The Ugly Truth:
(Erin Vreeland, Dream 44) “The spirit of Elijah does not come in comfort like the spirit of a Hivite. He is not a prophet of comfort, but truth.“
At some point during my life, I am wondering if the Lord offered me either divine wisdom or the spirit of Elijah (or maybe even both), though I am not at all certain. But long ago, He did put in me an intense desire to see the truth, even the ugly truth — yet entirely free of condemnation. Yea! (I have heard that this is a strong Asperger’s trait?) It truly is amazingly easy to see the ugly truth about ourselves when there is no accompanying sense of condemnation.
(John 14:6) “I am the way and the truth and the life…“
Does the heart of our Lord only accept the “pretty” truth? I think not. I believe Him to be the God of “all” truth, which includes the ugly truth. Yet, His enemy does not want us to grow close to Him in spirit and in truth. (The Action: Judgment, The Sentence: Condemnation, The Verdict: Rejection) Is not “rejection” the very sting that causes us to fear the action of judgment and the sentence of condemnation? Is not the “fear” of the sting of rejection a tool that Satan uses to convince us to run from, hide from or fight against facing the ugly truth about ourselves?
(John 3:17) “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.“
Yet, Jesus is so gentle and kind, humble and mild, and does not reject any of His children during their brief lesson of good and evil simply because they all sin and fall short. As ambassadors of His kingdom, should we not also live this way? As fellow sparrows in the Lord’s barn, should we not also trust and expect this from one other?
I love seeing and talking openly about the ugly truth without any condemnation what-so-ever. Standing free, fully transparent in the light-of-truth without fear of rejection, feels wonderful (so good). I very-much wish you all could experience this the way I do. Maybe some of you can. Maybe some of you have? Sadly, I have learned that many can not. The enemy very often causes even those I deeply care about to hear judgmental words which I never spoke…
Demonic Filters: (A Flanking Maneuver)
(Retah Mcpherson Newsletter 07/20/2013) “When unresolved issues -or- anger, known or unknown, reside in our hearts, it makes us listen through demonic filters. These filters distort our perceptions. In all Yeshua’s love He told me that nothing will just disappear, no! ‘Ask My Glory light in those painful memories and allow Me to show you the lies that you believed, the judgments that are still in your heart, and then allow Me to show you the truth – because only My truth will set you free.’…But, we have so much pride that we do not want to face our pain and allow Holy Spirit to reveal and work with the pain and lies.“
Words of truth are not always comfortable for us to hear. But from me and others like me, these words are “not” spoken in judgment or condemnation of anyone. They are spoken as an act of bold, selfless love with the ever-undying hope of spiritual growth and ultimately — victory. There is no rejection accompanying such words. Yet, at the very same moment that someone’s well-meaning words approach us from head-on, spirits of fear, insecurity or pride will immediately whisper to us from the side. This is known as a flanking maneuver. These flanking spirits are acting as “filters”, attempting to distort our perception the instant any very-personal or sensitive words are communicated to us, encouraging us to read-between-the-lines and make negative assumptions about “why” these words were spoken, tempting us to become hurt — and even — to hurt back…
Being Used As An Enemy Weapon:
(July 21, 2013 Prophecy received by Susan Davis) “Forgive those around you for the way the enemy has worked through them to cause you pain. Although you suffer, it is at the hand of the enemy more than those around you. They are just weak, because they do not have the Power of MY HOLY SPIRIT to ward off sin and walk perfect in MY Will.“
Have not we all been used as an enemy weapon at times? Does not every one of us know the regret of words loosely spoken in reaction? It better befits us as warriors to “first” closely examine our feelings and carefully weigh the truthfulness of the very thoughts that caused them. This kind of introspection the Holy Spirit of God can empower us to do. Let us all continually ask and reach out for those valuable fruits of the Spirit known as “patience” and “self-control”, and then seek to see the “whole truth” in our midst, rather than allowing ourselves to unthinkingly react instead, lest to our shame a fiery arrow be shot from our mouth yet again.
