Lies & Lukewarm

It’s more righteous to rebel than to lie:

Jer. 3:6-11 – the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the Lord. The Lord said to me, “faithless Israel is more righteous then unfaithful Judah…”

Pretense:
1. an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true.
2. a claim, especially a false one.

God and people both hates lies. You’d be better off being honest about your sin, than lying. As it applies to marriage, it’d be better to divorce than to deceive. As it applies to Christians in the South, in warrants the question, ‘Are we are going to church to appease God or man, or are we going out of a true desire to know God?’ 

Rev. 3:16 – I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Matt. 27:37-38 – Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

If loving God with your whole heart is the first commandment, I think a lot of the South needs a heart check. Likewise, loving your spouse with all your heart, mind, and strength means letting go of porn, unfaithfulness, and thinking about past relationships.

Rev. 3:17-22 – You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Matt. 12:30 – He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.


Prayer: God help us live before you in truth. Help us let go of fear, fakeness, and lies that waste our time. Help us live on purpose and be all in, in whatever we do. Help the Bible-Belt in the South be free from religious spirits that would blind us to our true condition. Help us see the true state of our hearts, and our dire need for the fullness of You. Let us not continue to sit in church because our parents did, or our friends do, or because it’s expected of us, or even with the thought that it will make us right with You. Raise up more churches in the South that help people walk in ALL You have for us. Churches that can tear down generational and doctrinal lies and equip people to walk in their full purpose. Raise up leaders who call out our worthless idols and call us up to something more than a worthless life (Jer.2:5). Let the people of the South no longer be looked at as those who attempt to make something that is not the case appear true. Let us be Christians, mature, walking and living the way you lived, Jesus. Remove the mask for your glory, Amen.

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The Gift of Prophecy: 16

How do we know the difference between a true and false prophet? Let’s think in the realm of teaching to begin with. The Bible says there are true and false teachers, so what makes a teacher true or false?

2 Peter 2:3 (BSB) – In their greed, these false teachers will exploit you with tales they have concocted

(NLT) – In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money

A false teacher can say things that are true, and quote the Bible really well, but there is an issue with their delivery. What makes them false teachers is their heart/motive. If a teacher has greed in his heart, he can be moved to sculpt his teaching around whatever he deems necessary to get the money he desires. Tithes and offerings are biblical principles, so he can try to disguise his motives, but God looks at the heart:

1 Sam. 16:7 – the Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart

Satan does the same. Satan is a false god and an anti-Christ. He quotes scripture to us, making us believe we are listening to God’s voice, yet he twists the context God’s word so that we fall into sin:

Matt. 4:5-7 – Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Jesus knew the difference between God and Satan’s voices by comparing God’s words to the rest of God’s words. The way the word was being presented did not line up with God’s character as seen in the rest of the Bible. So, how do we know the difference in a true and a false prophet? Let me state yet another way:

Lev. 19:11 – Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.

Do not lie is one of the Ten Commandments, right? Yet, during the Holocaust people deceived Nazi soldiers by hiding Jewish people. They lied to the government to protect God’s people. Was this a sin? Let’s look:

2 Kings 5:15-19 – Then Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel… please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

Naaman was a Syrian soldier with leprosy. When God healed him, he gave God his full heart, however it was part of his job to help the Syrian king bow to a false god. Naaman asked God’s forgiveness in advance and God knew the condition of his heart–that he didn’t want to bow to the false god. Naaman’s heart was positioned correctly with God, as were the hearts of those who protected the Jews during the Holocaust.

Sin is a heart issue and so sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a Pastor who truly wants you to grow closer to God, and a pastor who is trying to take advantage of you somehow. If Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light, how much more can a person:

2 Cor. 11:14 – And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.



What is a false prophet?

2 Peter 2:1 – But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.

For there to be something false, there has to be something true. Just because there are false teachers, false pastors, or false prophets doesn’t mean we get rid of all teachers, pastors, and prophets. We should be wary against anything false, but should also praise God for giving us true prophets.

A false prophet, just like a false teacher or pastor, is a prophet whose heart motives have turned toward wickedness. Just like the false teacher or pastor, the false prophet can speak the truth and prophesy correctly what God is saying, but they will twist God’s words into something that benefits themselves:

Jer. 28:15-16 – Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies… you have preached rebellion against the Lord.

Here we see a true prophet confronting a false prophet. The reason Hananiah was a false prophet was because he preached rebellion against the Lord.

Rev. 2:20 – Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

This false prophet taught people that sexual immorality was okay. Many false pastors today are teaching that the gifts of the Spirit aren’t for today. Both of these are sin and preaching rebellion against the Lord.

