Behold, I Seek My Own

Please Come Back to Me!

Part 6

by Patricia Bakora

Living Water at the Oasis
Living Water at the Oasis

Part 6
Behold, I Seek My Own

Please Come Back to Me!

Remember All I Have Done for You

I Samuel 30:6b; Psalms 42:5-6; Romans 8:26-28

The devil always fights dirty, for he is a skulking coward. So many of his fiery darts are fired at your mind early in the morning, when you are barely conscious and haven't yet mustered your defenses. At once he'll tell you how terribly I treat you, or tell you how horribly wrong things will go at work today. He'll try to tell you there are strings attached to My Love, and that you aren't meeting My conditions for acceptance.

When that happens, send your elder Brother Jesus to the door of your heart to handle him. Tell that old lying serpent that he was defeated 2000 years ago through the Cross of Calvary, that he has no right to trespass in the life of a Blood-washed child of God. Pray in the Holy Spirit, for the Mind of the Spirit knows much more perfectly than you do what My specific plan of deliverance is for your set of circumstances.

When David felt like the battle was too great for him, he cast himself upon me and I bore him up to victory on Eagle's Wings. He remembered all the past deliverances which had come through My timely intervention. He continually encouraged himself in My great faithfulness. Remember what I have already given you through My Son Jesus. Through faith in His Blood Atonement, you have forgiveness of sins and life eternal with Me. You enjoy My continual watchcare and My Presence in your heart. You enjoy the fellowship of the Father, and you are the object of His Son's affections. He intercedes for you before the very Throne of Grace.

Whenever satan vexes you, you can remind him that I always have the final word, because I Am the Truth. He is the father of lies. If you love Me above all else, your destiny is to reign with Me in My eternal Kingdom. The devil's destiny is the ultimate Garbage Incinerator, the Lake of Fire.

Deflecting Fiery Darts

John 8:44; Ephesians 6:13-18

Often the devil sends his little imps to whisper his lies into your ear. He aims to wear you down, to destroy your morale, to minimize your effectiveness for My Kingdom, and undermine your faith in My goodness and faithfulness. He wants the problems in your life to loom much larger than they actually are, and to make Me to appear small and powerless in comparison to them.

If the devil says: You can't do that for the Lord. Everyone will LAUGH at you!

Say: It is written in I Corinthians 1:25 that God's foolishness is wiser than the wisdom of men, and His ways are not man's ways (Isaiah 55: 8-9).

If that old liar says: You'll end up starving out on the street.

Say: My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory, because of what Christ Jesus has done for me (Philippians 4:19). If God feeds the birds of the air, how much more faithful will He be to feed me? He knows what I have need of before I even ask, and it is my Father's good pleasure to give me the Kingdom (Luke 12:22-32).

If he interrupts your sound sleep by inquiring: How are you going to survive next year?.

Say: The same way I survived LAST year, you old liar. My God has promised: As my days are, so shall my strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).

If the Father of All Bullies says: You're a hopeless waste of space, and you've got no friends.

Say: I've got my own cheering squad up in heaven, and I have a Friend who stick closer than a brother (Hebrews 12:1; Proverbs 18:24).

When satan Resorts to Dirtier Digs:

If that fiend says: Look how I prosper MY servants. The sleaziest criminals are living high on the hog, while you're still pinching pennies.

Say: You're right about one thing, Mr. Devil. Your slaves ARE living high on the hog, in the filthy pigpen of your kingdom. And My Father has promised that the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just, who will use His resources for His Glory (Proverbs 13:22b; 28:8).

If he launches his very worst missile, saying: You've REALLY blown it now! You've exhausted your share of God's grace, and He can't forgive you anymore.

Say: Get lost, devil! The Word of God calls you a liar, and there is no truth in you (John 8:44). My God has promised me that NOTHING would ever get Him to stop loving me (Romans 8:38-39). Even though my sins have been abundant, His grace is even moreabundant (Romans 5:20). If I confess my sins, He is faithful to forgive them, to cast them out of His sight, and to turn His back on them forever (Isaiah 38:17; 43:25; I John 1:7-8). Because Christ Jesus dwells in my heart through faith, and I am not WILLING to be separated from Him and His goodness, He will NEVER cast me out (John 6:37; 10: 28-29)!

