Saturday, April 17, 2010

Last week I took at a look at the spiritual realm, of whom God is the Most High. My key scripture passage was Colossians 1:15 &16. I made the observation that the Church of Jesus Christ in the Western world seldom confronts or even addresses that there are spirits, all of whom move counter to our purpose to pursuit the Most High, God Almighty. I asked three questions.

  1. What do we do with those invisible "thrones or powers or rules or authorities"? (referencing the key scripture passage.)
  2. What is it to be Children of the Most High?
  3. What does it mean to worship Him (God, Most High) in spirit and in truth?

1 John 4:16 "We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (NASB)
God is a spirit, and God is love. So then, love is a spirit. Love is the Most High, supreme above any other power or principality or authority in operation. Being Children of the Most High means that we are Children of Love. Supreme Love. Jesus put aside His position in heaven to come to earth and dwell among us, as a man, expressing His Father. Expressing Love. Showing us how to walk as Children of the Most High, doing only what He saw the Father do and saying only what the Father says.

Little is much with God. I'll leave this and wait to see what your responses are.

May you prosper even as your soul prospers. Amen and Selah.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Spiritual Realm

15He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. Col.1:15&16

Hallelujah, what a Savior! I must apologize for the time elapsed since last I blogged. I confess that I had so much within me that it was difficult to sift the ideas that dwell in me into the singular thing that I felt should be next. As Leanne has mentioned, God has told me that I must get into a regular habit of writing and I was excited for the task! I still am excited, but I ask forgiveness for allowing the time to get away from me. With the help of God, I shall be consistent and coherent! Onward!

In Jacksonville, we are preparing for a coming together to allow God to move and speak among us as only He can. I have felt a stirring in me to address a thing which I find the Western Church seldom wishes to really address: the spiritual realm or the "invisible" that is referred to in the above scripture.

I need to explain what I mean by the Western Church. I grew up in a military family with a Korean mother. This means that we moved constantly and for our family in particular, we lived overseas in Japan for long periods of time. I am grateful for both my mother and the life experience of living in an Eastern Culture. The mindsets of East and West are truly as far apart spiritually as they are geographically.

The Eastern mindset finds the Western approach to Christ difficult to absorb because we don't see the Spiritual Realm as a regular and daily topic of discussion. Look at India and their pantheon of gods of all kinds, "great and small." They are referred to daily, hourly at times as a normal way of life. But the Western Church labels this topic a sort of mystical taboo. We, the Western Church, acknowledge that God is a Spirit and pretty much come to a full stop right there. What do we do when we read the above scripture? What do we do with those invisible thrones or powers or rulers or authorities? Blithely we read it and promptly -immediately- forget the significance of an invisible world, of whom God is the Most High. We treat it literally as most any Western mindset will treat it; Out of sight, out of mind. We live by "tangible" proofs and thus, we almost never address the spirits assigned to disrupt our pursuit of the Most High.

I am reminded of a woman I met who was a European that had married an American Service Member. She was literate, well spoken and very educated. She was pursuing a degree in Philosophy and through a mutual friend, we met as acquaintances who recognized in the other a delight in philosophical debate. She found my faith something to deride. You see, she had a personal experience back in a time when finding your "past life" was a popular thing to do. She had been given "actual memories" of a previous life and when she researched those memories, she found an ancestor in her own family tree who she felt lived these "memories." She felt vindicated in her position as a non-believer. She had a special, for-her-only, experience. I prayed many times about her because I knew that no meeting is an accident. I had insights that I felt was not safe to give her. She finally prodded me on this experience of hers, which she felt was as real as any I had ever experienced in my worship of God.

One evening as I was fixing my coffee, she cornered me and asked me bluntly "How, in light of your religion, can you explain my experiences? My memories?" I told her honestly that I didn't feel she'd appreciate my response because many believers that I knew wouldn't accept it either. She must have heard a challenge in my statement because she straightened beside me and said, "Try me. I have a very open mind." So I told her the truth that God had revealed to me when I had prayed about her. "You are deceived by the enemy. It's the enemy's only job to deceive and destroy you and he will do it by any means necessary. The father of lies is as real as God is. Satan has one task and he has been at it for millenia. You accepted his invitation to open yourself to an experience any demon could give you. It isn't hard for an eternal being to be assigned to your family going back generations and feed you just enough of what you want to believe to ensnare your mind and capture you away from Jesus." I totally expected this woman, who was very strong willed and outspoken, to rip into me with venom. Little did I realize that her heart had been prepared to hear the truth and feel God witness in her spirit. She gave her heart to Jesus that night. She is now a powerful prayer warrior! To God be the glory!

It has been my experience, from childhood, that few Western Churched Christians are actually willing to discuss the spiritual realm as a current, actual, non-mythical realm. They will talk about how Jesus' life is historically confirmed. They will talk about how Jesus fulfilled prophecy. They will talk about Ananias and Sapphira being punished for attempting to lie to the Holy Spirit as a "Back then, at the beginning of the Church..." but they won't concede that the legion of spirits that Jesus sent into a herd of pigs are eternal beings who are STILL preying upon any they can devour.

I have an early memory of when I lived in Japan. I was barely 14, walking off-post on the Japanese economy on my way to a train station to travel to another Army post. It required that I pass by a temple. The picture I have with this blog is one of a temple dog. It represents a "friendly" guardian spirit that looks demonic on purpose. The eastern thinking behind this is that it has to be able to look scary to scare "bad spirits" away. There is an actual festival to invite such spirits to stick around and benefit those who celebrate their existence with such an open attempt at honoring them. This is actual worship of lesser spirits in the spiritual realm. This culture is inundated with spiritual interaction of an entire hierarchy of lesser beings. It's in daily conversation.

I was walking along and I didn't even realize I was passing a temple until I suddenly felt a weight on me, so stuffy, so evil and malevolent that I thought someone who intended evil for me was watching me. Have you ever had that feeling before? Someone with ill intent, watching you? Staring? I had it worse than I had ever felt in my life and I just knew whomever it was wanted me dead; Not just harmed but dead. I looked up and saw the temple and the temple dogs on the four corners and while I knew intellectually that the dogs were man-made and had no power in and of themselves, I also knew in my spirit that if a means were available, I would have been ripped apart in the most painful, torturous manner possible. I knew it just like you can sense when someone is watching you. I didn't know what I know today, to address that spirit but I can tell you that this event in my life is as clear to me as the day it occurred. Since that day, anytime I had to walk to the train station, I crossed the street to the other side well before I had to pass by that temple. Every time I neared it, I felt that other presence. I instinctively knew that because of Jesus in me, it was responding to me. If you are only now beginning to absorb the impact and truth of the spiritual realm please read the account of the Seven sons of Sceva. If the same Holy Spirit of the Most High who raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, obey Him.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that in a culture that acknowledges the spiritual realm, the activities and presence of lesser beings are catered to because the results have become so tangible. The presence of these lesser spirits are more tangible because of the permission that comes from actively interacting with them. Moses going up against the wise men of Egypt, anyone? But if we read in God's Word of an invisible realm and promptly put that knowledge aside, do we not willingly turn a blind eye to the goings on of that realm? Is Silence Consent? We can let loose the blessing and good will of God, Most High, who indwells us. We can bind and loose in heaven and on earth...what exactly? I can tell you that the enemy never rests at his self appointed task. Are we on task? What is it, to be Children of the Most High?

I'll stop here and let those of you who follow this Blog consider what it means to you. I will continue from this point next week. Spiritual Warfare! Meditate on the things God has to say through His Word about the invisible things. God, Most High, is a spirit. What does it mean to worship Him in spirit and in truth? Selah.