A true prophet, teacher, pastor, etc will be known to be true by the fruit of their work. Their words will line up with God’s character as seen in the rest of the Bible.

Matt. 7:15-17 – Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Unity in the Trinity

The Spirit in John 14  //  Unity in the Trinity

Anytime we look at the character of one member of the Trinity, that character will hold true for all members of the Trinity. Each member is completely separate and completely unified at the same time.


John 14:1 – Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me (Jesus).

Holy Spirit would say: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in Jesus; believe also in me.

This is supported here:

2 Cor. 3:17 – the Lord is the Spirit

John 14:6-7 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well…”

Holy Spirit answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to Jesus except through me. If you really know me, you will know Jesus as well…”

This is supported here:

1 Cor. 12:3 – Therefore I want you to know that… no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

John 14:9-11 – Anyone who has seen me (Jesus) has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

Holy Spirit would say: Anyone who has seen me has seen Jesus. How can you say, ‘Show us Jesus? Don’t you believe that I am in Jesus, and that Jesus is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is Jesus, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in Jesus and Jesus is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

This is supported here:

John 16:13-15 – But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He (Holy Spirit) will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me (Jesus) because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.

The Holy Spirit is going to tell us what is yet to come and it will glorify God. Why would we stifle something that glorifies God and gives us foresight?

John 14:12-17,25-26 – Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing… the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you

The only way for us to do what Jesus did is by the power of the Holy Spirit, who equips us with the same tools that Jesus had.

This is supported here:

1 Cor. 12:7-11 – to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

The Gift of Prophecy: 1

Eph. 4:11 – Christ gave them apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

All five of these were given as gifts to His people, and all play a part in growing people to maturity with their seperate functions. None have priority over the others. Christ gave these, so we aren’t talking about Old Testament prophets. He said we needed all 5 to help us reach maturity… we can all tell that the body of Christ has not reached maturity yet. If we had, Christ would have returned from His spotless bride.

Teaching allows us to gain a full understanding of God’s principals for life, growth, service, etc. Prophecy imparts the express purpose of God in our current situations.

Teaching shows us the mind of God, while prophecy often reveals his heart.

Matt. 12:34 – From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

2 Peter 1:21 – prophecy never came from man, but was sent by God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

His heart will never countermand scripture (his mind).

1 John 4:1 – So do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God

~Developing Your Prophetic Gifting, by Graham Cooke ~

Follow Desire or Prophecy?

Abraham tried to figure out a way to make God’s promise/prophecy work. Every time we try to help God out, we are in danger of producing our own Ishmael. It wasn’t what God had in mind! Abraham was deceived.
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Abraham believed God’s promise, however the prophecy was taking a long time. Abraham wondered if there was something he was doing wrong. He asked questions like: ‘Is there something that I need to do to make the prophecy come to pass? Is God waiting on me to do something? Shouldn’t I be co-laboring with God? What am I missing?’
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Deception means: to look for something where it’s not. Webster’s dictionary defines it as: fraud, double dealing, or trickery.
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I personally went through an experience where I gathered all the prophecies I had received through the years, looked over them, and tried to imagine what the fulfillment of those would look like. Suddenly, I found myself putting 30k toward a business I knew nothing about, plus going into debt for the first time in my life, all while unemployed, because I thought that was how the prophecies would all align. I found myself at the Red Sea waiting for God to part the waters, but I was too afraid to co-labor with the plan/prophecies anymore because I didn’t have money to survive. I later forfeited; I called the company, called it fraud and got a full refund (thank God). In my favor, they let me keep the books, allowed me to keep a few business start up mentoring sessions, and I found a local real estate mentor (for life instead of 6 months) for 1/30th of the price. Through all this, I learned that perhaps following our desires is the better option, than looking to our prophecies as a roadmap for our life. After all God isn’t controlling, so when He prophesied that I would have a business, knowing right well that I did not desire a business, I should have held the horses. Hmm, He did prophesy to ‘throttle back’; guess I missed that one! God tells us in Phillipians 2:14 that, ‘God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.’ So if you’ve ever received a prophecy that didn’t line up with your current desires, then sleep on it for a while; it may be for the future.
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As I started to look into the topic of ‘desire’, I found these gems too:
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Phil. 2:13 – it is I who gave you those desires

