Jan 18 2019

Spiritual Authorities

Do you know that there are other spiritual authorities besides God? Have you ever wondered why God’s very first commandment (Ex. 20:3) to the Israelites was to not follow other gods? God knew that the angels he kicked out of heaven were going to pretend to be gods (1 Cor. 10:20), and I tend to think that he established this rule so that we would not, knowingly or unknowingly, submit ourselves to demons and end up in bondage as a result. It’s important for everyone, and especially followers of Jesus, to understand that the spiritual realm is real, and that demonic forces are actively working to confuse and disrupt what God wants to do in our lives (Eph. 6:12). We have to be constantly on guard, and we have to be aware of the schemes of these forces so that we do not fall into their traps. I wrote about discernment in my last blog, because I have come to realize that if we don’t have the spiritual gift of discernment, we can easily end up in a situation where an unhealthy spiritual authority gains influence in our lives. And once that influence is established, it can distort what God is speaking to us, and keep us from fulfilling our purpose. Those we submit ourselves to have authority over our lives. This can be an overt action, such as submitting to a Godly leader, which is a good thing to do. And it can also be a situation where someone unknowingly submits to a demonic authority through their actions, such as participating with things that are not of God, and this can lead to deception that is difficult to identify. One of the major problems with deception is that, when you are deceived, you don’t know that you are deceived. You need someone in your life who can let you know that something may be wrong. I heard someone say once that we all need a Paul in our life who can let us know when we cross the line. This is incredibly important, and I am personally intentional about giving people with good discernment the permission to speak into my life and to let me know if I ever end up in one of these traps. Having a discerning spiritual authority in your life who can mentor you, point you in the right direction, and shift your perspective when needed, is an important and healthy practice. This is something we highly suggest everyone put into their lives, along with cultivating a great relationship with Holy Spirit so he can lead you into all truth and guide your steps. This can be a heavy topic, and it is sometimes easier to understand with a visual, so we created this chart to help you visualize how spiritual authorities can have positive or negative influences in your life; feel free to share it with others.


(click image to download PDF)

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Jan 4 2019

Discernment is so important

The more I minister to people, the more I realize that there is a major need for good spiritual discernment within the body of Christ. We need to know if something we encounter is good or evil, if it is part of God’s plan or if something else is at work behind the scenes. There are so many different ideas and initiatives happening in our world today, and it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that something is good without realizing that it is actually rooted in evil. We have to be able to discern what is beneath the surface and ask God to reveal any attempt of deception or manipulation that a person, process, or system may be using against us in order to further its own initiative. Without Holy Spirit, this can be a difficult goal to achieve. The good news is that God knows the motives of everyone’s heart, and he has created a gift of discernment that is available to his children. That spiritual gift, listed in 1 Corinthians 12, helps us to quickly recognize anything that is not of God.

When we use the gift of discernment in the systems of the world, Holy Spirit will guide us towards what he wants us to be involved in. We should be excited about bringing change to the world, and to individual lives, but it needs to be grounded in the phrase Jesus taught us to pray; “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We need to be aware of what God’s heart is for any situation, focus on that, and set aside anything else that is contrary to what he wants to accomplish. Then we can pray for his will to be done, without being affected by all the other variables that others may try to mix into the situation. This method can be applied to anything. It can be applied to personal relationships, needed changes in culture, business development, something we recently learned but never heard of before, a message we heard at church, and any other area of our lives. All we have to do is set aside our own opinions and ask God for his heart for the situation. If we do this, we will have the guidance we need to make the correct choices and, at the same time, be able to avoid deception and manipulation.

I hate deception and manipulation, it’s so evil. Anytime someone tries to deceptively control someone to do their will, it is essentially a form of witchcraft. I have fallen for this myself, not realizing that someone was manipulating me, or realizing it just a few moments too late, and I have used those situations to learn how to discern even more clearly. We need to be able to recognize the spirit behind something and recognize any perspective we have that might give someone an opportunity to manipulate us. Pray for discernment. Pray for wisdom. Know when to say no. And always love, even when someone is trying to manipulate you.

