Monday, June 28, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention: Naked. Demons.

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.

And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’

Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”---Acts 19:11-20 (NKJV)

“The expense of spirit in a waste of shame is lust in action.”---William Shakespeare

“Hell has three gates: lust, anger and greed.”---Bhagavad Gita

Psalm 119:34 (NKJV) says, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Boy, am I getting, more and more, what David meant by that!

Do you ever have moments where you’re almost in shock that you’re still alive? When you really see some of your past sins for what they really are…and then wonder how you made it out…sane? That’s how I’m feeling…right now…at this very moment. Even with writing “Inside of Me: Lessons of Lust, Love and Redemption” and “Pure Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Integrity”. Even with speaking with/writing for, a ministry for porn addiction. Even with mentoring young women regularly on the dangers of sexual sin…today still marked something new for me. Today, I got yet another revelation as to why the Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16-20 says:

“There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.’ Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’ There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for ‘becoming one’ with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. In the Bible, if you claim to be a Bible believer (and what you believe, you should strive to live), when it comes to sexual activity, you are either considered a “wife” (or husband) or a “prostitute” (or pimp). There is no in-between. There is no mercy extended to girlfriends/boyfriends or fiancés/fiancées. Hebrews 13:4 tells us that the marriage bed is pure, yet fornicators and adulterers, God will judge. Period. There’s no bartering our way out of that. As if that is not enough reason to not partake of the forbidden fruit, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, the following verse is one that we really should take very seriously:

“Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute!”---I Corinthians 6:15 (NKJV)

Your Savior. The man who died for your sins. Join him to a hooker? That’s pretty bold. I know. I used to do it…fairly often. That’s what I mean by I’m in shock. Indeed, it is his mercy that saves us (Titus 3:5). Yet the angle of this message is a bit different than in times past. It’s not like y’all haven’t heard me talk about sex…before…a lot of times. But, it was after receiving a particular email on yesterday that the mind wheels began to turn in a slightly different direction.

A friend of mine sent out a PSA spiritual smoke signal for a mutual loved one who is currently in an adulterous relationship. Boldly so. But that’s how sin is. Proverbs 6:26 (NKJV) warns men that, “A prostitute will treat you like a loaf of bread, and a woman who takes part in adultery may cost you your life” and yet, like a crack head on his last dollar looking for his next fix, billions of men are risking, at the very least, their spiritual lives, for billions of women who are so low in their self-worth that they don’t realize that even if they are not streetwalkers, by doing ANYTHING SEXUAL OUTSIDE OF COVENANT, they are “a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way”…they are defining prostitution, live and in living color, to whomever they are involved with.

Sex, in all of its forms---the ones that are based in purity, that is---is for marriage only. FOR MARRIAGE ONLY:

“Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”---I Corinthians 7:1-9 (NKJV)

That said, due to the title of this message, there is only one time, in the biblical record, where two people were naked and not ashamed. That was when the Lord handed out the instruction of what a husband and wife were to do…and be:

“So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body. The man and his wife were naked, but they were not ashamed.”---Genesis 2:24-25 (NCV)

In this case, there was/is no shame to be had. There is no reason for guilt, fear, embarrassment, sneaking around, deceiving, lying, denying, defensiveness…when you are obedient…when you follow the directions (Proverbs 3:6)…when you submit to God’s will for your life. Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV) says, “When pride comes, then comes shame.” Every past sexual encounter I’ve had, every last one of them, there has been some level of shame (the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another) that followed. GOD NEVER INTENDED FOR THAT TO BE SO. My body is beautiful. Every person’s is (Psalm 139:14) and the covenant partner God custom-designed for you, you can best believe will embrace it as such (stop trying to get every man or woman to find you attractive…you ain’t created for all of them…just one).

This is what El Berith, the God of Covenant, says about sex (the very thing he created that we seem to think we came up with). But pride doesn’t care about what God thinks. Pride is only interested in what it wants. So much so that it will even be so bold as to “dare God” on his own Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) re: the consequences. Proverbs 13:10 (NCV) tells us that pride leads to arguments. Proverbs 16:18 (NCV) says that pride leads to destruction. Proverbs 29:23 (NCV) warns us that pride leads to ruin. TO RUIN. Pride will actually leave “a person as the wreck of his or her former self; [a] ravaged individual” and yet people will still arrogantly ignore God’s Word for their own will. Whew! We as humans…we’re really something else.

As I sat and “paused and pondered” on nakedness, I thought back to the email I got from my friend re: the situation she wanted us to pray about. Within her personal copy, she sent warning signs of a person who is involved in demonic oppression/possession. If you would like to check it out, I posted it on the “On Fire” blog that I write ( You might be surprised that sexual activity was on the list…quite a bit. Sexual immorality and porn were listed as causes of demonic oppression, along with dating people or having close friendships with those who are demon possessed. Bucking authority, having a sense of low self-worth, stubbornness and ignoring God’s truth were listed as well.

After I read through the list, I did a bit more research. I came up on a good article (it’s featured on the link I enclosed above) on how to cast out demons. I was grateful that the pastor, Tom Brown, spoke on the fact that speaking the Word of God, with power and authority, was all that one really needed to exorcise a demon…something that Christ told us we, as his disciples, were to do (Matthew 10:8). However, it was a story that he told on the YouTube video on the link that really serves as the backdrop for this message. He spoke of a man who claimed he was trying to exorcise a demon out of a three-year-old child. He was so intent on it that he set up a barricade in his home. When the police arrived, they found him choking the child half to death with the child’s mother, the man’s own daughter, standing next to him…naked and covered in blood.
OK…and who had the demon in him? Which is just what Mr. Brown brought to the forefront. What really is godly about trying to kill a child? What’s really “decent and in order” about a grown woman being “comfortable” standing next to her father…butt naked? Yet, it was this sentence that really tripped me out:

“The only time I find someone [inappropriately] naked in the Bible are the ones who actually have the demons.”

That has stayed with me since I heard him say it. I got his point. He was talking about a lot of those who were actually mentioned as being demon-possessed in the Scriptures. But as I thought about the list of demonic oppression signs that I read…as I thought about what the Word says about fornication and adultery (Matthew 15:19, 2 Corinthians 12:20-21, Ephesians 5:3-4, Colossians 3:5)…as I thought about my own sexual past and the kind of person I was then as opposed to the kind of woman I am now…yeah…it would seem like the only time I’ve encountered inappropriately naked people even today are those who have demons, too. I mean, check the definitions of the word:

Demon: an evil spirit; devil or fiend; an evil passion or influence; a person considered extremely wicked, evil, or cruel; a persistently tormenting person, force, or passion; [when it comes to a wicked agenda] one who is extremely zealous, skillful, or diligent

Proverbs 5:4-5 (NKJV) reminds us, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.” Sexual sin…of any kind…is wicked, is evil and is considered a work of iniquity. In short, it’s demonic because it disobeys the total purpose of sexual relations: to bring a husband and his wife closer together. It’s a physical act symbolizing a spiritual bond. If you roll up in someone’s temple that does not belong to you (and only marriage makes that so), you are desecrating them, period. If you are having sex with yourself, you also are abusing your temple. Sex is not for you and yourself anymore than it is for you and someone you are not married to. It’s for you and your covenant partner. Period. Anything less than that is from the Liar (John 8:44) and he’s using your lust to devour you (I Peter 5:8). Yeah. Well…it’s not a popular message, but it’s one that is full of truth and as the Message Version of Luke 6:26 tells us, “Our task is to be true, not popular.”

Yet I still couldn’t help but think how “popular” nakedness is. In the mail, I received this month’s issue of a well-known magazine and on the cover, a wife and mother is naked. Most music videos I see now, the women are, at least half-naked. When I hear a lot of people chastise young children for how they dress, the logic is, “You’re not grown enough”…to be naked?!? Again, only in the confines of the marital bed, are two people to be naked without shame. Any other time (other than the prophet Isaiah?)? Hmph. I’ll let the Scriptures speak for themselves:

With the humiliation of Babylon: “Your nakedness shall be uncovered, yes, your shame will be seen…”---Isaiah 47:3 (NKJV)

With Jerusalem and its affliction: “Jerusalem has sinned gravely, therefore she has become vile. All who honored her despise her because they have seen her nakedness; Yes, she sighs and turns away.”---Lamentations 1:8 (NKJV)

With the degradation of Zion: “Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz! The cup shall also pass over to you and you shall become drunk and make yourself naked. The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; He will no longer send you into captivity. He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will uncover your sins!”---Lamentations 4:21-22 (NKJV)

With the abuse from Jerusalem’s lovers: “‘Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: ‘Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them, surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy. I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your shrines and break down your high places. They shall also strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare.’”---Ezekiel 16:35-39 (NKJV)

With the tale of the two harlot sisters: “She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness. Then I alienated Myself from her…”---Ezekiel 23:18 (NKJV)

With mourning for Israel and Judah: “Pass by in naked shame…”---Micah 1:11 (NKJV)

With the woe of Nineveh: “I will lift your skirts over your face, I will show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame. I will cast abominable filth upon you, make you vile, and make you a spectacle. It shall come to pass that all who look upon you will flee from you, and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste! Who will bemoan her?’ Where shall I seek comforters for you?’”---Nahum 3:5-7 (NKJV)

In each of these instances, in every single one, nakedness was attached to shame. It was either a punishment or a consequence…but it was certainly not something that was to be celebrated. Even in these verses, comparisons to harlotry were made in many of them. A harlot uncovers herself. Yet, what is a harlot? A woman who has sex for money, right? A woman who debases herself for ill gain. What is the purpose of sex? To make a wife one with her husband. Proverbs 5:5-6 says that an immoral woman is bitter as wormwood, her feet lead to death and her ways are unstable. Proverbs 12:4 tells us that an excellent wife is the crown of her husband and Proverbs 31:10 says that a virtuous wife is more valuable than rubies. Amazing how the very same act can bring about very different results. One is based in love. One in lust. One is real. One is counterfeit. One will last. One will not. One is of God. One is of Satan. One brings forth life. The other? Death.