Prov. 16:26 – a worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on

If I didn’t have a desire for a business, that’s what I should have listened to–not try to force a prophecy to its fulfillment. God chooses to use our desires to lead us into the fulfillment of His plan for our lives. That’s what freedom looks like. God will shape and form your desires, and it’s at that point that you can co-labor with Him. And of course we aren’t talking about the desires of the flesh (Rom.13:13-14) here… we are talking about the desires to do His good, pleasing, and perfect will, which unfold as we continue to follow the path of righteousness.
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Any normal person would follow their desires… *self jab. Any normal person is following their flesh desires… right into the flames of hell. Put me down for trying something different! Antonyms for normal: abnormal, different, irregular, rare, uncommon, untraditional, unusual, exceptional, extreme (amen!), eccentric, insane (to the flesh)…  extraordinary! I’ll keep that last one tucked away for later. *self protect
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quotes_confusedBack to Abraham, we should take note that his desire was for his wife. It was his wife who directed his efforts from his desire, onto seeing the prophecy fulfilled and onto sleeping with the servant girl. We should also note that God was still gracious to his confused efforts by blessing Ishmael. However, God didn’t allow Ishmael, or Abraham’s efforts, to replace His original purpose and perfect will.

Rom. 11:29 – for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable

When God decides to give us something, He doesn’t change His mind, no matter what we do. In light of this scripture, I could’ve stood firm and rested in knowing that even if I hadn’t gotten back all the money I’d worked so hard to save, I could still believe God’s promise to me that: You won’t have to worry about finances; everything will be paid for; you’ll travel in state, out of state, and internationally, and live over seas for a time while being reimbursed like a job’. O, throttle back my heart, and wait for God to turn desire into fulfillment!

Healing the Orphan Spirit – Part 2

Book Review
Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland // Part 2

Below are some quotes, scriptures, and notes from the book. In Part 1 we left off with Job in his depression. Realizing that sometimes we have to lose the things we are relying on before the real issues can come to the surface. Loss is never fun, but it is an effective way to have to face your underlying issues. A brief moment of loss is worth going through, because we then deal with and find healing from the surfacing issues, knowing that once the season is over God will restore us with a two fold blessing of anything we lost.


 

Micah 7:8-9 – Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.

David, Job, and Solomon all mentioned how they saw wicked people flourish on earth. They also noted that they finally came to an understanding of why. The wicked are judged in eternity, so God allows them to live as they choose while on earth. We however, are free from judgement in Christ; yet as the children of God, we are disciplined, directed, and corrected by the Father while on earth, so that we can live a more prosperous life. That discipline and allowance of some fires/trials, help the dross rise to the surface. Dross is the impurity in metal. When heated up those impurities surface and the metal worker skims it away, purifying the metal. We will ‘bear the indignation’ for our sins for a brief moment, but the whole time Jesus is advocating for us to execute justice on our behalf, and see all things work out to our benefit.

 

1 Peter 1:7 – These trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

God tells us that we are of much greater worth than gold. Gold is put through fire, but it will not always be around. We however, are put through fire and get to live in eternity in our purified state.

Zech. 13:9 – This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’

I love this verse. It shows us that even though God finds dross and impurities in us, he still claims us as His children. The world has a habit of allowing hard times to drive us away from each other, but God shows us that in a relationship that displays true love and true commitment, hard times actually bring you closer together. It’s when we go through the fire that we claim and cling to God.

The enemy will try to create confusion about your future.

New. 4:6-9 – So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.

If you are in a season of seeking healing from God, setting boundaries, and building back up the things that the enemy has destroyed, then rest assured the enemy’s tactic will be to come and create confusion. In fact, if you’re making enough progress, and working intensely at it, all the spirits that you’ve ever cast out may conspire to come attack you all at the same time. That’s been my experience in this season. It was also what Nehemiah witnessed as Israel built up the wall of Jerusalem with one hand, and defended themselves with the other. In order to be successful in this venture, we have to be on watch day and night, prepared to stand our ground and not give up on the progress we’ve made so far.

If the enemy can cut you off from your future, you will always go back to your past. The word confusion means, ‘to hinder’.

New. 6:9 –  For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”

Don’t sit on the sidelines. For many believers, the enemy created enough confusion in their life that they stepped away from the calling of God on their life, and decided to sit this one out. He will do all that he can to stop your progress. The ultimate strategy for the enemy is to stop the growth and maturity of the believer. When Nehemiah was faced with this strategy, he prayed ‘God strengthen (take hold of) my hands’.

Like Eve in the garden of Eden, the enemy knows that if he can create enough doubt about the validity of God’s word, then he knows he can continue with his strategy of moving us from certainty to doubt.

Micah 7:8 – Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.