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Dec 21 2018

The Great Deception of Enneagram

One of the things I love about Jesus is that when you spend time with him, he reveals your true identity to you. Did you know that God has uniquely created each one of us with an incredible purpose and plan that we have the amazing opportunity to live out every day? Something I have discovered, and have come to believe strongly, is that we cannot fully step into what God has for our life if we don’t know who we are. I have also discovered that the enemy of our soul is constantly looking for a way to speak into our lives, so that he can keep us confused about our personality, our giftings, our identity, and the purpose for which we were created. Not knowing your true identity is one of the greatest issues in the church today, and the only place we can find that identity is in Jesus. No other method or system will ever be able to reveal the truth of our identity. It’s only found in Jesus. But sadly, so many followers of Jesus are searching for who they are in all the wrong places.

A recent craze has infiltrated the church in the form of a spiritual personality test known as Enneagram that purports to help you with self-discovery, but what many people are not aware of is that it is based on Buddhist, Hindu, and other religious principles which have been twisted into something that “sounds” Christian and is actually nothing short of evil. It’s a practice that looks good on the surface, but just because something sounds spiritual, doesn’t mean it has come from God or is a good practice to incorporate into our lives. We have to get wisdom from God on what we should allow into our lives and discern what spirit is behind these types of practices. Again, our identity has to come from Jesus. It makes me wonder why people are willing to pursue an encounter with the “ancient Enneagram” instead of pursuing an encounter with the Ancient of Days. Why are we so uncomfortable with the Holy Spirit, but perfectly accepting of a strange mystical practice? Why are we pursuing other spiritual practices instead of delving deeper into God?

If any believer is looking for their identity apart from Jesus, they are looking in the wrong place. And, even worse, if any believer is using a system, such as Enneagram, that is directly contrary to the word of God, they are openly inviting the demons behind that system to have authority in their life. Does that sound a little intense, or scary? It should! We are cautioned in 1 Cor. 10 that demonic forces are behind the other religions of the world. When God directed us not to follow after other gods, he did so because he knew those “other gods” were actually demons pretending to be gods. When someone searches for “truth” in any belief system other than Jesus, their search leads straight to a demon. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. It’s dangerous and can have serious consequences. Believe me, you don’t want to invite them to be a part of your life!

Here’s the great news; don’t feel ashamed if you got sucked into the Enneagram craze. Just ask Jesus for forgiveness and renounce any partnership with Enneagram. If you are a leader that has encouraged others to use the Enneagram, you have a responsibility to make it right. Feel free to contact us if you need helping walking through this process.

There are plenty of great non-spiritual personality and strength finding tests you can take, but when the personality test is based on religious beliefs that are contrary to God’s commands, you should steer clear of it.

If you would like to read more about the spiritual roots of Enneagram, we’ve put together a free biblically based resource that goes a little deeper into this topic. You can find it here: www.nomorewounds.org/enneagram

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Dec 14 2018

Contentment

I was reading in a book this week about the importance of being content, and how being discontent can potentially lead us down the path of coveting what others have, or becoming jealous of the successes that we see in other people’s lives. It’s an interesting thing to think about because we all have needs that need to be met, and in some seasons, it takes longer to see those needs fulfilled, and that can easily lead to a place of discontentment. Hebrews 13:5-6 instructs us to be content with what we have because we can be confident that the Lord is our helper and will never leave us. If he promised something in his written word, through prophecy, or through a direct revelation to us, we can be sure that he will do what he said. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but if our hope is in Jesus, it is never deferred! We just have to change our perspective to hoping in his promises which are always fulfilled. We have so many prophetic words about what God is going to do in Washington D.C., and we would have loved to have seen all of them happen by now, but we now there is a perfect timing to his plan, so the best thing for us to do is be content where we are, and continue to wait on the Lord to fulfill his promises. If we go in the opposite direction, we risk the danger of falling into a trap of the enemy and believing a lie that we can’t accomplish our goals, fulfill our mission, or live out the purpose God has put within us. Paul talked about being content in every situation, and it’s a great reminder for all us. Be encouraged that God is on your side, that he has amazing plans for your life, and be content with where he has you right now. As long as we remain in his will, he will get us where we need to be in his perfect timing.