Taking Thoughts Captive: (Battling Against Reacting To Assumptions)
(2 Corinthians 10:5) “We 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.“
It matters not if the thoughts we encounter are (1) flanking thoughts, attempting to “filter” someone’s well-meaning words of “ugly truth” (whether imparted lovingly or “imperfectly”), or (2) flanking thoughts that are pushing us hard to thoughtlessly retaliate against someone who is being used as a hurtful enemy weapon, or (3) just thoughts that appear in our mind out of the blue. Taking captive every thought means — “every” thought — (as exhausting as that sounds). How willing and determined are we to fight for Jesus against His enemy in these last days? There will never come a time to fight for God like this again. So, how do we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ?
Obviously, as a simple child of God, a warrior in training myself, I lack the fullness of understanding to answer that question. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that this just might be one of those questions who’s answer is uniquely tailored to each of us. However, my first bits of universal advice to prepare us for this process would be: “Close your mouth and slow way down.” (Philippians 4:6) “Be anxious about nothing; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Don’t allow the enemy to successfully goad you into acting or speaking according to his will, for his purposes. Seek to consistently operate only from a spirit of patience and gentle peace. Now, let’s continue as if from there…
For me, Satan’s whispers are so silent and subtle that his “lying gossip” often enters in as rapid, half-concious thoughts. It has been my personal experience that, when requested through prayer, the Holy Spirit will diligently alert me to these lightning-fast enemy thoughts right away (waking me up to them) so that I may learn to recognize them and quickly disregard them, tossing them away. (James 4:7) “…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Then, I quickly move on without even pausing to dwell on what the enemy just tried to pull. I focus instead on my Coach, Jesus and His victory-smile.)
But sometimes, as Satan probes for holes in our spiritual armor, his lying gossip is allowed by the Coach to enter in unnoticed (without us receiving Holy-Spirit alarm bells). This would still not be a problem, if our awareness of where we reside (with the enemy in our midst) is constant, and we are habitually wise in the careful consideration of our thoughts before believing them. For, the words of a lying gossip can do us no harm until they are believed, right? Believing gossip without proof is a very dangerous kind of “assumption” that can have devastating and even deadly consequences, ending relationships and even lives. I wrote the following blog post last October about assumptions:
Journal Entry, October 16, 2012: Assumptions
It is vital that we hold our every thought captive (interrogating it like a prisoner) and throw it out if it is untrue, rebellious, unloving or in any other way disobedient to our Lord and unfit for the His kingdom. But, what about those moments-of-weakness when a thought that is not obedient to Christ remains on-the-loose, causing painful damage, tempting us to emotionally react like an unthinking animal…
Finding The Holes: (The Awareness And Habits Of A Warrior In Training)
Starting in dream five, the Lord has instructed us more than twenty times to “prepare”, “reinforce”, “put on” and “keep on” our “whole” spiritual armor, so that on the battlefield we can withstand the enemy’s attacks and hold our ground for the Lord. But, until we are perfected, our armor will have weak spots and holes, and the enemy’s fiery arrows will penetrate.
One perhaps rather obvious training technique, which I long-ago learned will readily identify freshly exploited holes in our spiritual armor, is yet another technique of awareness and discipline, and it begins by not allowing ourselves to blindly react to any sudden change in our heart (caused by the painful penetration of a fiery arrow), and habitually give in to our feelings without first considering them very carefully. For, we are very often defiled by the words that suddenly come out of our mouth (Matthew 15:11), turning us into an ugly weapon of the enemy, giving him further advantage in the heat of battle. Instead, as part of our ongoing training, we should earnestly and consistently exercise those fruits of the Spirit known as “patience” and “self-control”, using them to form within ourselves the new warrior-habit of always checking our feelings first, giving ourselves time to examine our heart closely and honestly, looking for evidence of “tampering by the enemy”…
The Tampering: (Evidence Of A Successfully Exploited Hole)
If our primary line-of-defense is weakened, and we allow ourselves to believe attacking thoughts without careful consideration, then they are immediately taken-to-heart, and the condition of our heart instantly changes, causing “signature” feelings to rise up (flavors of fear, anger, shame, hurt, etc.). It’s important that we know our enemy and his tactics, and certain feelings that suddenly appear in our heart are the telltale signature of his tampering thoughts, his fiery darts that were not held captive, but – penetrated.