Micah stated ‘when i fall’, not if I fall. That is the story of most of the people in the Bible. Moses committed murder, David adultery and murder, Jonah ran from God, Noah got drunk, Peter denied Jesus. We all fall. Just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker – William A Ward
Failure is good. It’s fertilizer
– Rick Pitino
Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently – Henry Ford

Facts don’t always line up with the truth. The facts may say you’re going under, but the truth of the matter is, you will make it to the other side.

2 Kings 6:15-18 – when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

In the naturally they were surrounded by an army. The facts were against them. Sometimes we just need to ask God to open our spiritual eyes so we can see His army around us waiting to protect us and carry out His good will.

Eph. 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people

You can have light in your mind, but your heart has to be enlightened.

What does it take for the thoughts of hope to become seeded in our hearts? At what point does the hope start to enlighten our hearts?

Much like Nehemiah, the wall wasn’t built in a day. It was ‘a great work’ that took time and effort.

Prov. 4:18 – The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

We begin our journey with Christ while in darkness. We then travel, heading toward the light. Our path grows brighter and brighter with each step toward righteousness.

What is a stronghold? 

  • It’s where darkness reigns
  • It’s a thought pattern alien to the Word of God
  • It’s anything in us strong enough to keep us from becoming like Christ in a given area of life
  • It’s a command post, which the enemy works in the surrounding areas. It’s a system of logic that is a lie used to perpetrate the purposes of the enemy in our lives
  • It’s an act of rebellion much like cancer in the human body

2 Cor. 10:4-5 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholdsWe demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

A stronghold is a mindset. It is a system of lies that we believe that have made us unable to live in freedom in a certain realm of our lives.

Mark 3:27 – Let me illustrate this further. Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods?Only someone even stronger–someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.

Mark 3:27 – But no one can go into a strong man’s house and steal his property unless he first overpowers and ties up the strong man, and then he will ransack and rob his house.

If we have a stronghold mindset, then we have a strong man (demon) residing there. The only way to deal with it is to ask Jesus to overpower it. Ask Jesus to tie up, or bind, the evil spirit and reclaim us as His holy temple and abiding place (home).

We always need to be on guard to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’. Any lie or enemy that slips past the guard can create of bondage situation. We will be like a wrestler whose component has gained a foothold (Eph.4:27), and if we don’t recognize it and get out of it, the enemy will gain a leg hold, and then a stronghold.

Strongholds are like a cancer. Just as cancer is an incorrigible maverick and refuses to be checked, rebellious thoughts, that have resisted orders from the head (Christ), have gone into thought patterns that are against the revealed truth of God. Cancer must be detected early, and rooted out. The longer it is allowed to exist in the body, the more it spreads, and the more complex the root system becomes, which will surely bring death.

The longer it lasts, the more rigid are the ideas that give the bondage a foundation.

Without the capacity to detect which thoughts are ours, which are God’s, and which are the enemy’s, we will be open prey for the demons to attack.

Intimacy requires a feeling of safety and security. Without security you will not open up!

The prodigal son had to learn the hard way that it is better to dwell in the house of his Father, rather than live in the dwelling place of the wicked.

Luke 15:18-19 – I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’

He did not care if he would be relegated to the position of a slave as long as the father was nearby. He knew wherever the father went there would be provision and blessing. He had spent everything he had in pursuit of happiness and ended up more miserable than ever. He was hungry for more than food; he was hungry for his fathers love.

No amount of good deeds can change your status from slave to son. The amount of sacrifice you have struggled with over the years pale in comparison to the glory of sonship.  This is why works cannot buy this privilege.

Father, is there any part of me that is like the prodigal son who has squandered or been careless with my inheritance just to pursue pleasures or desires that will not last? Is there any part of me that is like the elder son and where I try to work for what is already mine?

I refuse to live any part of my life in the slave’s quarter anymore because I know the palace is my inheritance.

‘I am no longer worthy to be called your son’ – Luke 15:21
‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him’ – Luke 15:22

The prodigal son could have reasoned with his father insisting he was unworthy of such kindness… and he would have been theologically correct. According to the Law, he did not deserve mercy but punishment. Sometimes we try to preach to God and tell Him we know more about scriptures than He does. When we try to refuse the kindness of God because of our past history and failures, we think we are doing Him a favor.

Romans 13:14 – clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ

God gives us His best robe. He clothes us with His righteousness through Christ. In jewish history, the best robe was one that the father would have worn himself. This was a prophetic foretelling of what God had in mind, to give us and clothe us with His Holy Spirit.

You can have the most expensive wardrobe comprised of signature clothing from well-known designers, but in the spiritual realm you are still naked.