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Nov 23 2018

Through His Eyes

What would life be like if we could all see through the eyes of God? What would happen if suddenly we could see people the way God sees them? I tend to think it would make a difference in everything we do. Through his eyes, the world takes on a whole new perspective. He sees potential while we stare at the problems. He sees the possibility of freedom when all we see is bondage. He stands with open arms as a loving father even while we walk away from him. He sees the struggles, the pains, the disappointments, and he also sees every needed solution. When I see someone in need I have to ask God, “What is the answer for this person?” If we represent the King of the universe we should be able to provide the answer for any problem we encounter. But all too often we don’t even recognize the need because we are looking through the wrong set of eyes. One of the greatest requests that I believe we can make to God is to ask him to see people the way he sees them, and love people the way he loves them; this ability brings a much greater impact when we minister to others. We can have an incredible impact in the lives of everyone you encounter and in every place we place our feet, if we are seeing from the correct set of eyes. And you know what? This is God’s will for all of us, so we can be assured that he will give us the ability to see in this way. It changes everything. Ask him right now, and watch what happens next.

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Nov 16 2018

You Are Worthy

I hear a lot of Christians say things like “I’m not worthy of God’s love,” “I’m not worthy of his sacrifice,” “I’m not worthy to be in his presence,” or other similar comments. I think that their thought process is probably from the perspective that because someone else paid the penalty for their sins they are pushing the envelope a little too far by asking for more. I can understand the desire to be humble but sometimes we take it too far. Sometimes we allow our religious ideas to overshadow our relationship with God. And that perspective tends to skew the reality of who we are. Jesus said in John 15 we are friends with him, not servants. Friends have the ability to ask for anything they need because of the that close relationship. Servants only get what they are given. Friends have access to everything.

This perspective also makes us think that we need to learn to live with what we have been given; whether that deals with poor health, a lack in finances, bad relationships, or any other negative thing we encounter on a daily basis. There’s this notion that our problems become our cross to bear. And it goes right back to feeling unworthy to ask for relief or help from the only one who can give it. John 3:16 say’s that God so loved the world. It doesn’t say he had mercy on the world, or that he had pity on us. It tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice was because of love. Jesus died for most of the human race before we were ever born. He wouldn’t have done that if we weren’t worth it. He wouldn’t have taken the step to free humanity if we were worthless. We can easily say that his blood made us worthy but it’s bigger than that because he decided we were worthy before he ever spilled a drop of blood. We were created in the image of God and given a unique opportunity to have a relationship with him that no other part of creation can have. Georgian Banov made a profound statement a few years ago. He said, “If you’re not free from sin until you die, then Jesus isn’t your Savior, death is!” I think we can modify that quote just a bit to say that if you aren’t worthy of everything Jesus paid for until you die, then Jesus isn’t your Savior, death is! Here’s the deal, Jesus’ death paid for more than our salvation. A free salvation is easily the largest benefit we can receive from that, but he also paid for healing, deliverance, freedom, and access to all that heaven has. He wouldn’t have done that if we weren’t worth it.

You are worthy.
You are worthy of his love, his grace, his mercy, his joy, his provision.
Stop saying you’re not worthy and start living from a new perspective.

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Nov 9 2018

Presence focused lifestyle

The presence of God is one of the most mysterious and attractive things to me. No human could possibly understand the depth of God, and yet he invites us into this incredible relationship where we get to pursue spending time in his presence, and in his presence, we are forever changed! We can’t pursue him too much, and most of the time, we don’t pursue him enough. But when we are intentional to just listen, we will hear him speak the most incredible things to us. There are so many mysteries that can be revealed when we sit in his presence. People used to flock to Jerusalem to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and he was just a man. People longed to hear Solomon share his advice on any subject, and even with all his wisdom, it was like a grain of sand compared to the wisdom of our King. He has the answer to every question, advice for every situation, and strategies for every problem. What would it look like to simply sit at the feet of Jesus for an entire day? No agenda, no requests, no distractions, just sitting at his feet, worshiping him, and listening to the words he speaks. What would it look like if we went to him for the solutions to our problems, and didn’t leave his presence until the solution was presented? Could the world be changed by radical believers who are determined to hear directly from the throne of God, and then take action on what they heard? I think so. I think the world could change very quickly, and that the kingdom of God could greatly expand in an accelerated fashion, if we only spent more time in his presence. Here’s a challenge for all of us to take on: double the amount of time you spend in his presence for the next few months and see what happens, what changes, and what moves out of the way.