Blindly giving in to these feelings without thinking can quickly lead us to react in ways that disappoint God, even temporarily turning us into an enemy weapon…
Filling In The Holes:
By patiently taking the time to be deeply honest (transparent) with ourselves about our feelings and closely examining the believed-thoughts that caused them, we can more readily identify our weaknesses and set them at Jesus’ feet. This seems to me to be the primary purpose for our Coach allowing some of Satan’s fiery arrows to penetrate. I believe that God is generously providing us with (non-judgmental) opportunities to realize our vulnerabilities and strengthen our armor.
Faithfully examine your feelings, then honestly (and non-judgmentally) consider the validity of all the thoughts that led to them. See for yourself if the enemy didn’t just find a vulnerability (a hole) through which to convince you to believe (and take-to-heart) a lie or even a half-truth without “first” (a) diligently seeking any real proof, or (b) inquiring of the Lord, or (c) relying on God’s word to powerfully expose any non-truth. The key to filling in an exploited hole is to carefully study the fiery arrow that exposed it and willingly (non-judgmentally) see the “whole truth” about yourself, even though it may be uncomfortable. (The spirit of Elijah does not come in comfort. The spirit of Elijah is serious and always for our good.)
(Erin Vreeland, Dream 25) “Children are closest to me — closest to My Heart!…When they become older, the world drains truth. The darkness veils the good…Further, those closest to My heart, are those that choose to live in full Truth — not believing half truths. Half-truths are fuel for every kind of deception.“
(Page 20 of the book, “The Bondage Breaker” by Neil T. Anderson) “If Satan can deceive you into believing what the Scripture says isn’t true, you will live as though it isn’t. People are in bondage to the lies they believe.“
(Proverbs 4:20-23) “Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart…Guard your heart, for out of it comes the Well spring (the issues) of Life.“
When the above three verses are considered in whole, don’t they, in fact, speak of keeping God’s words of truth in our heart and carefully guarding (shielding) our heart from becoming wounded by lies? Is this not the very essence of spiritual warfare? Isn’t holding tightly in faith to God’s truth in our heart, a mighty shield against the painful lying-arrows of the enemy?
(Erin Vreeland, Dream 23) “Sometimes wounds can cut to the very core of our spirit. Please don’t allow yourself to become part of the lies.“
Once an assumption is made (a lie is believed by our soul) it is immediately taken-to-heart and the wound to our spirit can be extreme and very long-lasting, our bondage, very heavy as we become enslaved by the lie. How many times have little children been deeply damaged by the thought, “I somehow caused the bad thing that happened in my family”? Where was their defense against such a lie? Where is your defense? Are we not all still little children in spirit?
Building Up Our Defense:
Though it is too late once a fiery dart has slipped past (a lie is believed, taken to heart and the painful-damage done), we should still take the time to carefully and honestly examine the thoughts that attacked us (the protruding dart). Whenever we examine our thoughts, specific words of God living in our heart should rise up to defend us and identify the lies. (Is this not the miracle of fertile soil?) If not, then prayer, sharing our pain openly in trusting fellowship and Holy Spirit led study of the word will strengthen our armor with more of God’s truth. The Lord will lead us to what we need if we ask Him.
Never hide from or deny the success of an enemy dart out of shame, pride or fear of judgment. But instead, boldly stare the experience square in the face, for it is simply a teaching moment. In sincere humility, be deeply honest with yourself about your vulnerability, Ask the Lord for help, and openly share the experience with those who love you. Listen for the Lord to speak — even through others.
(Page 111 of the free ebook, “Left Behind After The Rapture” by Susan Davis) “I speak through MY people, MY messengers, MY signs, MY Word.“
Remember, not only is our struggle “not” against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but we, ourselves are the very battlefield of this war (Erin Vreeland, Dream 52) and sometimes even an enemy weapon. The more we are willing to admit to ourselves, and take to the Lord, the uncomfortable truth about our weaknesses, the closer we will be to the heart of the Lord, and through humility and complete surrender, the stronger will be our armor.
For the remainder of this topic, I am purposefully limiting its scope to a discussion focused solely on reinforcing our armor against one specific kind of insidious, spiritual attack; the “self-worth” attack. This attack is perpetrated by Satan using words spoken into our mind that are designed to act like a mirror, compelling us to turn inward and focus on ourselves, tempting us to manipulate our own sense of self-worth.
We have all been tested by this type of attack at nearly every stage of our lives, and many of us still seem quite vulnerable to it. This is always evident by the fruits of our focus, a focus on “self”. And, what’s worse, after a while we will form the habit of holding these mirrors up to ourselves. This is a nasty habit that, through the Lord’s power, His bride must now break.
