busy, noisy house. Even my two cats are noisy … and opinionated). As soon as I made the call to our agent, the peace of God came crashing back and resumed its rightful place. I had missed that peace.

So what was Sam’s reaction to my high-handedness, you ask? He was profoundly relieved one of us had made the call. Because, you see, he thought I had my heart set on that house AND I thought he had his heart set on that house. We wanted to please each other so much that we ignored our anxieties, forgetting that we are supposed to seek the peace of God … not satisfy the whims of our spouse.

Lesson Learned! Seek the peace of God, stupid! I mean really! How could we have forgotten that? It is so very basic. And if you are tempted to correct my confession, please don’t. Just don’t. Nothing is more stupid that a human doing their own thing. Let’s be honest about it. That is why we need the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Lesson Learned! God will yank you back from the ledge if you will show just a little bit of gumption. The day before I cancelled our contract on the grand old lady, I was overcome with the oddest sensation. I felt like a bride conflicted about her upcoming wedding. I really didn’t want to marry my fiancé, but didn’t feel like I could back out because of all the time and money invested in the ceremony. Plus, I couldn’t disappoint everyone or bear the embarrassment! I felt trapped!

God had nailed how I felt about marrying that old house. But I still had to make the call. I had to risk missing out on a wonderful house. I had to risk disappointing and upsetting Sam, Jay, the sellers and our real estate agent. I had to risk following God.

Lesson Learned! Following God is worth the risk. Two days later we found our house! It’s not perfect, because nothing is this side of heaven, but it is near perfect for our needs. The moment we walked through the door, all three of us felt the presence of God and his assurance that this was it! We moved in about three months ago and I have been busily nesting ever since. So fun!

But what if I hadn’t followed God? We would be spending our little bit of money putting on a roof instead of buying an awesome sofa. We would be having a HVAC unit installed instead of kitchen counters. God would be patiently walking us through the challenges of fixing up a sadly neglected house on a budget. In other words, we would be learning our lessons the hard way. And one day, down the road, we would face another risky decision that required us to choose between following God or following what had been set in motion.

Let me pray for you (then I’m going to paint my new – found it on the roadside – coffee table).

I pray that God will give you the gumption to follow Him, no matter the risk. And I pray that He will give you ears to hear clearly when He calls you to those kinds of decisions. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

And remember! Seek his peace!

Hugs and blessings to you all,
Susan

thepool@thepoolministries.org
205.556.4555

(Leave a message when you call. So many spam calls these days, we don’t answer unless we recognize the number. So leave a message).

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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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).

Please share this teaching if you found it helpful.

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

Please share this teaching.

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

Please share this teaching.

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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