Jesus was stripped naked before he was hung on the cross. He was made naked so He could pass on His clothes to us. The robe of glory and righteousness is also a badge of authority because in the spiritual realm it establishes the identity of the owner. The owner of that robe has full access  to what Father owns, and no servant of Father will refuse his request for help.

Jesus said he did not come for the righteous, but for sinners (Mark 2:17). As long as the elder brother continued to believe he could work his way into the heart of his father, he could never experience true sonship and would never receive what was graciously given to his prodigal brother. Saul had the orphan spirit, and, for it to be dislodged he had to go through a process. First, he fell off his high horse of religious pride, and was blinded. During his restoration process, he was made into a new person, and given a new name: Paul.

He will not lecture us, but love us, for we are His prize possession.

The mercy and love of our Father is amazing. He took extraordinary lengths to restore back to us our identity, our inheritance, and our position as sons and daughters.

They could not believe that Jesus, a supposedly righteous teacher, was actually having fun! He ate and talked with sinners, rubbed elbows with greedy tax agents, received food prepared by prostitutes, and answered questions asked by petty thieves and crooks.

Though Jesus taught occasionally in the synagogues (churches), he mostly taught as each opportunity arose in his day to day life.

Most of us will play the role of the prodigal son and the elder brother at some point in our lives.

I went from being a prodigal son to being the elder brother. I tried to win the favor of my Father by working tirelessly.

Jesus did not talk about the love of God based on what He knew from reading scriptures, but from an intense personal experience.

On July 31, 1838 on the Island of Jamaica, a man named William Knibbs gathered 10,000 slaves for a great praise gathering. They were celebrating the New Emancipation Proclamation Act that would abolish slavery on the island. They had built an immense coffin and into it were placed whips, chains, branding irons, fetters of all kinds, salve garments, and all the things that represented the terrible slavery system that was now coming to a welcomed end.

At the first stroke of the midnight bell, Knibbs shouted out, ‘The monster is dying.’ At each stroke of the bell that followed, this cry was repeated and the great crowd began to join in the cry. At the 12th stroke 10,000 voices cried out, ‘The monster is dead, the monster is dead, let us bury him.’ They then screwed the coffin lid down and lowered it into a huge grave and covered it up. That night, every heart rejoiced and 10,000 voices grew hoarse, shouting and crying with joy. Once they were in bondage to slavery, but now they were free.

There is a tragic side to this story. While many rejoiced in their new liberty and freedom, there were some slaves that lived in remote areas of the island. These slaves did not know they had been legally set free. Because they didn’t know for many years the Emancipation Proclamation had been made law, they still serve their slave masters. Their former masters successfully kept the news from them as long as they could. By law they had been declared free men and did not have to live as slaves any longer. However, ignorance of the truth kept them in bondage.

Hearing this may cause a feeling of sympathy or even anger, But the truth is, the same type of thing is happening in our day. Jesus through the cross has issued an Emancipation Proclamation of freedom from sin to everyone on earth, but like some of the Jamaicans, there are those today that don’t understand that they no longer have to live as slaves to sin.

As America continues to suffer from racial division I would add that there are even slaves who have legally been freed, but who choose to remain in their slavery. Instead of burying the whips, chains, dependences, and words that represent the slavery system coming to an end, they are holding on to them and using them against their own people. We can all understand the human desire to turn the tables, choose not to forgive, and make the masters children pay for the sins our their fathers, but to take the pains and turn them against their own people… that’s heart wrenching.

If we continue to use words that represent certain ideas, then you better believe that we are keeping those ideas alive. Satan loves to shape culture, and he has shaped a culture that is eating us alive where former slaves continue to use inflammatory words to describe their own brothers. As long as this continues they will never be free from the ideas and inflammation those words represent. They will live under the words/mindset as slaves, never realizing that they have already been set free. They will continue to hate the people who created the word, never looking up to realize that it’s themselves who are now using it. Freedom is scary, and it’s hard work, and it’s easy to give up and lay down especially if that’s what you’ve been trained to do.

Satan’s chief joy is to separate children from God, while Father’s delight is to turn their hearts back to Him.

Satan offered Jesus a chance to rule the world. He said if you worship me, I’ll give you. Satan always wants something before he’ll give something. Satan wants to give us the same gift that God wants to give us, not out of love, but as an opportunity to win us. He will dangle the gift in front of us and try to use it to his advantage. He’ll give it to us prematurely so that we can’t enjoy it. He’ll try to beat God to the punch so that we won’t get closer to Him. His way always comes at great price. God is the only good Father, and the only one who gives good gifts. He gives them to us freely, because He loves us. He will never ask for something beforehand or afterward. It’s a free gift.