I sat and thought about why nakedness is such a big deal in the Bible. Certainly, we are all aware that we are reading words from a different time…and culture. However, we also know that Malachi 3:6 (NKJV) tells us, “For I am the Lord, I do not change…” That said, I decided to look up some definitions of “naked” to gain a greater understanding of why it’s such a sacred thing…and why the Liar is trying his hardest to convince us of otherwise:

Naked: being without clothing or covering; nude; without adequate clothing; without the customary covering, container, or protection; defenseless; unprotected; exposed; being without addition, concealment, disguise, or embellishment; not accompanied or supplemented by anything else; exposed to view or plainly revealed; plain-spoken; blunt

Synonyms: bare, barren, candid, defenseless, disclosed, discovered, exposed, helpless, in the raw, manifest, natural, open, out on a limb, unarmed, unconcealed, uncovered, vulnerable, weak

Yeah…I get it. I finally really get it.

In the Word (John 1:1), when it speaks of loving someone, it also speaks of COVERING THEM. Proverbs 10:12 tells us that love covers all sin and Proverbs 17:9 states that he who covers a transgression, seeks love. One example provided in ministering to others is clothing them when they’re naked (Matthew 25:36). When the Lord is speaking to the Laodicean Church, he also speaks of clothing them so that their nakedness will not be revealed (Revelation 3:18). IF YOU ARE NOT IN MARITAL COVENANT WITH SOMEONE, COVERING THEM IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING. This means not having sex with them, not looking at them unclothed, not exposing their vulnerabilities, not using (or defending) their nakedness (whether you know them or not) for your own amusement. When you do those things, you are operating in the counterfeit of love, which is lust. Proverbs 11:6 tells us that the unfaithful will be caught by their lust. Romans 13:14 instructs us not to make provisions for the flesh by fulfilling its lust. Ephesians 4:22 calls lust “deceitful” and I Thessalonians 4:5 associates people who fall for their passion and lusts with those who don’t know God. 2 Timothy 3:6 says that it’s gullible (easily deceived or cheated) women who are loaded down with their own sins who end up led away by various lusts and Titus 3:3 (NKJV) tells us that it’s the foolish, disobedient and deceived who not only serve various lusts and pleasures but (many) end up, “living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Lust can lead to hate. Love leads us to God (I John 4:16).

No wonder the Enemy wants folks parading around naked. It’s a physical representation of where our hearts are. If we have no shame in being unclothed or unclothing someone else…if we choose to remain unconscious of the fact that we are called to COVER one another…if we don’t realize and revere that it’s only in a marital covenant that two people can even begin to trust being “helpless”, “natural” or “weak” in the presence of another flawed human being, then he has us where he wants us: so prideful that humility is not a priority; so caught up in our lusts (I John 2:16) that humiliation may be the only thing to bring us to a place of biblical and spiritual submission. Those biblical examples of nakedness? Those were examples of humiliation. That is not our Father’s perfect will for us.

This week, as you do your own processing of this message, it is my prayer that if you have been caught up in nakedness outside of covenant that you will really see the seriousness of what you are doing. The lead verse said that the particular demon in that story left people naked and wounded. Fornication, adultery, masturbation, porn, oral sex…anything that is sex outside of God’s original intent and design does the exact same thing. If you are naked with anyone other than your covenant partner, the Bible speaks to it being shameful.

I’ve shared the story before and I’ll share it again. A friend of mine, a male friend, who was once addicted to porn said that he had a dream one time that while he was watching a flick and masturbating, the heads of the women on the tape came out of the television and killed him. If ever there was a warning about consequences coming due to sexual sin…family, this would be it:

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”---James 1:12-16 (NKJV)

Sex, outside of covenant, is a sin. God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). He said that ungodly desires lead to death…of some sort. Adam and Eve didn’t physically die immediately following eating the fruit…that tasted good. Oh, but they did die. And remember, they weren’t supposed to die at all. I have a few friends, who, as we speak, are contemplating divorce. Do you know what all of them have told me? Sex before marriage was a huge regret because it served as a smoke screen. “Good sex” does not a healthy relationship make. As I often say, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), although it is my personal take that when you have sex in covenant, you are not “making love”, but celebrating it, you can best believe that when you are ignoring God’s Word, you are not making or celebrating love. What you are making is death.

The Liar doesn’t love you. He doesn’t like you. He’s not encouraging you to do anything for your best interest. Anything that the Lord set into motion, he plots to make a mockery of. If marital sex is what causes people to be naked and not ashamed…he will find a way, obviously, to get people to be naked and full of shame…whether they realize it yet…or not. If there ever was a time that I was begging for you to take a message seriously, the time would be now. The Lord will not be mocked (Galatians 6:9). Extreme reaping is coming. He is in the process of taking the sanctity of sex back:

“So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills. For the time that is past already suffices for doing what the Gentiles like to do--living [as you have done] in shameless, insolent wantonness, in lustful desires, drunkenness, reveling, drinking bouts and abominable, lawless idolatries. They are astonished and think it very queer that you do not now run hand in hand with them in the same excesses of dissipation, and they abuse [you]. But they will have to give an account to Him Who is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living and the dead.”---I Peter 4:1-5 (AMP)

Don’t “confuse” mercy with a lack of judgment. The Word says that the Lord will render each one according to his deeds. God says what he means. He means what he says (Romans 2:1-10). Sex, within covenant, ministers to two people. Sex, outside of covenant, separates two people from their Creator’s will for their lives. Amazing. In marriage, it brings two closer together (the Enemy does his best to keep a husband and wife from having sex). Outside of marriage, it tears people apart (the Enemy tries his hardest to keep single people sexually active…until it kills them-I Corinthians 10:8).

In sex, you have two choices and two choices only: You can be naked and not ashamed. (GET MARRIED). Or…you can be naked…clothed only with the presence of a demon.

Here’s to getting to or remaining in a state of the former…of being the head and not the tail…literally. Take it from me, I’ve been the butt of the Enemy’s jokes. Ain’t nothin’ funny about it. Stay away from naked demons. Of all of the things they do bring you, in the end, none of it is good…or safe…or profitable…or godly.

Just the opposite. As all counterfeits are…and do.

Here’s to giving and receiving a love that truly covers.

Selah. And amen.

©Shellie R. Warren/2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"On Fire": Concerns. Perfected.

"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me..."---Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)

I didn't plan on penning another note so soon, but sometimes the Comforter (John 14:26) will lead me (Luke 12:12) to write, what I call, "A hug from God" just to remind us all that he's here. He's right here. In the midst of it all...caring about it all (I Peter 5:6-7). Whatever your "it" may be.

Several months ago, someone in my world was in dire straits. The Lord led me to do something for her and I was more than happy to do it. After all...contributing to the needs of God's children is not a suggestion. It's a command (Romans 12:13-AMP). Anyway, after following his unction, I didn't think too much more about it. Although, I will share a really "flesh thing" about me...after the fact.

On my birthday, while I was still on Facebook, I noticed that she was online a lot of the day (cause Facebook will tell EVERYTHING-LOL), and I must admit that I thought it was odd that she didn't at least say, "Happy Birthday". Hmph. I'm actually working on a devotional re: presumption and how dangerous it is. Just because I would have wished her "Happy Birthday" doesn't mean that she had to do it for me. What she does (or doesn't do) is certainly her right and it has absolutely nothing to do with how I choose to relate to her. The Godhead told me a long time ago that "Love is a gift; not a bribe". If you can't do something from the wholeness of your heart...your clean and pure heart (Psalm 24:3-5 and 51:10), then you really should rethink doing it...on the front end. As the Message Version of Proverbs 17:20 tells us, "A bad motive can't achieve a good end." Ever.

