That Diamond Shore

(Psalm 139:17-18) “How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! How vast in number they are! If I should count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

The first time I ever encountered this verse, it went in smooth and easy. For, The Lord had already put in my heart that any one soul is more precious and valuable than all of His material creation combined, that we are indeed priceless to Him (John 3:16, Mark 8:36). So, right away, I went into my imagination and visualized a vast, empty beach of wet, light-tan colored sand, where every grain contained a thought, all concerning just one particular child of God. And, from that first encounter long ago, this simple visualization became my floating concept for that verse. This light-tan beach seemed to float right past my mind’s eye whenever my heart told me that someone needed to hear that verse.

But, over the decades, there existed one small, blank spot in my imagination which I routinely avoided, though not consciously, of course. You see, I could never quite picture myself as that child. This parable beach of my imagination always more easily represented His thoughts for someone else, anyone else. It was never mine. I think perhaps I would have simply felt too embarrassed to ever allow that verse to fully sink in. But, that’s okay. Matters of the heart take time, and Love is so very patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Anyway, yesterday, I found myself mulling over this same, sandy verse once more, contemplating the hugeness of God’s dedication to each and every member of His beloved family — yes, including me this time. I think I might have been trying to take this simple, long-established, cold-and-hard fact about God and somehow bring it into its heartfelt fullness, to make it more warm and real, to find that spark-of-life, that telltale sign, which is always present in His divine truth. But, I could not, and you know, it never dawned on me to ask Him for help. (I seem to keep forgetting to do that.)

But then, this morning, as I lay awake seeking the Lord’s company, this verse passed before me yet again, and as always, I am there, standing on that same empty beach, staring at that same wet sand, almost as if I could reach out and touch it. I was even faintly aware of small, quiet waves peacefully lapping at the shore behind me. I could hear myself talking, as if to someone else, saying, “Go ahead, pick up any one grain and ask Him which thought it represents.” But, as I tried hard to focus in on that one, wet grain of sand sticking to my index finger, something in my heart told me that it was time for this old scene to receive an update, that it was time for me to come more fully into the truth. My journey toward God is like a long stairway cut into the side of a mountain. Each step closer is a step upward, and as I stepped up, that lone grain of plain-old sand, which I never could quite clearly see, became a perfect, tiny diamond, and that long-held, visual concept of my imagination, that smooth, wet, light-tan, sandy shore turned a dazzling white and sparkled brilliantly in the late-morning sun. And at last, the truth of His heart settled warmly into mine.

Yes, not only are God’s thoughts concerning us more numerous than the sand, but each and every one is a pure and precious grain, a flawless diamond. Each thought for our sake, brought forth by our Creator is born in love, a pure, perfect, holy thought of the ultimate, highest quality. God’s thoughts about us are never callous or flippant, careless or sloppy, shallow or short. His considerations run so much deeper than we can comprehend, on currents of love unfathomable. His thoughts are never without richness of heart. I began to cry.

Somewhere in God’s heaven, there is a breathtaking, beautiful seashore with sand so stunning and sparkly-white, where all its diamond grains represent God’s thoughts of you, and you alone. This is your beach. This is your proof, the evidence of how much you have been loved and cared for all this time, though you never knew. Somewhere in heaven, on a breathtaking, beautiful seashore made just for you, it is raining diamonds… even now.


“Dear Father in heaven,
In Isaiah 55:8-9, You tell us that, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your ways higher than our ways and Your thoughts than our thoughts. I rise over six feet two inches above the dust of this Earth. Yet, even the nearest star in the heavens is already 21,945,207,964,240,000 times higher that I am. That’s 22 quadrillion times my stature. My ways and thoughts are so incredibly low in comparison to Yours. From out of Your unfathomably high ways and innumerable, diamond thoughts come Your perfect plans for us. You are all truth and overwhelming love. I am merely a tiny, ignorant child in sinful flesh. Holding this simple truth deep within my heart has brought me the wisdom not to argue or insist on my own way about anything. For, any choice upon which I might insist outside of Your already perfect plan for me could only result in a plan less perfect, for which I might one day suffer agonizing regret. Thank You that You are the Father and I am the child still within my cradle. Thank You so much for faithfully guarding Your perfect plan for me despite my ways. How I dearly love Your faithfulness.
In Jesus name — Amen.”
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All I Want For Christmas

Though I have experienced many a traditional Christmas with child-like wonder well into my adult years, within the past decade or so, I began to feel differently about it. Somewhere in the midst of my suffering, I found that I had changed.

