Doctrines of Devils
Whenever we take on a "spiritual" work, we can expect opposition. Sometimes in comes from "outside", attacks or distractions from friends, family members, or people that just rub you the wrong way, but more than often, it is an "inside" attack, one that preys on the weaknesses of our flesh, exposing fears, doubts or confusion. Since the Lord places a "hedge of protection" around us, the enemy can do no more than complain, just as he did with Job, and move in areas to undermine our faith in God and in what He (God) is doing in and through us.
Over the last number of months, I have struggled with the responsibilities given to me, namely this newsletter, and the corresponding "paper" version I mail out. When this list started almost two (2) years ago, I was thrilled when the first 10 or so responded to my attempt to share my experiences and what I believed the Holy Spirit was saying. As the list started to grow, I looked forward to corresponding with everyone as often as I could and felt ready for the challenge. In this second year, the list has grown about five (5) fold from where I thought it would settle and has become overwhelming at times. Not due so much to the size, but by the pure nature of the requests, problems and wisdom people are seeking, wanting to know God more intimately and believing somehow we can help in this process. A number of years ago, if you had asked me if I wanted a ministry that affected people all over the globe, I would have jumped at the chance. Now, the idea of having anyone anywhere wanting to hear what I have to say at times frightens me. The very thing I wanted most, is now the very thing I shy away from.
I'm sharing this personal struggle because it is where I live. The insecurity is part of the process, test, trial and also attack of the enemy for me. I find strength in the prayers and support of others, but more importantly, knowing that the Lord is faithful to complete the work He has started in me. Some of you reading this message are having many of the same struggles, as God moves on your heart to "step out" into the deep water and touch the lives of those around you. The "ministry" is far more than that contained within the walls of the church building. It is about making a difference in the lives of those around us, starting with our own families, walking in the light, truth and integrity of the word of God and moving into those areas as we are led by the Holy Spirit. This type of "ministry" will become more critical year by year, as the world moves into more and more darkness.
ATTACK ON THE WORD OF GOD
Over the last several months, I have noticed what I would call a renewed attack on the integrity of the word of God through various aspects of society. The one that concerns me the most is the push to be more "spiritual". Christians are embracing "spirituality" without regard to the source, somehow believing that merely being aware or practicing "spiritual" methods make them more Godly. The chase for "spiritual" growth is fueled by pride and a desire to take shortcuts through the Kingdom of God. The root behind this movement is nothing more than the "spirit of witchcraft".
"Witchcraft" can be simply defined as using any spiritual gift to manipulate, change, influence or otherwise control the outcome of a particular situation. "Prophetic" types are especially susceptible to the influence of the "spirit of witchcraft" due to the temptation to take shortcuts. None of us want to suffer any loss or go through any persecution, but more than that, we don't want to wait for our "season", our time to move into the things of God. We feel we are ready now, no need for training, discipleship, study, prayer. God has called us and we're ready to go! This is a stumbling block laid at the feet of anyone wanting the serve God. This "spirit" of influence is growing rapidly and affecting or possibly cutting off prematurely, many would-be ministries in the Body of Christ.
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron". (1 Timothy 4:1-2; NASB)
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; ..." (2 Peter 2:1-3; NASB)
There is also a growing number of heresies being promoted by those claiming to be Christians. Two (2) recent stories told of an ordained minister in a mainline denomination that is actively marrying partners of the same sex, saying that the church must change and adapt to the times and a Bishop, who in his recent book, states that the church needs to discard the belief that God was actually incarnate (Jesus) and also needs to adapt to the times to reach more people. Both of these examples lead to an obvious attack on the word of God. The enemy's strategy is to insert enough doubt, get you to question what you know is the will of God, so that he can insert the lie. Satan recycles the same lie told to Adam and Eve, "Indeed, has God said, ..?" (Gen 3:1).
Howard Pittman, a man I believe to be a true prophet of God, wrote in his book "Placebo", that Satan's plan in this day, is to "make the good things look bad, and the bad things look good". I had a chance the meet Brother Pittman and hear him speak twice and his message was very simple -- the enemy wants us to doubt God! The plan seems to be working, doesn't it? Trusting anyone, even those who say they are Christians, even those who are in the ministry, is becoming more and more difficult. Who do you believe? Who can you trust?
THE APPROVED ONES
"But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you." (I Cor. 11:17-19; NASB)
In his letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul scolded the believers for being factious, yet he also mentioned that this MUST happen "in order that those who are approved may be evident among you". God at times will allow these types of attacks to come into the church so that those "who are approved" would be evident, easy to see and find. The darker it gets, the brighter the light looks! As darkness, false teaching, doctrines of demons and attacks on the word of God increase, even within His church, the light will shine on the "approved ones", so that all of us will be able to clearly see whom God is using and who He is speaking through.
Now is the time to "press in" and draw closer to the Lord to understand from Him what He wants from each of us. Be aware of the plan of the enemy, as "we are not ignorant of his devices". Take nothing for granted and trust only those who are "approved", where the life and integrity of God is "evident" and shines plainly!
Willie Jefferson, 6/22/98
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