A year ago? Due to my own insecurities and pride, I probably would have had an attitude about it. "How dare I help you and you not even acknowledge my birthday." That's what pride does. It makes things be all about the most ugly kind of ways. However, I'm not out of the woods yet. I just told you that it crossed my mind...just differently. Keep prayin' for a sistah. ;-) And yes, I'm going somewhere with this.

Earlier this week, I received some interesting financial news. News that really could've sent me to seething, if I had let it. However, the Lord is also working with me on a another command: "'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-NKJV) I decided not to let it get to me, but due to the is going to be a little tight for a minute.

Anyway, all day today, I have been craving some gelato. Anyone who knows me knows I love me some gelato. Another friend had given me a gift certificate to Carrabba's in the same area of town where my favorite gelato spot is (Whole Foods). I knew in my mind that it didn't make wise financial sense to even spend $6.00 (when you're a freelancer, sometimes you learn the hard way not to spend what you don't have IN HAND). But still...I wanted some and with the warfare that came forth this past week, I felt I was deserving. Yet, I kept dragging my feet in leaving the house. I wasn't quite sure why, either. That is until I went to my mailbox.

"On Fire" ladies, in this season, it really does help to keep this "instructional promise" in mind: "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:9-12-NKJV)

I went to the mailbox and behold what was awaiting me? A birthday card. From the woman I helped. With a gift card. FROM WHOLE FOODS. And, when I tell you I didn't see it coming...I DIDN'T SEE IT COMING.

The New Century Version of Psalm 77:14 says, "You are the God who does miracles; you have shown people your power." The Message Version of Luke 21:18 assures us that, "...every detail of your body and soul—even the hairs of your head!—is in my care; nothing of you will be lost."

Some of us are so greedy, so lust-driven, so ill-defined of what a miraculous manifestation really is, that we miss the daily signs from El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God, which reveal that he really does perform wonders...he really does specialize in marvels...he really is in the business of doing the extraordinary...supernaturally.

Yeah. A Whole Foods gift card for $20 on the day that I wanted some gelato for $6 from the last person I expected to send me anything may not seem like a big deal to you, but it was to me. Because what it reminded me of is the fact that the Lord talks and that my spiritual sister listens to him when he does. My birthday was well over a week ago. She lives in a city only a couple of hours from here. At whatever point the Comforter told her to send me a card, from a place that is my favorite that she didn't know about...she followed through...and because of her obedience, on the day that I desired something, a special treat from Whole Foods, provision was made.

NOW DO YOU SEE WHY YOU NEED TO HONOR YOUR WORD. IF THERE'S SOMETHING YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO GET SOMEONE, SAY TO SOMEONE, DO FOR SOMEONE...YOU NEED TO DO IT. As Psalm 50:14 (NKJV) instructs, "Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High." The Lord uses these things to accomplish his will. It's all a part of his master plan. Obedience always is.

Yet the main point in me sharing this is if the Lord cared enough about getting me some gelato, he certainly cares about, oh say, the prayer request I had today when I looked outside and saw rain and told the Father, "Being cuddled up with my husband would be nice right about now."

"As for God, His way is perfect;The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."---Psalm 18:30 (NKJV)

Daddies love doing things for their daughters. And remember, if a sinful earthly father makes his children a priority...HOW MUCH MORE WILL ABBA DO FOR YOU?

If you don't have must not need it...yet.

I wanted gelato at noon. I had it at about 4.

I got it, though. Without having to pay for it.

What are you concerned about? Remember what the lead verse for this message assures us. The Lord not only grants the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). He can do us one better. He perfects them...first.

Love to you. Praying for your patience...while he perfects,


An Ounce of Prevention: Signs, Symptoms and Causes of Demonic Oppression/Possession

I'm gonna be brief, because the content here is pretty thorough. A friend of mine sent a letter today re: a loved one of hers who is involved in adultery and I was fascinated by this list...and the pics. I pulled out the personal copy re: the situation...but I think WE ALL need to check the list out and be prayerful. My Baba often talks about how we, in America, don't respect the spirit world. However, Christ casted out demons in people, MANY TIMES and we, as his disciples (Jn.8:31), are called to do the same: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)

On your road to healing, in this season, be very who you engage, how you engage them and why. Be wise in who you call "friend". Pray against pride in the use of self-judgment. WARFARE IS JUST THAT: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

Demons don't have a lot in common with one another, but one thing they have in common is you...when you allow them to.

The symptoms of a person overtaken by a demon of oppression is one or more of the following:

1. abnormal, irrational fear
2. abnormal, irrational anxiety
3. abnormal, irrational loneliness
4. lack of self control
5. conflicts with authority figures
6. aimlessness; the feeling that life is void of any meaning or purpose
7. depression that is not physiologically induced.
8. outburst of hatred
9. violent behavior
10. loss of the fear of God
11. selfish ambition (appetite for power)
12. irrationality, inability to detect or correct contradictions or other fallacious (misleading, deceptive) reasoning

Now, if you don't understand how cunning the devil and his angels will be, this message will be hard to understand, but believe me we all have fallen victim to some form or a demon and they can move from one body to the next. We are only vessels.

The causes of demonic oppression are one of more of the following:

1. sexual immorality with demon oppressed or possessed people
2. pornography
3. preoccupation with UFO phenomena; attempts to contact extraterrestrial beings
4. escapism through thrill-seeking, sci-fi, soap operas or some other addicting hobby/activity
5. any contact with demon oppressed or possessed people that threatens the demons
6. wrong use of drugs and alcohol
7. wrong use of herbs
8. hedonism: pursuit of entertainment and or body pleasure
9. participation in false religions or cults
10. rejection of what is known and understood to be true
11. preoccupation with occultic power, occultic revelation, psychic phenomena
12. rebellion against authority
13. seeking or giving consent to occultic revelation or occultic power
14. authority figures' acceptance of Satanic influence
15. dating relationships or close friends with demon possessed people
16. poor self-image
17. anger against God and others
18. possession (known or unknown) of occultic games, records, tapes, books, pictures, charms, tools, etc... (This includes the Ouija Board)
19. persistent jealousy
20. bad temper or stubbornness
21. preoccupation with violence devoid of justice
22. mediation on anything other than God's truth
23. chanting or other cultic/occultic forms of worship
24. prolonged sleeplessness

The behavior patterns of a possessive demon are one or more of the following:

1. intense, maniacal delight in wielding power
2. filthy, uncontrolled swearing without provocation, even toward total strangers*
3. total incapability of submitting to anyone or anything but demonic authority
4. irreverent, vile, lewd comments about members of the Godhead; comments attributing gross sexual immorality to Jesus*
5. sustained supernatural strength or intelligence beyond that which might come from adrenaline or some other physiological source*
6. irrationality to the degree that even the simplest spiritual truths are beyond comprehension
7. intense, highly disturbed reaction to the mentions of Jesus' blood shed on the cross for man's sin and Jesus' name
8. possession of supernatural, occultic powers (ability to foretell future events, to levitate tables or other objects, or to travel outside the body (astral projection)
9. wild, unnatural facial contortions (no not like Jim Carrey)
10. presence of two or more distinguishable, coherent personalities, personalities capable of expressing themselves simultaneously (may include emergence of strange voices, dual or multiple voices and/or unnatural conversations)*
11. unexplainable, uncontrollable terror especially in the presence of Christians whose faith is strong* (this terror arises either from the demon's fear of being cast out or from the possessed person's fear upon being cruelly threatened by the demon(s)).
12. extreme violent, reckless behavior (throwing knives, playing with poisonous snakes, etc.)**
13. severe, persistent depression, despondency and/or temptations to commit suicide**
14. total lack of self-restraint, especially in sexual behavior; uncontrolled sexual advances
15. extreme disregard for physical appearance and/or physical well-being**
16. intense loneliness, even in the midst of warm, compassionate fellowship

The causes are one or more of the following:

1. participating in gross sexual immorality
2. grossly and habitually rebelling against authority
3. blaspheming the Holy Spirit (consistently rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit as He reveals truth and convicts sin)
4. possessing and/or using occultic tools, charms, books, music, souvenirs, etc.
5. having parents of others close authority figures open doors to Satan's influence
6. craving and seeking after occultic power or revelation (taking E.S.P tests or other psychic aptitude tests)
7. giving consent to occultic power (seeking after fortune tellers, having an astrological chart or forecast made, etc.)
8. holding on to deep-rooted grudges against God and others

A link with a survey on Christians re: casting out demons and a link to test your own knowledge on fallen angels:

And, why would I provide all of this info without providing a "counterattack"? Here's an interesting read on how to cast out demons, along with a YouTube tape at the end: "The only time I found someone [inappropriately] naked in the Bible are the ones who actually have main ministry is TEACHING THE WORD OF GOD." SPEAKS VOLUMES:

I told you that the testing would be going up a notch. ;-)

Still praying for your mercy, grace, protection and peace of mind...


Thursday, June 24, 2010

"On Fire": Purge, Baby...PURGE.