From my observations over a lifetime, I have come to recognize that these mirrors of the enemy come in two flavors designed to take full advantage of one particular vulnerability; a improperly anchored self-image. Satan attempts to either inflate our self-worth or deflate our self-worth through suggestive manipulation of our self-image. To me, changing our self-worth in either direction is proof that we have just believed a lie. Our worth does not change in the eyes of God.
Ask the Holy Spirit to faithfully alert you when this happens, even to the slightest degree, so that you will learn to recognize these mirrors and can forcefully turn them away and refocus on the loving eyes of Jesus.
(Page 70 of the free ebook, “The Final Call” by Deborah Melissa Moller) “Whatever you feast your eyes on, will grow. If you focus on Me and look at Me, I will grow inside of you as a giant. When you focus on news and earthly happenings, on what you perceive as the truth, then that will grow. What you are, whatever is in your heart, will come out.“
I see this as why it is so dangerous to look into Satan’s mirrors. We should not focus on ourselves and listen to his words.
Her neighbor said, “Thank you for the cookies, but I don’t care for oatmeal raisin.” But, in her mind she heard flanking-words that said, “She doesn’t want your cookies because they are awful! She’s just too nice to say so. You are a terrible cook, which means you are a total failure as a woman!” (Ooh! Harsh!)
When we allow Satan to successfully implant thoughts, pointing a deflating mirror at our self-worth, and we cave-in to them, taking his lying gossip to heart, we automatically engage in a self-destructive “self-evaluation” process that tears down our own worth to the degree that “we” judge is justified. (How insidious is that?) With this particular weakness (hole in our armor) all Satan has to do is point this distorting mirror, and we will very often take over from there (a) through the bad habit of believing (taking to heart) his lying gossip without first seeking the powerful defense of God’s word or carefully considering any proof (gathering truthful witnesses), (b) then by giving in to our hurt without any internal reflection, failing to recognize these “signature” feelings as evidence of tampering by the enemy, (c) and finally, though our own “negative self-judgment”, we wrongly pass sentence against our own worth, some of the fruits of this being self-criticism, self-deprecation, self-condemnation and even self-hatred and self-mutilation. Each of these fruits clearly betrays to us our focus on “self”. Each of these fruits is clear evidence of the success of a deflating mirror.
Do you see how we have three opportunities to become aware of this deflating mirror, this particular mirror-class of fiery arrow? — first by our thoughts, then by our resulting feelings, then by our resulting focus on “self”.
First and foremost, God’s word is our mighty defender, popping up through the fertile soil of our heart to expose Satan’s lies. It is a powerful warrior-habit to arrest every thought (take it captive) and judge it by the word of God. Develop this habit with prayer and see for yourself if your heart doesn’t leap right up with a defending seed-of-truth as quick as lightning to crush the power of an enemy lie! But, what if we are poor in some part of the word and nothing comes to our defense? Then we should also maintain the warrior-habit of always seeking proof before accepting anything as truth, lest we believe lying gossip. Secondly, we should maintain the warrior-habit of examining our feelings when they suddenly change, recognizing those that are the signature of penetration by the enemy and then back-tracking to the very thoughts that caused them. Our third line of defense is to maintain the warrior-habit of checking our focus. Is it on ourselves? Has our self-worth changed at all?
Now, let’s consider this special mirror-class of fiery arrow once more, only this time let’s throw in a little pride. The presence of pride will not allow us to give in to a deflating mirror. It will fight against this mirror — but not in a good way.
For example, the moment you realize that you may have hurt someone, do you (1) see only the other person’s pain, feel desperate to apologize and long to ease their suffering and fully restore them? Or, do you (2) find that your primary focus is on yourself, on the fact that you may now be responsible for having hurt someone and feel a strong desire to desperately search for any excuse to relieve yourself of that responsibility, or simply avoid the issue, never apologizing? Do you find yourself dwelling on the negative way in which that person might see you now (imagined judgment), thus further opening a door for Satan to whisper, filling you with negative assumptions, creating a long-standing barrier of awkwardness and silence in the relationship? This is the evidence of pride’s fighting-reaction to a deflating mirror, in its desperate attempt to preserve a poorly anchored self-image.