I no longer enjoy unwrapping things that are on my list. I am content to leave the joy and wonder of Christmas-morning stockings and gifts to the children. Instead, I recognize within myself a deeper spiritual need this time of year, a need for peace and for true fellowship; for the warmth of kind hearts; for the joy of giving and sharing; to feel that deep, grateful stillness which comes from appreciating the beauty of our savior — which comes from watching silent snowflakes fall, while listening and singing on the inside, where hope’s flame never falters.

For those who’s lives still fit well into this world, the experience of Christmas might still encompass family and gifts, singing and laughter, dinner and decorations, eggnog and mistletoe. It might still be a time of bright and sparkly colors, beautiful music and happy smiles. But, for most of us, for all the misfit toys and lonely, hurting hearts, there is a need for Christmas to be about something more important — surrender, forgiveness and healing.

The solace of the season comes to our spirit when deep down we remember that Jesus was born into this world to be the pure and final sacrifice for us all, to break the power of old covenant and create a new covenant where hearts are guided by the Holy Spirit, to reconcile us to our Father in heaven, to restore all that Satan has stolen and to be our perfect teacher, our voice of truth and our most faithful best friend.

The very heart of Christmas is most keenly felt within when we freely receive His precious gift and abundantly spread His love.

All I want this year for Christmas is His heart

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Armor Lessons – The “What” And The “Why”

The “What”:

Two men showed up one morning as construction volunteers at a Habitat for Humanity project located in their home town. Both men wore a hardhat, coveralls and leather work-boots. Both men carried a hammer on their tool belt. But that was all they appeared to have in common.

The first man showed up a little late. He was slow at his work, kept mostly to himself, and halfway through the day — he just up and left. The second man showed up early and brought enough coffee and doughnuts for all. He had a friendly smile, an engaging personality and expressed much enthusiasm for the project. He took the time to learn the names of each co-worker as he introduced himself with a firm handshake. He then listened attentively to what each person had to say. He stayed the entire day and even volunteered to act as an ad hoc spokesman for the group when a local news crew showed up unannounced to tape a segment about the project for the evening news.

Now, just from what you’ve read, honestly ask yourself how you would answer this question. Which man loves his neighbor more?

Many of you might say that the answer is obviously the second man. Some clever readers, expecting this to be a trick question, might wonder if the answer is the first man. However, those who’s habit it is to search their heart for truth will humbly answer, “I don’t know.” Now that, my friend, is a very good answer, though there is one better still, which is, “God only knows.”

You see, when you look more carefully at my question, you will realize that I did not ask you for an opinion. I did not even ask for a guess. The question I asked sought a specific truth, a comparison of the heart that none but God can truly measure, especially since all there is to go on is the surface-appearance information which I previously provided.

Yet, how often do we habitually rely on our own understanding of “what” we see with our eyes and hear with our ears? Aren’t nearly all of us swayed by appearances to some degree? I mean, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, right? — Unless, of course, it’s a chicken at a costume ball.

In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus teaches us the Parable of the Tree and its Fruits. He warns us to beware of those, who come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Interesting, that word, “inwardly”.) Jesus teaches that we can recognize a person by their fruits, thereby overcoming any disguises or masks they might be wearing. So, how do we do that exactly? How do we seek to know the fruit such that we are not taken in by any “outward” appearance?

The “Why”:

Perhaps in this particular story it might help if I also offered something of each man’s “motives of the heart” at this time.

The first man happens to suffer from a condition of chronic, debilitating pain. Yet, out of a deep sense of compassion and concern for his homeless neighbors, he forces himself to go and labor for as long as he is able, one day a week, every week, as a loving sacrifice to the Lord, because he, himself, at one time had also endured the pain and shame of homelessness. The second man had no practical, construction experience at all, but was preparing to run for a political office, and through his personal contacts he had arranged behind the scenes for the news crew to be there at just the right moment. The first man, though he was there but half a day, completed far more construction work for the homeless than the second man who spent the majority of his time talking and listening (campaigning).

Okay, so now how do you feel about the second man? Does he seem more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing to you now? Well, again you would be wrong.

You see, he was not acting. He is genuinely kind, friendly and enthusiastic, a people person. He is someone who sincerely cares about “all” the people in his home town and believes with all his heart that he can do some real good if elected. Though at this point in his life, some of his methods may not be the purest, the Lord knows his heart and has plans to use him as a leader in the near future.

Funny, isn’t it, how the deeper you travel into the truth of a heart’s motives, the more that person’s outward appearance changes before your eyes, and the closer you actually get to knowing the real person? You begin to see them “inwardly”. But, the only way to do this is by not accepting what we outwardly see with our eyes or hear with our ears. We must not take anything at face value, but must seek the intimate truth by asking that often most threatening of questions: — “why?”