“If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth—we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin. If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.”---I John 1:6-10 (Message)

Purge: to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify; to rid, clear, or free; to clear of imputed guilt or ritual uncleanliness; to clear away or wipe out legally (an offense, accusation, etc.) by atonement or other suitable action; to clear or empty (the bowels) by causing evacuation; the removal or elimination of members of a political organization, government, nation, etc., who are considered disloyal or otherwise undesirable

Synonyms: absolve, admit guilt, ask for forgiveness, baptismal, clarification, clear oneself, dismiss, disposal, disposition, evacuation, expel, expunge, extermination, forgive, make amends, offer compensation, pardon, purification, remove, sanctification, square, sweep out, withdraw, wipe off map, wipe out

Yeah. Well. ;-)

You know, I would have liked to say, and actually would have thought I would have said, that I miss being on Facebook. Honestly, I don’t. Mostly because I can’t believe how much time is spent on that thing…really not talking about much of anything…kinda connecting, but in some ways, not at all. I know the Lord gave me a ministerial assignment; shoot, the blog wouldn’t exist without that social media tool. I ain’t mad at it (LOL). I just see it as a mediocre boyfriend: alright, at times…but still a way of settling when there’s so much better (sigh). We’ll see what the Comforter (Luke 12:12) says come September (cause did I already say I don’t miss it?-LOL), but I must admit that when I heard the word “purge” in my spirit on yesterday, I knew deep down that Facebook was one of the things that he called me to rid, clear and free myself from. Obedience always works. Life is a lot more peaceful as a result right now.

Yet no, this is not a lead in or a hint for the rest of you. If there is one thing that those of you who “crossed over” should find peace (and a lot of extra responsibility in) is that this is a season when you really need to focus on HEARING GOD FOR YOURSELF. The confidence that I have is that if you made the effort to move over to the blog, then you must be taking this journey pretty seriously. However, for those of you who did, put your spiritual seat belts on. If ever Luke 12:48 (NKJV) was to be taken to heart, it would be now:

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE TESTED. No, not like the testing you’ve had before. That was child’s play. There are about to be some sacrifices required of you that, quite frankly, may cause some more of you to fall off as well. Truly, many are called but few are chosen; yes, even when it comes to marital covenant (Malachi 2:14, Matthew 19:11-12). Don’t believe me? Just Google the recent statistics of divorce. Shoot, just in my own personal space, I have two friends, two Christian friends, who told me that they were filing this summer. God hates divorce, right (Malachi 2:16)? That means the Enemy…the stealer, the killer, the destroyer…THE LIAR (John 8:44) loves…well, lusts it. He has an agenda. God has a plan. We have to choose which we will follow.

Now, let me give you the good news, first. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN. We all know that the Word says that the Lord will not leave us or forsake us (so please stay in a state of contentment, as he commands---Hebrews 13:5), but I think some of us are tempted to believe that means he will stay with us as we remain single…for the rest of our lives (LOL). That he will be our only companion while we remain spiritual spinsters. You are a princess. You are a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16). Our Father doesn’t call his daughters such things as “spinster” and “Old Maid”. If you are someone who hears that kind of thing in your spirit, that is from Satan; he enjoys taunting. CAST THAT DEMON OUT (and yes, the Lord has given you the ability to do so-Matthew 10:8).

As I prayed for those of us who may be tempted to feel that way, the Lord provided me with this parable:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a person who owned some land. One morning, he went out very early to hire some people to work in his vineyard. The man agreed to pay the workers one coin for working that day. Then he sent them into the vineyard to work. About nine o'clock the man went to the marketplace and saw some other people standing there, doing nothing. So he said to them, 'If you go and work in my vineyard, I will pay you what your work is worth.' So they went to work in the vineyard. The man went out again about twelve o'clock and three o'clock and did the same thing. About five o'clock the man went to the marketplace again and saw others standing there. He asked them, 'Why did you stand here all day doing nothing?' They answered, 'No one gave us a job.' The man said to them, 'Then you can go and work in my vineyard.'

At the end of the day, the owner of the vineyard said to the boss of all the workers, 'Call the workers and pay them. Start with the last people I hired and end with those I hired first.'

When the workers who were hired at five o'clock came to get their pay, each received one coin. When the workers who were hired first came to get their pay, they thought they would be paid more than the others. But each one of them also received one coin. When they got their coin, they complained to the man who owned the land. They said, 'Those people were hired last and worked only one hour. But you paid them the same as you paid us who worked hard all day in the hot sun.' But the man who owned the vineyard said to one of those workers, 'Friend, I am being fair to you. You agreed to work for one coin. So take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same pay that I gave you. I can do what I want with my own money. Are you jealous because I am good to those people?'

So those who are last now will someday be first, and those who are first now will someday be last."---Matthew 20:1-16 (NCV)

Hmph. It’s a “tough love” message, but the topic for today is purging, right? The Message Version of Proverbs 20:30 is, “A good thrashing purges evil; punishment goes deep within us.” The main points are in bold. First of all, marriage is ministry. That means marriage is service. Proverbs 18:22 tells us that when a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing. You are in training RIGHT NOW to be that good thing. However, what does the parable say? I WILL PAY YOU WHAT YOUR WORK IS WORTH. Y’all can tell me anything. It’s the Lord who sees all (I Corinthians 4:5). But I will say this: whatever work you are putting in now speaks to the kind of marriage you want to have. If you’re still sleeping with your boyfriend (or with yourself---you get it), you are essentially saying you desire a spiritually-broken marriage. If you are nagging your “person of interest” or don’t know how to take wise counsel now, you are essentially saying you desire a peace-less marriage. If your house, car and bank account are a mess now, you are essentially saying you want a lifestyle that is in disarray in your marriage. There is something that follows desire…a plan…and what would be WORK (James 2:17). That is why God says that we may make our plans, but it is the Lord who directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). He doesn’t just direct them, actually. IF YOU’RE A GOOD PERSON, HE ORDERS THEM (Psalm 37:3). Honestly? If you’re not willing to do the work to get a good husband, why should you receive the “payment” of one? The Lord is merciful. He’s not stupid. He’s not gonna send a man, his son, through unnecessary drama and trauma just because you don’t want to be alone. Remember, he does things decently and in order…and in that order (I Corinthians 14:40).

The second point. We serve a fair and just God. When you start to wonder if that’s true, that is also from the Enemy; it’s only people who serve the Liar that speak such things (Ezekiel 33:17-18). And what the Comforter (Luke 12:12) showed me was that in relationship to the parable, we can exchange the “coin” for a covenant.:

“Daughter, I *am* being fair to you. You agreed to work for a covenant. So take your covenant preparation and go. I want to give the daughter who came to me last and decided to also put in the work the same as what I promised you. I CAN DO THAT WITH MY PROMISES; WITH THE THINGS THAT I CREATE, INCLUDING MARRIAGE. Are you jealous because I am good to your own sisters?”

And if some of us were honest, the answer would be “yes”. We are jealous. It’s demonic (2 Corinthians 12:19-21). PURGE. If you have someone that you have envy towards who recently got married or is engaged, you need to repent to God and ask him how you can SERVE them. For every act, there’s a counterattack. Sowing a seed of envy must be uprooted…immediately. The best way to do that is through sacrifice. But remember that this parable also says that the first will be last and the last will be first. That, in itself, speaks to the fairness of God. All of us will “get ours”. We need to trust his way and his time (Acts 1:7-Message). We must CHOOSE to fully accept that he knows what’s best…because he does. He always does.

Being that he knows what’s best, although this is going to make some, and on some levels all of us uncomfortable, the focus for this upcoming week (and for many of us, much longer than that…MUCH) is that we purge ourselves. Marriage is a pure thing. Covenant is godly. Some of us are still so spiritually lukewarm (Revelation 3:16), that not only are our lifestyles, our redundant lust choices, our cyclic excuses, our conscious strongholds making El Berith, the God of Covenant sick (of it), but it causes our prayer requests to be…unhealthy and inconsistent:

“Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope; That say, ‘Let Him make speed and hasten His work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may know it.’ Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”---Isaiah 5:18-21 (NKJV)

Psalm 18:28 (NKJV) says, “For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” This time of purging is going to show YOU (cause Adonai already knows) what you are really made of: your desires, your motives, your root causes for why you do, say and pray some of the things that you do. Some of you, because of your lukewarm lifestyle---which basically just means because you have not been doing EXACTLY as El Roi, the God who sees, has been telling you to do---you don’t even really know what’s good for you. Some of your prayer requests are for God to honor something that is rooted in darkness. Some of you have actually been calling your LUST STORY “sweet”, when it’s bitter…at best. You are having a hard time admitting to or accepting the reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) of your situation (which is one definition of “bitter”, by the way) and so that’s why the Lord has remained silent about the situation. YOU MUST PURGE. Meaning, you must, at least for a season, TOTALLY RID YOURSELF OF THE RELATIONSHIP. TOTALLY. Yes, for at least the next 30 days because it takes at least 21 days to break a habit (and if you are sinning, in any way, in your relationship, your situation is not a friendship, but a stronghold).