Don’t you see? As in (1), true humility will always immediately apologize. True humility does not see itself or even notice the mirrors.
(Susan Davis – Revelation Notes) “The LORD revealed to me about Satan saying: that he went wrong when he turned away from GOD to the creation to receive admiration from the creation and he became fully prideful which is the root of all evil. The LORD says that no one can be turning to and facing GOD all the time and remain prideful—you are only humble when you face GOD and humility is the root of all love.“
Condemnation Thru Failure: (A Favored Deflating Mirror)
So what if we failed this time? Everything is a learning experience, a teaching moment. Whenever I fail, which is often, I humbly and sincerely thank God for that opportunity and boldly ask for many more opportunities within which to fail until I succeed. I feel a rising determination to see and take-to-heart that which the Lord is lovingly trying to teach me. (In truth, the lesson is always more important that the failure.)
We must routinely turn away Satan’s deflating mirror of condemnation pointed at our self-worth, clearly seeing it as a blatant attempt to stagnate our spiritual growth. We must not take the bait and judge ourselves, following him into that deception. We must not become intimidated and sit back in safety, but boldly continue stepping out in love, risking further mistakes so that we can be fully trained now, while there is still time. — We must never run from an ugly truth that may have caused a failure, but face it with total, loving self-acceptance.
When our pride responds to Satan’s inflating self-worth mirror-attack, some of the fruits of this are self-importance, self-righteousness, self-praise, self-aggrandizing and self-exaltation. Again, each of these fruits clearly betrays to us our focus on “self”. Each of these fruits is clear evidence of the use of a pride-puffing mirror.
(Erin Vreeland, Dream 57) “When you are given gifts by faith, you are not to focus on yourself (mirror) but on me and the miracle. If you focus on your greatness to perform them , you will lose your authority given by me to administer them to others. You must humble yourselves, receive and remain authoritatively humble under the leading of the Holy Spirit! You are to be no longer conscious of yourselves (mirror), but a willing vessel to be filled with God’s Glory. Your own glory cannot dwell with God! People will try to glorify you (mirror), but you remain only yielding to the Holy Spirit in all things, understand? Do not act on your own authority by faith in yourself, as you are not God.“
Here we can see that we are called to remain sober and vigilant to Satan’s mirrors. This is a warning. He “will” attempt to take us down, to corrupt us through the weakness of our pride. We should be taking this to the Lord now, asking for enough opportunities to fully test and practice sincere humility, and to practice recognizing and turning away these mirrors. It is Jesus’ desire to fully prepare us so that, when we are called, we will no longer be conscious of ourselves, we will no longer even see Satan’s mirrors.
The True Self-image:
It is my opinion that Satan’s ability to easily shine mirrors and successfully manipulate our self-worth boils down to a particular flaw; an improperly anchored self-image, one that is either internally dependent on “our” current opinion of ourselves, or externally based on how “we” perceive others might currently see us. Either way, our image of ourselves is always being habitually “evaluated” through our own eyes (through our own easily influenced judgment), rather than being firmly and unwaveringly grounded on how the Lord sees us, and rooted in His word. It is God, Himself who permanently defines our true worth. We should keep focused on His eyes on us and not on that of anyone else, especially our own eyes. It is His (unchanging) image, and not our own, that we should hold tightly within ourselves. It seems to me that anything else leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s mirror attacks.
We as His spiritual children are each astonishingly precious, wholly unique, equally special and imperfect works-in-progress (ignorant, immature, sinful and entirely dependent by design), and we will forever be dearly loved and desperately wanted by our Father — no matter what!
I believe that seeing ourselves any other way is evidence of the need for a self-image adjustment to remove a vulnerability. Please, consider this seriously, revisit it often, and keep taking it to the foot of the cross. If we allow our self-image to drift away from the Lord’s view even a little, then I believe we are being lured by a deception, and we are following the enemy.
Truly it seems that our overall success as the bride of Christ depends heavily on our willingness to completely let go of the habit of seeing ourselves, to always seek His face, locking our eyes to His and to surrender fully to His deeply loving, humble, generous, serving Spirit in us.
We must solidify the self-image of truth within us, come to Him as little children and humbly melt away into the Lord in sweet surrender. Then, Satan’s mirrors will hold no power.
Please, ask His Holy Spirit to alert you to the mirrors.