For every “what” that you see or hear, there is always a “why”, usually more than one, each leading to a deeper truth, each leading to a more accurate taste of a person’s fruit.

Defining The “What” And The “Why”:

The “what” that we offer is what others can see and what others can hear. It is the “appearance” of the facts of our life. It is what we do, what we wear, what we say, even what tone we use when we say it. It is what we choose to share and what others can observe for themselves.

The “what” is just the shallow, surface layer, the cover of our own book. And, in this world, aren’t most people far more concerned about primping and polishing the cover of their book than they are about what’s written on the pages inside? Aren’t most of us afraid to expose the truth of our pages? Individuals, companies, governments — they all try to present a pretty book cover, don’t they? We should all know by now that we are fools if we blindly trust what we see on the shallow surface. The wolf is underneath the sheep’s clothing, remember?

Without the real “why”, the shallow “what” simply can not be trusted here in the enemy’s kingdom. The “why” is the deeper layer, the heart layer. It is the layer where we meet God. The “why” layer is where our true motives are exposed, which is the very reason “why?” is such a dangerous question for those who wish to hide the truth. The “why” turns on the light of truth.

Giving The Enemy Opportunity:

A “why” must always accompany a “what” or the enemy will fill in the “why” for us.

In a previous blog post titled, Armor Lessons – Satan’s Mirrors, I talk about a favored flanking-maneuver of the enemy, where he comes at us from the side and whispers into the “hammer and anvil” of our ear, attempting to filter “what” we hear or the truth of “what” we see. He does this by strongly suggesting a “why” specifically designed according to our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The enemy knows us well. He studies us.

Even when our “what” is accompanied by our “why”, the enemy will still attempt to filter it out, overriding it with their own version of “why”. (Too many times, my “why” has been overridden by the enemy’s “why” on its way through a loved one’s ear to their heart such that they could no longer hear me at all.)

In my previous Armor-Lessons blog-post, I also shared this little story:

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!”

This is a good example of how a demonic filter works. The enemy attempted to replace her neighbor’s “why”. Can you see how listening to flanking spirits and then speaking their words out of our mouths can cause us to sound paranoid?

Beware Unsubstantiated Heresay: (Reject Rumors)

When listening to one person speak about others (or about situations involving others), be very, very cautious when accepting their interpretation of the “what”, lest it be slanted. And, NEVER take to heart their interpretation of the “why” unless they can back-it-up with proof (the verifiable witnesses of facts and truth), otherwise you may come under the influence of the lying gossip of flanking spirits spoken through that person’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. (I spoke about this in a previous blog post titled, Assumptions.)

Accept hearsay only as rumor until you can properly seek the truth as your witness. In this way, you can avoid the enemy’s traps and stay clear of dissension and strife. It should go without saying that words like, “I promise”, “I swear”, “take it from me” or “trust me on this” do not count as proof of the truth, but instead could indicate that there is reason for concern.

James 5:12 “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”

Habits Of A Warrior:

  • Form the habit that whenever you speak, every “what” that you say is accompanied by your “why” so as not to give the enemy opportunity to speak for you. (And please do not substitute the real “why” for a lessor truth. This is a form of deceitful manipulation.)
  • When others speak, learn to listen for the “what” and the “why” together, and boldly ask for the “why” when it is not offered. This will help expose a person’s fruit, revealing the truth behind their public mask, revealing the pages beneath the cover of their book. Remember to form the habit of asking for their “why”. Do not allow the enemy to whisper their “why” to you.
  • Make sure that every “why” you hear involving a third person is accompanied by the proof of witnesses (verifiable facts and truth) before you take any heresay to heart. If you are denied access to the proof, then DO NOT LISTEN!

Examples:

  • The What: “I want to point out a mistake you made.”
  • The Real Why: “I have compassion, and I’m trying to spare you any future embarrassment by helping you fix it now.”
  • The Enemy’s Whispered Why: “Your are being shown how much of an idiot and a total screw-up you are. You are being put in your place by someone better than you. You got served!”
  • The What: “They were looking right at you when you waved, but they didn’t wave back.”
  • The Real Why: “From that far away, they didn’t recognize you and didn’t think you were waving at them.”
  • The Enemy’s Whispered Why: “They can’t acknowledge you in public. You’re a freakin’ embarrassment! Get a clue!”
  • The Third-Person What: “I saw your ex walk out toward your car with a key in hand.”
  • The Offered-Without-Proof Why: “Your ex was going to scratch the paint.”
  • The Enemy’s Whispered Why: “Your ex hates your guts and is determined to ruin your life.”
  • The Real Why: “Your ex was kindly surrendering the second car key in a non-confrontational way.”
  • The What: “I decided to call you.”
  • The Spoken Lesser Why: “I’m just checking in to see how you’re doing.”
  • The Hidden Greater Why: “I want to pump you for certain gossip.”
  • The Enemy’s Whispered Why: “It’s a pity-call you worthless loser.”
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The Parable Of The “I” And The “Y”