Those of you complaining (Philippians 2:14) about your weight but continue to eat the same way and not exercise, PURGE. It’s time for a physical fast.

Those of you who have been holding a grudge against someone (something that the Lord has really been on me about…don’t take anger to bed with you…it’s a sin: Ephesians 4:25-27), PURGE. It’s time to forgive (especially if you want to be forgiven-Matthew 6:14).

Those of you who are masturbating, watching porn, having oral sex, letting a man see any part of your body that belongs to your husband and him alone, PURGE. Spiritual virginity is purity, remember? It’s time to get rid of those habits.

Those of you with a jacked up attitude; you’re moody, unreliable, a gossip, hypocritical, CRITICAL, insincere, disingenuous, untrustworthy…PURGE. It’s a quiet and gentle spirit that is beautiful to God (I Peter 3:4).

Those of you who expect people to do for you what you don’t even do for yourself (whew!): respect you, honor you, be honest with you, BE CONSISTENT WITH YOU (“Make decisions and stick with them, please”---that came from Adonai, not me), PURGE. Free yourself from the burden being relationally unrealistic by setting some self-standards and sticking with them.

These are the scenarios that I was told to specifically call out, oh, but we all know there’s more. Some of us need to get rid of our cable (cause we don’t watch it and the bill is too high). Some of us need to eliminate certain friends (cause they ain’t talkin’ ‘bout a doggone thing). Some of us need to be REBAPTIZED so that we can do something to symbolically free ourselves from our past and the guilt that the Enemy tries and condemn us with (Romans 8:1). Some of us need to go on a Master Cleanse cause of all of the crap that we eat. The Lord will reveal…something…for each and every one of us. THIS I KNOW. Because here’s the thing: to be the RIGHT helpmate (Genesis 2:18) for our future protector/provider/husband, we must be LIGHT to him. Daniel 2:22 (NKJV) tells us, “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” PURGING IS WHAT DOES THIS:

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”---Matthew 6:22-23 (NKJV)

This is not the time for compromise. AT ALL. Your choices will reveal your character. The state of your relationship speaks to your covenant with God. Your commitment will show God what you are ready for…and what you are not.

Purge, Baby. .PURGE. Now. RIGHT NOW.

Praying for you…always.


©Shellie R. Warren/2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention: Sensing Betrayal? KNOW Your Mordecais. KNOW Your Hamans.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”---Proverbs 27:6 (NKJV)

“We are never deceived. We deceive ourselves.”---Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Yeah buddy. This one has been brewing within me for awhile now. I was waiting for the right time (Acts 1:7-Message) and when I got up to the following Spirit of Prophecy Bulletin (thanks for the forward, LaDrena), I knew that today, Wednesday, HUMP DAY (LOL), was the day. Here’s to getting over yours. I know I am about to become fully freed from mine! Check out what the head’s up was:

“Beloved, I want you to be aware that the enemy will do his best to use people to intrude into your life to establish a position of illegitimate authority and control. Be on the alert for those who barge into your life’s circumstances uninvited. Make sure that new associations are with people of integrity and they have no ulterior motives, says the Lord. Protect and preserve what I have given you and all that I have given you to do. Be sensitive to My leading, for I will give you discernment, and I will cause you to maintain security.

Psalm 119:117: ‘Hold me up and I shall be safe, and I shall observe your statues continually.’”

Thomas Jefferson (and on many levels, I think he would know) once said, “Do not bite at the bait of pleasure until you know there is no hook beneath it.” And with that said, this message is for people who have a challenging time understanding who their Mordecais and Hamans are when it comes to their spiritual quest for progression. In the Book of Esther, it was the Jewish people that were the focus of Mordecai’s quest for freedom and Haman’s plot of deceit. But all of us are of a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9-10); this means that we have access into the kingdom of God. It is this kingdom that we will be focusing on today:

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”---Matthew 6:28-34 (NKJV)

It may be a given, it may not…but the first sign of a “Mordecai spirit” is someone who makes it their mission to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. They don’t “happen” upon it. They don’t reserve it for weekend activities. They don’t use it as an opportunity for personal (carnal) agendas. In word and deed, you see the fruit (Matthew 12:33) of the fact that they seek (search for, ask, request) God. The sign of a “Haman spirit”? Their agenda is self. King Solomon speaks, warns, of the kind of man whose soul is not satisfied with goodness. He says that a stillborn child is better off than he is because his dissatisfaction comes from vanity and departs into darkness (Ecclesiastes 6:3-6). In the Bible, Paul was inspired, by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), to ask, “And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-NKJV) The answer? It doesn’t. When you commune with someone, you converse with them…you are intimate with them…you interchange thoughts and feelings with them. Because Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are (naturally) deceitful, this is why the Word of God encourages us first to ask for our hearts to be cleansed (Psalm 51:10) and then forewarns us to guard them (Proverbs 4:23). Why? “For out of it spring the issues of life.” Be very cautious who you share your life issues with. Christ came that we might have abundant life. The Enemy tries to steal, kill and destroy that (John 10:10). I believe this is speaking to the quality of our current life but also to the outcome of our eternal one as well. Light brings life. Darkness breeds death. In this case, there is no “partly sunny” or “partly cloudy”. Now, more than ever, we must take heed to these words of instruction:

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”---2 Peter 1:2-11 (NKJV)

A definite sign of one’s commitment to God is what? Them not stumbling, right? Paul put it this way:

“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”---Romans 14:12-13 (NKJV)

A violent man will cause you to stumble (Psalm 140:4).

A wicked man will cause you to stumble (Proverbs 4:19).

A person who rejoices in the struggles of his enemies will cause you to stumble (Proverbs 24:16-18).

A proud man will cause you to stumble (Jeremiah 50:32).

A man of iniquity will cause you to stumble (Hosea 14:1).

A man not deeply rooted in the Word will cause you to stumble (Matthew 13:20-22).

A man not walking in the light will cause you to stumble (John 11:9-11).

A faithless man will cause you to stumble (Romans 9:32).

An inconsiderate man will cause you to stumble (I Corinthians 8:12-13).

A man who doesn’t honor ALL TEN COMMANDMENTS will cause you to stumble (James 2:10).

Is the Lord demanding perfection? We are sinful, and only our total reliance on him can separate us from it (2 Corinthians 12:9), so no. But this “stumble checklist” speaks to the lifestyle of people that we should keep our distance from. It doesn’t matter how much we are tempted to emotionalize (or romanticize) the situation. These things are “heart traps”. Several months ago, I wrote a devotional about all of us having an “outer court”, “inner court” and “temple” space. The Word says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). Faithless people, proud people, inconsiderate people, non-law-abiding people…they should not be in your inner court or temple. No matter what. If you choose to bring them in, or for some of us, keep them there, you will find yourself with a Haman spirit in your space…and a life-altering plot in your midst.

Cause here’s the thing about Haman: to the king, he wasn’t an obvious enemy. As a matter of fact, in King Xerses world, he was ranked higher than all of the other important men. Sometimes, the people closest to us---the ones most attached to our flesh---are the ones the Enemy uses to do the most damage. Because, indeed, if we all could detect deceit on the front end…would it really be deceit? This is why we are called to have discernment (Proverbs 15:21).

Yet as I reread the story of Esther, this time through the eyes of Mordecai and Haman, I saw some things a bit differently. It was obvious that, for different reasons, the king trusted both men. Mordecai had discovered that two of the king’s eunuchs had planned to kill the king. Mordecai told Queen Esther and as a result, the two men were hanged (Esther 2:19-23). This established a trust between King Xerses and Mordecai, even if, essentially, they weren’t that close. Mordecai’s character spoke in place of his communication with the king (bookmark that).

On the other hand, Haman was around the king all of the time. However, one thing that I noticed to be very interesting about Haman is he seemed to be more interested, not so much in King Xerses’s life, but the perks that came with the life that the king lived. There is a big difference in the two. As I was reading the story, I was mentally noting the fact that people were bowing down to Haman (Esther 3:2). PEOPLE WERE BOWING DOWN TO HAMAN. As a matter of fact, the whole point of dissension between Mordecai and Haman was that Mordecai, due to his spiritual beliefs (Exodus 20:3), refused to do so. Mordecai refused to subject himself to Haman’s ego, no matter who he was in association with, because God was more important (bookmark that, too!). And, due to Haman’s pride, his vanity, his flesh (Romans 8:13), before long, it wasn’t just about Mordecai not putting Haman before God…Haman decided that he wanted all of the Jewish people to be killed. In his eyes (and pride will blind you), he was far too important for just one man to die…all of Mordecai’s people had to go (Esther 3:6). I also found it fascinating that after the orders to kill the Jewish people were sent out (again, all because of one man’s ego…which, at the end of the day, was one man’s insecurity), that the end of Esther 3 read like so:

“The messengers set out, hurried by the king's command, as soon as the order was given in the palace at Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was in confusion.”---Esther 3:15 (NCV)

The king and Haman sat down to drink, yet all around them was confusion. I Corinthians 14:33 tells us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. But what I fear is that some people are not clear on what confusion really is; especially in the spirit realm.