He will teach us how to handle the gift however.

The passing of his tests qualified him to receive a nation, not as a servant, but a a beloved son.

Jer. 32:40 – I will never stop doing good to you

Jer. 32:41 – I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul

Phil. 2:13 – For it is I who gave you those desires

In Jesus, my love for you is revealed (John17:26). He is the exact representation of my being (Heb.1:3). He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Rom.8:31).


 

Well, there’s some quotes, scriptures, and thoughts from the book. Not necessarily cohesive, but tidbits of goodness. Get the book for the full read:

Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland – $9

 

Healing the Orphan Spirit – Part 1

Book Review:
Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland – Part 1


 

Here are some take away quotes, ideas, and statistics from the book–and some personal notes:

A true orphan knows what it means to live life without the security, stability, and warmth of a physical home. A spiritual orphan is not any different. He is also well acquainted with the feelings of fear, anxiety, rejection, and homelessness even if he has a place to go home to at night.

Children from fatherless homes are more likely to be:

  • Poor
  • Become involved in drug and alcohol abuse
  • Drop out of school
  • Suffer from health and emotional problems
  • Boys are more likely to become involved in crime
  • Girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens

Adam & Eve were not born orphans, but they acquainted the orphan spirit the moment they left the Presence of God.

Genesis 3:8-10 – And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Man deals with fear by pushing it deep down in his spirit. Since he does not allow the Father to remove that fear, he begins to struggle and tries to handle it on his own. Instead of acknowledging fear within the inner-core, we learn how to be self-reliant, thinking we can fight off the rising dread within our spirit.

We cope with fear through the outbursts of anger, or we do the opposite and turn the emotion inward and retreat within ourselves. We are constantly pressured to fix everything on our own. We retreat because we are afraid to deal with the real situation at hand for it might hurt too much. We think if we ignore the problem or dilemma, it will just go away.

We turn our hearts to steel, thinking that, if we make our inner being as tough as a rock, we might become impervious to the string of failure and rejection. In order to sustain that tough exterior, we learn how to reject the love, comfort, and admonition we receive from other people. We live life without a home while we try to create the self into an island fortress, striving to be self-sufficient and having the ability to go through life without experiencing the rewards of fellowship and true friendship.

A deep-seeded fear drives us to succeed at all costs.

Overwhelmed, we begin to indulge in escapism. Alcohol, drugs, porn, or more socially acceptable mechanisms like losing oneself in relationships, drowning oneself in books, tv, video games, etc. In these instances we can sometimes justify our escape patterns, because the things we are escaping to are not sins. Nonetheless, addiction sets in, and before we know it, we are already neck-deep in the deal’s quicksand.

Prov. 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

We are commanded to be in awe of His ways and obey Him. However, we were never told to fear the presence of God.

Ephesians 3:12 – In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If we do not understand the ways of the father, then it is perfectly understandable why we are afraid when He is near.

Instead of seeing God’s commandments as coming from the heart of a loving God, we see them as restrictions. The laws of God are seen by many as a test instead of as signposts, which would lead to a blessed life. Thus, there are 2 ways the orphan spirit will cope with this fear of Father: 1) rebellion 2) religion.

Religion assumes that formalities and adherence to a man-made code of beliefs will justify his lack of true contact with Father.

The result of sin is shame. Many choose to rebel instead of putting up with shame. They flaunt their sinfulness for the whole world to see. The religious person, on the other hand, tries to deal with shame by attempting to appease God with good deeds.

The newly freed Hebrew slaves were more than willing to go back into bondage simply because they could not believe the Lord would fulfill His promise to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. One glance at their immediate circumstances forced them to conclude that God had brought them into the desert to die.

Rom. 8:14-17 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

John 15:4 – Abide in Me, and I in you.

Jesus uses the illustration of the grape vine to make clear to His disciples what He means, and in this illustration the word abide is used eleven times. The word abide means to continue on in a permanent state.

Walk through a vineyard and you will see fruit but no tension. You will never walk up to a branch and hear it complaining or struggling to bear fruit. It knows that the fruit it bears comes from inside the life of the tree and not from ‘working it up’ on the outside of the branch.

Works are a product of the arm of the flesh, while fruit is a product of abiding in Christ. Fruit is a natural outgrowth of our union with Him.

We must abide in the vine of where Christ has placed us if we are going to produce fruit. If we don’t, we will end up like the Hebrews, ‘making bricks without straw.’ Lots of busy activity with nothing to show for it! Fruit is the result of life, not hard work.