One day, as Man was peacefully walking with God, the Lord asked him, “Have you ever noticed how both the letter ‘I’ and the letter ‘Y’ at times sound exactly the same, while all other vowels are unique?” “Yes, actually. I have.” replied Man. “Do you know why that is?” asked the Lord. “No. Not really, Father.” “It is because the ‘Y’ originally came from the ‘I’. You see, at one time there was no ‘Y’, only ‘I’ as in ‘I AM’.

In the beginning, My love created all things, and all my creation was in union. They were one in me, the I AM. The letter ‘I’ was chosen to represent this union. It represented wholeness, peace and harmony, sustained by My love. But, then there came a time when the enemy of love came into being and began to act against this union. He works through your pride and fear to cause pain and strife. And through his evil tools of dissension, My union is continually torn, split apart, destroyed. This pattern has repeated itself throughout your history. Do you not see it?

The first occurrence of this pattern took place in heaven before your time. Lucifer, the greatest of My creation, giving in to his pride and vanity, pulled away from Me a third of my angels. He has since been working to tear asunder every union I create.

Yet, often when a rift begins, there are those who stand against it for My sake, and hurt with me at the sight of it. They are My tenderhearted ones, My humble anchors who offer words of loving encouragement, words of life and healing. They will even beg while standing in a pool of their own tears. This they do for Me. This they do for love. As the ‘I’ begins to separate, they are the ones who struggle to hold it together, keeping in their heart the eternal hope of restoration. They are the ones at the bottom of the ‘I’ that has sadly now become a ‘Y’.

Do you know what ‘Y’ stand for?” “No, Father”, replied Man. “It stands for ‘What happened to the I’.”

parable

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The Last Petition

(Sue Crumpler, 09/11/2013 prophecy) “Much is in the balances, including your families. Satan has requested many of them and I ask you to counter him in My Court.”

As the Lord, Himself has declared, “much” is in the balances. We see our families included in that statement, but they are not all that hangs in the balances. There are many other souls hanging there too. Satan’s time is short, and he knows it. He is stepping up His game. Is it time for the bride to step up hers?

In obedience to our Bridegroom, and out of concern for our loved ones, we each petition individually for our family members. But, what then can we do collectively, as one body in further obedience to our Lord? How can we fill the highest courtroom of heaven with the sound of our one-voice; a humble yet bold song pleasing to the Judge, sung with as much passion and power as we are given to sing it! Isn’t it high time that we pulled out all the stops and put a huge smile on the face of our Bridegroom as we execute His last request before this last great harvest with every ounce of our faith? For, much hangs in the balances!

I have never constructed a petition before, but I tried my hand at writing one anyway. If anyone feels guided by the Spirit to improve on it, please do it now.

Let’s call it the “Matthew 22:39 — Second Greatest Commandment” petition. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” For, after the last great harvest is in, and the door is shut, those left behind (the lost and those foolish bridesmaids) will experience torment and terror never before known on Earth, and if they should die before coming to faith without the aid of the Holy Spirit, then they will perish into even greater torment for eternity. What if that were us? What if we are the ones who Satan is petitioning to kill and take to hell before being allowed the fullness of our last two opportunities for salvation; harvest or Tribulation?

As the bride, should we not be about our Bridegroom’s business? What does our Bridegroom desire? Isn’t it that not one of His precious, dearly-loved children should perish? There will never be a time like this again! This is it! This is our time to be bold before the Judge and ask BIG!!!

Let us take this petition (with improvements as the Spirit wills) and cry out with all our hearts, with every ounce of hope and trust and love. And let us fully believe that we, as one-body WILL receive it!