Confusion: disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos; lack of clearness or distinctness; perplexity; bewilderment; embarrassment or abashment; a disturbed mental state; disorientation

Peace: cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension; freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity; silence; stillness

Some of us remain in the relationships we’re in because we think they bring us peace…when actually what they are providing us with is spiritual stagnation. A wise man once said, “A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.” Remember, the flesh and the spirit lust against one another (Galatians 5:16-17). On some level, there will always be some spiritual dissension going on when it comes to a battle for your soul. Thinking that because a relationship always makes you “feel good” then it must be good…that is one of the greatest lies from the Enemy (John 8:44). Some of my greatest relationships brought forth the greatest shaking of my character. I didn’t choose them; God chose them for me. Separating the flesh from the spirit is one of the most extensive, intricate and…on some levels, internally disturbing procedures one can go through. The Word tells us so. How God that the New King James Version of the following Scripture has the subject heading, “The Word Discovers Our Condition”:

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”---Hebrews 4:11-13 (NKJV)

Recently, I was listening to a message by a pastor by the name of Paul Washer. He was speaking on husbands loving their wives and how who our choice would be in a mate is often not God’s. He said that we pick based on compatibility, while El Berith, the God of Covenant, often picks based on who will teach us best how to become like Christ (you can check the link here: Although we often forget (or choose to ignore) this fact, remember that the purpose of marriage is to reflect Christ’s covenant with the Church (Ephesians 5:22-30). Hebrews says that the Word of God comes to pierce and divide the soul and spirit; it’s there to discern the thoughts and intention of the heart. A spiritually peaceful relationship is not about making your flesh feel comfortable. It’s about getting your spirit to a place of healing, and you know what? That is going to shake up your flesh…more than a lil’ bit.

Christ, while on this earth, said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”---Matthew 16:24-27 (NKJV)

A spiritually peaceful relationship is going to encourage and admonish you to deny yourself (your flesh). It will not encourage you to partake in sinful habits or to feed your flesh’s secret fetishes. It will not sit idly by and watch you indulge in the evil that so easily besets you (Hebrews 12:1-2). I Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV) tells us, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” The ah ha moment for me, even as I’m typing this? The Word says that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, right? Do you want to know the sign of a spiritually healthy relationship? Of a God-ordained association? Of someone you should actually commune with? They will fight for, and alongside you, to get your FLESH OUT OF THE WAY so that your SPIRIT CAN GET STILL…TO KNOW GOD (Psalm 46:10). WOW!

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) reminds us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

To “wrestle” is to “contend”, to “struggle”, to “attempt to throw”, to “strive in an effort to master something”. A true friend? They are gonna wrestle with you against the spiritual hosts of wickedness. When you are strong and when you are weak. I used to think that a good friend meant that there was no drama. In some ways, when it comes to flesh-filled drama, that would be true. But denying myself is hard work. Taking up a cross? That’s not comfortable. But serving the Lord is not easy, either. A GOOD FRIEND WILL REMIND YOU OF THAT…AND ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO IT ALONG THE WAY…NO MATTER WHAT:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”---Matthew 10:34-39 (NKJV)

Christ did not come to make people comfortable. HE CAME TO SAVE THEM. Our jobs, especially in our covenant relationships, is not to appease people’s flesh, tell them what they want to hear, partake in their strongholds…keep their demonic influences company. Our job is to support them in edifying their spirits…at times even, like Simon did for Christ, help them carry their cross, when it gets too heavy (Mark 15:21). A “Mordecai spirit” puts the spirit first. A “Haman spirit”? The flesh. Someone close to me said that one time, in making a choice between her boyfriend and who God ultimately desired for her to have, she heard the Comforter say, “There’s life (God’s choice), there’s death (her current pick at the time). YOU CHOOSE.”

Today, some of you will have to choose. Mordecai or Haman.

And so here is where the checklist begins. The Comforter, at least for me, has already enlightened me quite a bit. This additional information will just make things a bit clearer…for those who may be “in the dark” on this matter more than they realize.

Know Your Mordecais

1) Mordecai puts no god before God. Mordecai bowed to no man. TO NO MAN. In the spirit realm, this would be the equivalent to a person who does not spiritually compromise. If something is wrong, it is wrong. There is no flattery (Psalm 12:1-4). There is no “deafened ear” and to be honest, if it’s a true friend, there is no tolerance for it, either. All sin is, is a form of idolatry. A Mordecai is going to be consistent and persistent about you honoring God with your words and your actions…at all times.

2) Mordecai has your best interest at heart, long term. Spirit and body (spirit first, though). Remember, it was Mordecai who took Esther in as an orphan and raised her as his own (Esther 2:7). Remember, it was Mordecai who checked up on her every single day (Esther 2:11). Remember, it was Mordecai who came from the tribe of Benjamin (a good spiritual pedigree-Esther 2:5). Remember, it was Mordecai who saved King Xerses’s life…the first time. In trying to decide who has the “Mordecai spirit” in your life, look at what they’ve done for your SPIRIT MAN in times past. How many times have they prayed for you? Fasted for you? Stood in the gap for you? How often have you seen evidence of their presence being in your life sparing you in some way from spiritual deception or demise?

3) Mordecai may come off as a snitch (or nuisance) when being a TRUTH TELLER. If you read the exchange of information between Mordecai and the king’s eunuch, Hathach, it appears that he was just…tellin’ it (Esther 4:6-8). He was. He was telling the truth to expose the lies (of Haman). What did Jack Nicolson say in “A Few Good Men”? A lot of us don’t want to hear that truth…CAUSE WE CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH (LOL). However, it’s the truth that frees us (John 8:32). Line up what is being told to you with the Word of God. That will expose the real friends…and the real enemies. To know if something is for our own good, we first need to be able to discern what is good…vs. evil (Hebrews 5:14). Just because you don’t want to hear “it”, doesn’t mean you don’t need to. That’s the journey of mankind in relationship with their Creator every single day of our lives.

4) Mordecai prays, fasts and submits to wise counsel. When Esther received the information re: Haman’s plot, she told Mordecai to tell all of the Jewish people to fast for three days. Esther 4:17 (NCV) says, “So Mordecai went away and did everything that Esther told him to do.” These days, I’m happy to say that I have some praying and fasting friends, boy (LOL). That used to not be the case. Some of the people I considered to be my “best friends” were just the ones who let me wallow in my sin…and since I liked that, I liked them. Enablement is not love. That is a stronghold based in lust. Do a tally of your relationships. Who entertains as opposed to educates? Who’s a conspirator in your sins rather than an exhorter of your good qualities? Who intercedes on your behalf and (get this) you see results as a result? Mordecais? They don’t just act on today. They have spiritual foresight. They make decisions now knowing that it will affect them (and those around them) later (Galatians 6:9).

5) Mordecai is not intimidated by Haman. I love how the story of Esther plays out. Haman listened to the whacked out counsel of his wife (whole ‘nother message) and had a seventy-five foot platform built to hang Mordecai (Esther 5:14). She instructed Haman and his friends to do it. Hamans cannot stand Mordecais. They plot at every turn. It almost seems like the more Mordecai grows, the angrier Haman gets. Mordecai remained focused, though. The salvation of those he loved was his top priority. Even if it ultimately costs him his life and/or the things he so desired. In being a Mordecai to someone, you must remember who is greater than the one opposing you and that the one opposing you has a spirit motivating them. You have the Lord on your side (I John 4:4). STAND FIRM. Integrity is not easy, but it’s always spiritually-beneficial. You will not be put to shame (Isaiah 54:4). At the right time, at the appointed time, the Lord will bring the “kings in your life” to the remembrance of the spiritual good you have done (Esther 6:1)…and your motive for doing it.

Know Your Hamans

1) Haman is an ego maniac. OK, and how did all of the drama ensue? Because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, right? Esther 3:5-7 (NCV) says, “When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down to him or honor him, he became very angry. He thought of himself as too important to try to kill only Mordecai. He had been told who the people of Mordecai were, so he looked for a way to destroy all of Mordecai's people, the Jews, in all of Xerxes' kingdom.” Here’s what I really want you to catch: HAMAN WANTED TO BE THE KING. And when Mordecai refused to honor him as such, he started his plan…his violent plan. How interesting that it doesn’t appear to be recorded if the king cared about if the Jews bowed down to him (or not). One of the people he appointed to help him did, though. Something that I’ve been praying about, as of late, is that I don’t keep people in my intimate space who are more interested in the “Shellie R. Warren brand” than Shellie herself. And, it’s not about me being an author or having a platform. This is a prayer that I recommend ALL PEOPLE PRAY. Opportunists are not only dangerous but lazy in the sense of wanting to do the work they need to do to progress. They are leeches. They see someone headed somewhere and here comes the flattery, the coddling, the codependency…doing whatever they have to do, saying whatever they have to say to “get in good”…and stay there. At the end of the day, it’s not about what they are doing FOR you but how they can benefit FROM you. The people around you, what do they have going on in their lives independent of you? It’s a good “spiritual spring cleaning” question to ask yourself from time-to-time. Haman forgot that the favor that he even had to start feeling himself to begin with was only as a result of the promotion he received from the king. Pride “forgets” such things. And you know what? Pride comes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18) and the bigger they are, even if it’s just in their own mind, the harder they fall!