Most of us understand the principle of tithing, or giving the first fruits of what God gives us. The word ‘fruit’ is used throughout scripture with more than just money however. It is used with soul winning, holy living, character, and praise:

Heb. 13:15 – Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of our lips that openly profess his name.

In tithing we give back to God the first 10% of what we receive from Him. In praise, why can’t we give back the first fruits as well? Give God praise with the first 10 minutes of your day. It’s a sacrifice, not always something we want to do or feel like doing. Science has proven that uplifting words can put you in a better mood. Fake it till you make it actually works after all!

If we talk about vineyards, then we also need to talk about pruning.

  • What does He prune? Whatever hinders my growth!
  • When will He prune? At the right season to produce the greatest amount of fruit.

Pruning is necessary for maximum productivity. If there is no pruning, there will be no increase in fruit.

Abraham tried to figure out a way to make God’s word work. Every time we try to help God out, we are in danger of producing our own Ishmael. It wasn’t what God had in mind! Abraham was deceived.

Abraham believed God’s promise. The prophecy was taking a long time. Abraham wondered if there was something he was doing wrong. Is there something that I need to do to make the prophecy come to pass? Is God waiting on me? Shouldn’t I be co-laboring with God? What am I missing?

Deception means: to look for something where it’s not. Webster says it is: fraud, double dealing, or trickery.

This could be the lost entry to my diary: Turning Point 13 – I took the prophecies I received, and did what I thought I needed to do to co-labor with God and see them come to pass. I put 30k toward a business I knew nothing about. I later figured out it wasn’t God. I called the company, called it fraud and got a full refund (thank God). Plus, they let keep the books, so I have learning material to grow into. I now have money to live on, buy a new car, or whatever. And my anxiety is a little less, seeing that the money isn’t sitting in mutual funds wasting away with the declining economy and I have 4 jobs biting this week. Guy Harvey at the beach, 50k without moving, slow & easy life + a free house, or meet a doctor? Hmm… ? All great things and hard choices!

God was still gracious to Abraham’s confused efforts, by blessing Ishmael. However, God didn’t allow Ishmael or Abraham’s efforts to replace His original purpose.

Rom. 11:29 – for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable

When God decides to give us something, He doesn’t change His mind, no matter what we do.

2 Cor. 3:6 – the written text brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Religion lives for rules. Rules are how we control people, especially in the church.

The Pharisees:

  • Loved prominence
  • Endangered the souls of men
  • Majored on the mechanics of religion
  • Lived a double standard
  • Talk didn’t match their walk

Rom. 7:24 – Who will rescue me from this body of death?

The term to which Paul alludes to is descriptive of a shocking execution that was employed by the Romans. A cadaver would be fastened to the condemned person so that he could not be released from the corpse. The deceased, decaying flesh of the cadaver accompanied every move he made. Eventually he would die a slow, painful, and emotionally horrifying death. It’s ghastly to think about, but that’s what it looks like for a person living without Christ. Their sin follows them wherever they go and produces death.

Facts of Fatherlessness:

  • The percentage of kids born out-of-wedlock has grown 223% since 1970.
  • 7 of of 10 African-American kids are born out-of-wedlock.
  • 3 out of 10 Caucasian kids are born out-of-wedlock, an increase of 440% since 1970.
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
  • 60% of repeat rapists grew up without father.
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from a fatherless home.
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother.
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
  • 70% of juveniles in state prison have no father.
  • 85% of youth in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
  • 75% of prisoners grew up without a father.
  • Fatherless boys are 2x’s as likely to drop out of high school, 2x’s as likely to end up in jail, 4x’s more likely to need help with emotional or behavioral problems.
  • 43% of US children live without their father.
  • Each year America spends $48 billion on incarceration, $5 billion on parole and probation, and $6.5 billion on juvenile detention due to fatherlessness.
  • Over 6 billion people are in the correctional system due to fatherlessness. That is almost the same as the population of Hong Kong, China, or 3 times the population of Houston, Texas.

John 14:16-18 – And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

In the parable of the prodigal son we see two sons without a father. The rebellious son and the religious son. Both lived outside their father’s love.

Rebellious: The son has to wait, in most cases, for the last will and testament of the father, but this son asked for and received his inheritance early. He wanted his inheritance early so he could live outside of the fathers will. He took it and left for another country, creating as much distance as possible between him and the father. He wanted total control over his own life and did not want the guidance or approval of his father.

The son wasted his money on wild living, and when he had nothing left to give, his friends left him. Severe famine hit the land and he was forced to hire himself out as a pig farmer. He wasn’t treated like a human being. In fact, he was treated lower than slaves, as even the pigs were considered more important than him! He begged his master to give him a portion of the pig feed and they refused.