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Nov 2 2018

Allergens

I was in a restaurant last night with some friends, and as the night went on, I began to notice an irritation in my right eye that felt a lot like an allergic reaction. It was red, it was puffy, and it was annoying. But it felt a lot better even just a few minutes after we left the restaurant. As I got home, and after I sneezed 7 or 8 times, I thought about how being in different environments can affect us, both physically and spiritually. I didn’t go into this restaurant with an expectation of encountering an allergen that would negatively affect me, so I wasn’t prepared for it when it happened. If I had been prepared with some allergy medication, I probably wouldn’t have had a negative reaction. The same is often true in the spiritual realm. There are a lot of negative forces (aka demonic spirits) in the world and, if we are not regularly spending time in the presence of God, we may find ourselves unprepared for situations where these forces are actively at work. Sometimes that looks like reacting to people or situations in a negative way, even though we know better. Sometimes it’s allowing our emotional or spiritual state to get stirred up and frustrated by what is happening around us. To quote the famous G.I. Joe, “being prepared is half the battle.” When we know what we may encounter, and we know the authority we carry in the spiritual realm, and we are consistently spending time in the presence of God, it is like allergy medication for the enemy’s tactics. It’s hard to be affected by spiritual shenanigans when you are firmly grounded in the truth of who you are. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be vigilant, because our enemy is certainly vigilant in trying to keep us off guard. Stay focused on Jesus, stay focused on loving people no matter what, and stay focused on the truth of who God says you are—this is the vigilance that will keep the tactics of the enemy from affecting you.

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Oct 12 2018

The power of hatred

It’s been an interesting few weeks here in America, and especially an especially polarizing few weeks within Washington D.C. When I step back and look at events from an objective viewpoint, I see a lot of hatred fueling the competition between, not just political parties, but everyday people. I even see followers of Jesus getting sucked into the trap of against those who disagree with their viewpoints. We can’t afford to get sucked into a hateful bitter attitude towards anyone; even if they are staunchly against everything Jesus represents. We are called to love everyone regardless of what they believe or how they act. It’s not just about taking the high road, it’s about representing the Kingdom of God in every situation; that needs to be our focus. When his kingdom shows up, everything has to bow, even the ideas that are contrary to his kingdom principles.

Here’s what happens in the spirit realm during these situations: when we start to believe the idea that it is OK to disparage someone we disagree with, we come into agreement with the plans of demons. That may sound a little intense, but it is exactly what is happening. We empower what we agree with, so we have to be very careful about the words we speak to or about others. The power of life in death is in our tongues, we need to be speaking life. Jesus has so much planned for this nation and we get to partner with him to see it all come about. We all need to focus on what his plans are instead of focusing on what is going on around us. Sometimes it looks like the enemy is winning, but he really isn’t, he can’t, he has already lost. Jesus was and is victorious! Join me in declaring wisdom into the lives of our leaders and praying for righteousness to invade every part of government. That is so much better than being angry.

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Aug 10 2018

Reconciliation is here

Have you been praying about being reconciled to old friends, family members, or even people who have hurt you in the past? Have you been asking God to restore relationships that are important to you? I have great news! We are now in a season of divine reconciliation. The Lord has spoken to me in several dreams over the past week about reconciliation, and he has allowed me to see a lot of healing and forgiveness being poured into people’s lives as they reconcile with each other. I have seen the Lord stir the hearts of people to ask for forgiveness, and I have seen so much grace that supernatural transformations are going to take place as a result. I feel like we have come into a season where the wounds and hurts from the past are going to be erased as old friends become friends again. The hang-ups and hurts from the past are going to be erased. Don’t be surprised if people from your past reach out to you in an attempt to reconcile. This is a supernatural move of God to help people release the bitterness, anger, and shame that they have carried for so long. It’s a time of healing and restoration.
Listen, if there is someone you need to forgive, you should do that right now; that is a major key to reconciliation. And if someone asks you for forgiveness, give it to them, even if they don’t deserve it. Jesus, who makes all things new, desires to renew and restore every area of our lives. I have been praying myself for reconciliation with my brothers, so this is great news for me. God will give you the grace that you need to walk through this process. It is his plan, so we should all fully embrace it with great expectation!

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