2) Haman withholds truth. So that Haman’s plot could succeed, he didn’t tell the king his motive for killing the Jews. He skewed it…a bit: “Then Haman said to King Xerxes, ‘There is a certain group of people scattered among the other people in all the states of your kingdom. Their customs are different from those of all the other people, and they do not obey the king's laws. It is not right for you to allow them to continue living in your kingdom. If it pleases the king, let an order be given to destroy those people. Then I will pay seven hundred fifty thousand pounds of silver to those who do the king's business, and they will put it into the royal treasury.’ So the king took his signet ring off and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jewish people.” (Esther 3:8-10-NCV) True, it was a law that people were to bow down to Haman, but Haman wasn’t protecting the king when it came to his plight. He used the king’s own boundaries against him. I’m sure he was smart enough to know that if he had said, “Mordecai won’t bow down to me because he feels it is idolatry so let’s kill all of his people”, it wouldn’t have sat over quite as well…or quickly. So, he made it appear like his was looking out for the king’s best interest (yeah, right). If you’re a Haman reading this, be careful. The Message Version of Proverbs 21:2 says, “We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives”; Proverbs 17:20 (Message) forewarns, “A bad motive can't achieve a good end; double-talk brings you double trouble” and Proverbs 21:8 gives the head’s up of, “Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road.” Remember, few find the narrow road (Matthew 7:13). It doesn’t matter what the king has said or how clever your scheme appears to be. The Word says that God catches the wise in their own craftiness (I Corinthians 3:19-20). No matter what kind of power you may think you have over “the king”, there is a King of kings (Revelation 17:14) who trumps you both. Complete and total truth always wins out.

3) Haman is relentlessly oblivious to order. I Corinthians 14:40 tells us that God does things decently and in order…and in that order. I have a feeling that Haman wasn’t tap dancing at Esther being King Xerses’s bride. Psalm 105:10-15 speaks of what the Lord does for people in his covenant. It says that he doesn’t give anyone permission to do them harm. THAT HE WILL REBUKE KINGS FOR THEIR SAKE. Singles, especially single men, there are some people who will try and keep you from the covenant partner that El Berith, the God of Covenant, has in mind for you because they know the kind of favor (Proverbs 18:22) that she will bring to your life; the kind of connection that she has with God. How many movies have you seen where the “friends” at a bachelor party are telling the groom-to-be all of the things that he will miss out on by settling down (catch that: SETTLING DOWN)? Haman may have ranked highest in the king’s professional life. Shoot, Haman may have even come around first. But men who become one with other men? That is called homosexuality (Romans 1, I Corinthians 6:8-10). And I venture to say that some even commit it in the spirit realm. As popular as it may be in the world (and the world lives according to foolishness—I Corinthians 1:18) for a man to live the life of a “sinful single” (cause if you’re not ready for MARRIAGE, you’re not ready for SEX—Hebrews 13:4), the Lord said that it’s not good for man to be alone and the helpmate that he creates? It’s not a dude for another dude. It’s a woman that the Lord considers RIGHT for a man (Genesis 2:18) and when you know the right thing to do and choose not to do it, according to James 4:17, it is sin. Haman was betting on his position with the king to bring his plot into fulfillment. Oh, but he forgot the power of covenant (poor thing). Hamans always do.

4) Haman doesn’t understand love. Lust drives him. Esther 5:2 says that when the king saw Esther in his royal courtyard, he was pleased. That was his wife and she was a good woman. A man can have peace in a good woman. Anyway, when she greeted him by touching his scepter, he replied by saying, “What is it, Queen Esther? What do you want to ask me? I will give you as much as half of my kingdom.” Haman had a pretty solid position, but he had not been offered half of the kingdom. KING XERSES LOVED HER DIFFERENTLY. Hamans never understand that. Love is not their priority. Gain is. So much so, that Haman didn’t even realize that his own lust was going to be the cause of his own demise. Even though he was the only person invited to the banquet with the king and queen, his response was, “I'm the only person Queen Esther invited to come with the king to the banquet she gave. And tomorrow also the queen has asked me to be her guest with the king. But all this does not really make me happy when I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate." (Esther 5:12-13-NCV) He was not happy because Hamans hardly ever are. Lust never ever is. All he was concerned with was getting Mordecai to do what he wanted him to do. If he had to use fear, so be it. If he had to lie and manipulate, so be it. If he had to destroy those around Mordecai, so be it. Just as long as he got want he wanted. And what’s really hilarious is that Haman was so full of himself that when, at the banquet, King Xerses asked what should be done for a man of honor (Esther 5:6-9), Haman assumed the king was referring to him. With Hamans, it’s always about them. If you are a Mordecai reading this part, fret not because of evil doers, “Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalm 37:1-2-NKJV) The very suggestion that Haman made for himself, Mordecai ended benefiting from (Esther 6:10-11). You don’t have to bow down to man (or sin). The Lord says it’s humility that exalts (Luke 14:11). Not ego. Or fear. Or even another man for that matter. Remember, Matthew 18:4 (NKJV) states, “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” If you want to be spiritually promoted in life, associate with the humble (Romans 12:16). It’s when we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, that we are lifted (James 4:10). No matter how it appears, he resists the proud and gives grace (strength and unmerited favor) to the humble (James 4:6).

5) Haman hangs himself. Again, if you have the “Mordecai spirit”, don’t “break out of character” just because of the chaos that may be going on around you. Mordecai stood firm. So did Esther. It was Haman who lost his composure. His plot backfired. The platform he built for Mordecai? He was hanged on (Esther 7:9-10). And what’s really a trip is that greedy people are usually cowards. They plan out your demise until they realize it will cost them something and then they try and be your friend. The same fervency he used to destroy Mordecai is what he used to beg for leniency. His character proved that he could not be trusted, though. How interesting that it was someone under him, another eunuch, that recommended he be hanged from the same platform too, proving that Haman’s don’t really have real friends. They have people they hang around. They have people who may treat them “right” because they are associated with the king…but let the king see them for what they really are…and watch how lonely the Hamans in life become. The New Century Version of Esther 7:10 (NCV) simply says, “So they hanged Haman on the platform he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king was not so angry anymore.” There’s nothing like being betrayed by someone you trust. Yes, in the physical realm…but when you realize that someone is not good for your spirit man that too can make you very angry. Some “kings” are walking around stressed out and they’re not realizing that it’s time to clean out their regime. If something doesn’t “feel quite right”, it’s probably not. A lot of people can lose what God has for them NOW because they won’t realize what was good (well, OK-LOL) for them THEN needs to remove itself. It’s in killing the flesh (and issues of the flesh) that we can find real life. Hang your Hamans (metaphorically-speaking). Watch the peace of mind that follows.

Yeah. This one was lengthy…but when I tell you that some things were made crystal clear for me…over here, words cannot express it. I venture to say that not only do I need to get rid of some Hamans and honor some Mordecais, but I need to hold my own personal exorcism to remove all remnants of the “Haman spirit” from me…anything that would cause me to keep people from God’s best; anything that would put a flesh agenda ahead of a spiritual purpose.

Take heed, my friends to do the same. As a love brother of mine forewarned one of his loved ones (um, as a good friend should!), when it comes to Satanic agendas, “It’s not gonna end well…but it will end.”

Stand firm, Mordecais. Watch out, Hamans. The Book of Esther is not just a story. It’s a prophecy. There’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Make YOUR call and election sure. Life is coming for you. Just you wait and see.