Father, we come to you earnestly in spirit and in truth to present our petition. But first, we repent of all our sins, including those previously unacknowledged because of our ignorance. For, we fully and humbly acknowledge that we are but little children fighting imperfectly against our sinful nature. We ask that You would please forgive us and wash us clean with the blood of your precious Son, Yahushua (which means “God saves”). Please grant us a pure heart, and make us white as snow; holy, righteous and blameless in Your eyes. We also declare before You, oh holy God, that we forgive absolutely everyone, including those on who’s behalf we are about to petition. Like Your beloved Stephen, we ask that no sinful act committed against us be held against them in Your courts, lest it adversely affect their chance for eternal life. Next, we humbly ask for the faith to fully believe, eliminating any and all lingering doubts in You, in Your word of truth and in ourselves. (Hebrews 11:6) For, You keep Your every word, and all Your love, promises and miracles apply to each of us as much as anyone. We also ask to be generously granted the wisdom to make our petition successful, knowing that You WILL give it as You have promised. (James 1:5-8 )

Your Honor, as Your precious children, citizens of Your kingdom, bought with a high price by your Son, our Bridegroom, we by legal right boldly approach Your throne of Grace, the highest court in all of heaven, and in accordance with Your will, submit our petition as instructed by Your Son. May our sincere efforts please You greatly, Your Honor.

We petition You now, on behalf of every one of Your children living on the Earth who are or will be at risk of eternal death; whether lost, strayed, disobedient or luke-warm, such that they could be among the following: (1) any and all who would be saved, if allowed to live until they are shown the true condition of their soul and Your great mercy and unconditional love during the last great harvest period, though they may delay even unto the very gates of hell, and (2) any and all who, if allowed to live, would at some point during the Great Tribulation period in faith be willing to sacrifice their lives in loyalty to Your Son. You know intimately the name and life of every one of these souls for whom we petition.

We now boldly ask to stand in the gap for all of these, whether they be our own family members, our friends, people about whom we know or complete strangers. For, they are all your children and precious to You, to Your Son and to us, His bride.

We willingly take responsibility for all their sins and repent on their behalf. We ask that You please forgive them and humbly beg that You give all their lives over to Your Son and give NOT ONE to His enemy. And furthermore, we boldly ask that You no longer entertain ANY of Satan’s petitions to end the lives of any of these souls prior to their salvation.

We come forward with this bold petition, knowing that with You all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and that You can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) Therefore, we know that what we ask is a very, very, very simple thing for You to accomplish.

We beseech You to spare all their lives in consideration of their future repentance and faith unto salvation. We ask that You pour out Your greatest act of grace now in preparation for, and as a prelude to, Your greatest act of mercy — the last great harvest.

Let all those for whom we petition one day declare, “While we were still deaf and disobedient, while we yet sided with Your enemy in blind rebellion, You, our God, heard us speak these future words, ‘Oh Lord, You have judged our case and redeemed our very lives.’ (Lamentations 3:58 ) You considered the petition of those who stood in the gap for us, the very ones we disregarded, and You granted their petition of repentance and blotted out our transgressions for Your namesake. (Isaiah 43:25) How glorious is the love of our God! How mighty is the name of the Holy One of Israel!”

Thank You, Father for hearing and granting our petition. For, whatever thing we ask when we pray, believing that we have received it, then we WILL have it. (Mark 11:24) And, we as the bride have asked.

In the name of your Son, Yahushua, Jesus Christ of Nazareth we pray this petition — Amen.

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Armor Lessons – Satan’s Mirrors

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.

Satan’s Mirrors:

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.

Deflating Self-worth:

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.

Inflating Self-worth:

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.

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Journal Entry, June 24, 2013

This morning I dreamed that I was in the house that I am in now and either someone here said, or the understanding simply came to me, “They are coming for you.”

I walked over to the large dinning room window and looked out, but what I saw outside was the long gravel road on the ranch of my childhood. Slowly proceeding up the gravel lane toward the house was what looked like an dark olive-green military jeep and truck with a red logo of some kind on the door.

They were traveling slowly and I knew in my spirit that this was to give me time to prepare. I thought about gathering onto my bed all the library books that I had checkout for my mom and grandmother. That way, they could easily find them and return them, which would allow me to keep my word to the library. I couldn’t think of much else to do except change my clothes and put on my shoes. I felt peace.

Then I woke up…

Excerpt from page 30 of Deborah Melissa Moller’s book, The Final Call:

“I speak to you in night visions. I want to interact with you and want you to take notes. Write down, My child, everything I give you in a dream and then pray to Me and ask for the interpretation. You will be amazed at how I show you awesome happenings. Take seriously what I show you in the night and write it down, for you will not understand it immediately, but as time goes by it will happen and you will be amazed.”

“Do you want to hear Me speak? I speak in dreams also. Do not despise them, because dreams are from Me. Ask Me for the interpretation and I will teach you great things. Above all, focus on Me. Don’t make an idol of dreams.”

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