Then he remembered his father and that even his servants had food to spare. He came to his senses. Only one thing held him back: his belief that no one could accept a rebel such as himself.


As Jesus taught this parable, Pharisees and teachers of the law were listening. They probably wondered why Jesus was wasting his time talking about a sinner who deserved to be punished. They were confident they knew the Law and the moral of the lesson. The Law called for death:

Deut. 21:18-21 – If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

To the Pharisees, it would have been better for the prodigal to stay away because his father had the legal right to stone him for his rebellious attitude.

God welcomes back his lost son with open arms, giving him the best of all he has, and restoring him to sonship. God doesn’t want us to hide from Him like Adam & Eve did. He wants us to be restored to Him.


Religious: The elder brother from the parable of the prodigal son was noted to be working the fields with the servants. His rightful place was in the presence of the father, but he seemed oblivious to the fact that he was a son. He manifested the orphan spirit in a different way by acting as if he did not have a home, when, in fact, he had legal rights as an heir. The Pharisees, like the elder son, knew the father, yet did not seek intimacy. Instead they built a religion, or a to do list of works, around Him. Most modern churches still exhibit this model: Israel wanted God’s blessings and what He could do for them, but they did not want anything to do with seeking their Father’s face. They encouraged Moses to enter into the tent of meeting to commune with the Lord, while the rest of the nation of Israel were content to stay in their tents far away from the Presence of God.

God reminds the elder son that he is an heir, and has continual access to all the father has. Remember that you are a son and not a slave. Don’t let your work separate you from God, or think that your work is the only way to God, or think that God will only love you if you do His work. You are more important to Him than something you can do for Him. He has enough servants; He wants a son.

The father tried to change his mindset to think like an heir. ‘Everything I have is yours’ – Luke 15:31

Don’t continue to look with envy at the resources within your grasp while feeling unable to even glean from the ripened harvest.

We can’t earn His love. He freely bestows His love on us all, so stop working like a slave for it.

Our fathers nitpicked, condemned, and cut us down. They pointed out every flaw. They belittled us, made us feel unloved, made us feel like we had to earn their love by changing ourselves to get to their standard. We had to climb, work, and change to become something that they could approve. Sometimes it might have worked, but most of the time it didn’t. Who wants to change to live up to that evil standard anyway? Our heavenly Father wants us to know that we don’t have to do anything to earn His love.

Rom. 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loves us while we are still sinners. He wants us just the way we are. We don’t have to strive, or constantly work to change ourself to His standard. We can rest in His love now, where we are, whether that be in a state of sin or righteousness. He will never stop loving us, so stop trying to earn it; He’s not going anywhere.

There is nothing I can do that can take Your love from me; and there is nothing I can do to make You love me because it is not about the doing. You just love me because I am Yours

Job is an illustration of what the orphan spirit looks like. In his case it took the pressure of difficulty to bring it out, but it is obvious it was there all along.

The Black Hole
The orphan spirit will:

  • Seek to drive a wedge between our heart and our Father’s love
  • Try to convince us that God is to blame for all our troubles
  • Cause us to look for answers from any other source but our Father
  • Create confusion and distance between us, and those closest to us
  • Cause us to live in despair when not healed by the power of Christ
  • Job saw himself as an animal trapped by circumstances. Job 19:6 – ‘it is God who has wronged me, capturing me in his net.’
  • Job felt like an innocent man being condemned as a criminal in court. He felt like God was treating him unfairly. Job 19:7 – ‘Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.’
  • Job felt like he was making progress, enjoying life, and doing all the right things before God put a roadblock in front of him.Job 19:8 – ‘He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, And He has put darkness on my paths.’
  • Job blamed God for taking away every good thing he had. Job 19:9 – ‘He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head.’
  • It’s hard to be normal and function the way we want to when everything is out of sorts. Job felt like a building that had been completely destroyed. Job 19:9 – ‘He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone’
  • An uprooted tree will die. Without its root system it will not produce fruit or survive. Job 19:9 – ‘my hope has he pulled up like a tree.’

Heaviness takes the color out of life, and makes it difficult to see the truth clearly. Heaviness makes it hard to find purpose and direction in life. Heaviness can come from a variety of reasons:

Constant Criticism:
Ps. 69:20 – Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, but found no one.

Spiritual Failure:
Ps. 119:25-28 – My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.

Family Difficulties:
Prov. 10:1 – A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

Worry:
Prov. 12:25 – Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Trials & Pressures:
1 Peter 1:6 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials

to be continued