©Shellie R. Warren/2010

An Ounce of Prevention: Prayer. Requests. Known.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”---I John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

“No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it.”---Guy H. King

Whew! Just four days into a new year (I am 36 now) and I have already seen some major changes…in my life…in how Adonai is calling me to live it. More and more I understand (Proverbs 4:7) what 2 Peter 3:8 (NKJV) really means: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Upon Christ’s return, the Word says that we will be changed in a moment…in a twinkling of an eye (I Corinthians 15:51-53). That is but a millisecond when it comes to how we perceive time. My point? It doesn’t take “forever” for your breakthrough. From us, it only requires mustard-seed faith (Matthew 17:20, Hebrews 11:1 & 6) and total surrender. Psalm 62:8 instructs us to trust God at all times. Every second of our day, we should entrust to him because just like the five foolish bridesmaids who were not prepared when the bridegroom came (Matthew 25:1-13) and just as the Word forewarns us that Christ will return like a “thief in the night” (I Thessalonians 5:2), we don’t always know when or even how the Lord will appear to us with the answer to our prayers. We just need to be prepared to receive him when he does. WE MUST BE PREPARED TO RECEIVE HIM WHEN HE DOES:

Prepare: to put in proper condition or readiness

“Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear…”---Psalm 10:17 (NKJV)

Some of us are so consumed with “getting” what we desire (Psalm 37:4) when what we really need to focus on is getting into a state of preparation. The five foolish bridesmaids missed out ONLY because they were not ready for the bridegroom’s arrival. Things come unexpectedly…only when you don’t expect it. One thing that I read, differently, about an all too familiar passage is that when we are not anxious (uneasy, eager) about our prayer requests…when we really do come with a spirit of praise and thanksgiving, the result is that we have peace (Philippians 4:6-7). If you have made a petition to the Father and you have no peace, you may need to revisit the request. Where God is, peace is. Where peace is, God’s will is. Where God’s will is…that is where your requests should be; there is where you should leave them. Catch this:

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”---Matthew 18:18-20 (NKJV)

Now remember, even when we are faithless, our God is faithful. He cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). This promise in Matthew says that if two people agree (have the same views, emotions, etc.; harmonize in opinion or feeling) on something, they can ask for anything and it will be done by Abba. Now there are two things we must take note of, though. First, a lot of us do not get into agreement about our desires. Being in agreement is a pretty deep thing. You must not just have the same views…but have the same emotions towards the request. Neither can doubt (Romans 4:19-21). Neither can bring forth any negative energy. Neither can speak against the request…in or out of the presence of the person they are “touching and agreeing” with. To agree about something is to stand as a united front on an issue. Be careful who you take your prayer requests to. Be cautious before assuming they are in full and total agreement…the only kind of agreement that there really ever is.

But the other thing to take heed of is that the Word says, right before this promise, that what we bind on earth will be bound in heaven. John 8:32 tells us that the truth makes us free. What God gives us is based in biblical truth. What he honors is based in faithfulness. What he grants must be representative of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). What I have realized, especially as of late, is that some of my prayer requests have been asked in a way that has been “out of order” (preparation will teach you that---I Corinthians 14:40). Christ told us that FIRST things must be BOUND and THEN we can touch, agree and ASK. When you bind something, you “limit” something…you “confine” something…you “restrain” something. A good example of something being bound is Satan when it comes to what he can, and cannot, do to God’s children. Do you recall what the Liar (John 8:44) said to Adonai in reference to Job?

“One day the angels came to show themselves before the LORD, and Satan was with them. The LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’

Satan answered the LORD, ‘I have been wandering around the earth, going back and forth in it.’

Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him. He is an honest and innocent man, honoring God and staying away from evil.’

But Satan answered the LORD, ‘Job honors God for a good reason. You have put a wall around him, his family, and everything he owns. You have blessed the things he has done. His flocks and herds are so large they almost cover the land. But reach out your hand and destroy everything he has, and he will curse you to your face.’

The LORD said to Satan, ‘All right, then. Everything Job has is in your power, but you must not touch Job himself.’ Then Satan left the LORD's presence.”---Job 1:6-12 (NCV)

Although this is a bit off subject, the Comforter (John 14:26-AMP) wants me to say it and so I will. Do you see that Adonai was bragging on Job? He said that there was no one on earth like him. On the entire planet? Yeah, coming from God, that is pretty high praise. Whatever you are going through right now, don’t let the Enemy tempt you into “cursing God to his face”. It has been a hard lesson for me to realize that whatever the Enemy tries to do to me, it’s not about me…it’s about God. He uses us to try and get to God. We are God’s children, not the devil’s pawns. He’s gonna lose this game, anyway (check Revelation). Don’t go out with him.

Yet the bigger point is that sometimes, oftentimes, trials come because the Lord entrusts us with them (James 1:3-4). Right now, in what you are going through, your Father may just be bragging on you. He may be showing the Enemy that you are strong enough in your faith to handle a challenging health report. Or that you’re committed enough to your marriage to forgive your spouse (yet again). Or that you’re loving enough to serve your enemies. Don’t look at it as what is being done to you…but how the Lord is operating through you.

However, the original reason for referencing Job is because the Lord had Satan bound from tempting him until an appointed (and purposeful) time. We are made in the Godhead’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). What I realize, in my own walk, is that because the Enemy is the prince of the air (Ephesians 2:2), what I need to do before asking for something good is that I need to bind up all of that bad. Quite honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before. If I’ve gone to my “touch and agree partner” and said, “You know, I would like God to expand my ministry and so would you help me to bind up fear…lack…envy…darkness, first?” Remember that it’s the Enemy’s job to try and steal, kill and destroy the good in our lives (John 10:10). Petitioning the Father to bind him from our requests, that is a good thing…a purposeful thing…a biblically-directed thing to do. I wonder how many marriages would have been spared a tearing away (Malachi 2:16) or how many children would have been protected from some of the attacks they’ve experienced if there had been a prayer for “binding up” evil way before there was a prayer to receive a covenant partner or to become pregnant. Or to loose the full will of the Father so that goodness and mercy would immediately follow the manifestation of such requests.

And this is one of the lessons that I received this week from the Lord. That just as the lead Scripture for today tells us, that when we ask anything according to God’s will (and please make sure that is the case), not only does he hear us, but he will grant us what we ask. Something that is within God’s will is something that is a part of his ultimate purpose. I was just talking to a girlfriend of mine last night about how people often use and abuse Romans 8:28 (NKJV):

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

First of all, things work together for the good of those who love God. The Bible says that if you love God, you will keep his commandments (all 10 of them---John 14:21). I John 3:22 (NKJV) tells us, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” and Psalm 103:17-18 (NKJV) assures, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.” If ever the Lord was pleading, “Help me help you”, it would be with Romans 8:28. It’s the faithful who can rest in the assurance that all things will work out for the best. It’s those who surrender to his will that can trust in his purpose manifesting in their lives.

Yet it’s what comes right before Romans 8:28 that I think we should quote far more often:

“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”---Romans 8:24-27 (NKJV)

Hope that is seen is not hope. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 1:1). If you can see it, you are not operating in hope and if you don’t have hope, you don’t have faith and if you don’t have faith, you are not pleasing God. Hope is hard (oh, trust me, I know!), but the thing about hope is that it doesn’t disappoint (Romans 5:5). That’s why the Enemy tries to break our spirit and discourage us from having it. He knows it’s the “not-so-secret-ingredient” to having what we desire in this life.

However, the final lesson that I am led to share on prayer requests is what follows the words on hope. Aside from getting in true agreement, aside from binding Satan and his agendas, aside from making sure we are pleasing God by keeping his commandments, we must surrender to the fact that we don’t always, we don’t usually, know what to pray for to begin with. Once we make our request, we have to trust the Comforter to intercede on our behalf. This means he serves as our mediator. Kinda like, “Father, I know Shellie said ‘this’…but what she really meant was ‘this’.” (LOL)

And do you know what the light bulb moment for me with that was? Often my impatience with God is because I don’t even take into account that the Comforter has “ran a red marker”…that he has edited my requests on the way up. For years, I’ve been praying for a husband. I now see that the Comforter has been saying, “Lord, this child is BROK-EN. Please heal her heart and bind her wounds (Psalm 147:3) before granting her prince. She will not be a suitable helpmate to him. She won’t bring him favor (Proverbs 18:22); she will be a problem.” At the same time, “And Lord, you know that man is not ready for all that we have downloaded into Shellie. Teach her patience (I Corinthians 13:4) as we prepare him to be her provider and protector.”

Christ said in Matthew 19:11-12 (Message), “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it."

Marriage? Covenant? That is within God’s will. But there is an order in which God does things. I have come to realize that even in my praying, the flesh and spirit lust against one another (Galatians 5:16-17). The flesh says, “I want it now.” The spirit says, “I want it when it’s right.” The Father says, “Only I know when that is…but each day, I am getting you closer. Only I know when the two of you are ready. Stay in a state of readiness. Stay prepared.”

Recently, I also had to surrender to the fact that I can’t assume that what I prayed is what God heard. What God heard is what the Comforter prayed on my behalf…and that’s always what’s best for me. You must be willing to surrender to this fact as well.

And so, as we enter into another week, I encourage you to not let the Enemy discourage you from making your prayer requests known. We are encouraged by God to do so. But in going to El Shaddai, we must have faith, we must hold on to the hope (remember hope is what you can’t see) that he really is All-Sufficient. Jehovah-Jireh will provide. Jehovah-Rophe will heal. Jehovah-M’Kaddesh will sanctify. El Roi sees all. And he sees, hears and moves in the way he deems fit.

Make your requests known. And then leave them there…knowing that he knows them better than you do.

And that he answers. To our spirits. Not our flesh.

Purpose to listen…and receive. Differently.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”---Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

Selah. Amen. So be it.

©Shellie R. Warren/2010