If you feel like you've reached the utter end of your tether with your daily trials, the devil is likely to resort to this ugly lie: It can't possibly be worth it, even if you DO make it into heaven!

Remember: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has your heart fathomed that which I have prepared for My loved ones who shall reign with Me in My eternal Kingdom (Isaiah 64:4; I Corinthians 2:9).

When you feel your soul weighted down by care, that is your enemy satan trying to discourage you. Pray that I will dispatch warrior angels to do battle with his forces of darkness on your behalf. I have promised to send My angels before you to fight the enemy for you, and to prepare the way as you daily go forth to do My will (Exodus 23:20).

The Tender Shoot

Job 14:7-9; Isaiah 53:2

Many of you have known such heartache, such lonely despair, that you feel you are dead to earthly happiness. You feel cut off from temporal blessings, and live only in anticipation of eternal ones. You have prayed long and hard for years, with seemingly few results. The very heavens seem hardened against your prayers.

The stump of a felled tree is a sad sight. It looks dead. It is a picture of stark, utter hopelessness. All its beautiful green boughs, which once supported life and attracted sweetly singing songbirds, are gone. No longer does it bear fruit. Indeed it has suffered such trauma that it cannot. It is a picture of a heart made desolate by severe, prolonged trial. No hope, no hope, it cries.

Until a tender green shoot sprouts up from the base of that dead-looking stump.

The Valley of Dead Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Some situations seem far more hopeless than others. Not only has the enemy killed off all natural hopes for deliverance from a problem, but he laughs in your face and even attacks your faith in My resurrection power. He sounds oh, so logical. "How," he mocks, "can God get you out of this jam?" Or: "It isn't humanly possible for this problem ever to be solved."

When all natural hope is gone, it is easier for you to step out of the way, and there is more room for Me to work!

Ezekiel the prophet, surveying a battlefield full of dry bones asked Me: "Lord, can these bones live again?"

Those sun-bleached, vulture-picked, disjointed bones were so dead and dry, there wasn't a trace of viable marrow left in them. There was no natural way new life could spring forth from them. Satan will constantly remind you that he's wrecked your life so thoroughly, I have nothing left to work with.

But all I need is your faith in My faithfulness. Not only did I cause those scattered, broken bones to be made whole and knit back together, but I caused them to stand on their feet once again. Then I clothed them with flesh and breathed life into them once more. My dear child, I am going to empower you to stand up on your spiritual feet once again. You don't belong lying dead on the ground, beneath the heel of satan. He belongs under your feet! And the best of all, I am going to bruise the enemy beneath your feet! Be one of those faithful few who earnestly desire to see a mighty move of the Spirit of God in and through your life.

I would even untangle the messy circumstances satan has foisted upon you, and set you back upon your feet rejoicing in wholeness.

Just as I breathed new life into corpses picked clean by vultures, so My Holy Spirit would breathe new life into your wounded soul, which has been pillaged by satan. I would even clothe you with My glory.

I Even Heal the Past

Isaiah 58:11; 61:1-3; 10-11; Jeremiah 17: 7-8; 31:12-13

I am the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega. I possess the keys of Hell and Death, and there is nothing in all Creation which shall not eventually bow the knee to Me.

Some of you suffered hurt by Christians whom you thought were your best friends, but who let you down when you needed understanding and help the most. Instead of sharing a word in good season, they spoke out of turn and trampled on your sensitive feelings when you were least able to bear it. Their unmerited criticism sank deep into your soul, though you tried your hardest to "be mature" and shrug it off. Their coldness of heart might have driven you out of the fellowship altogether.

Or you made a few big blunders yourself and can't forget them because the enemy won't let you. He'll make you worry that your present adverse circumstances sprang from those errors of judgment, and I have no choice but to punish you till the Rapture comes and I take you away from this present world.

I see the scars on your soul. I know why they are there, and I have the power to heal them.

Plead the precious blood of Jesus over your home, your family, yourself and all things affecting you, either directly or indirectly. See your house as having the Blood of the Covenant sprinkled over the lintel and side posts of the door(s). When the Children of Israel applied the Blood of the Sacrificial Lamb to their homes, the Angel of Death had to pass over, and they were safe from any and every curse. Jesus, your crucified Redeemer, is your Lamb. He is your eternal High Priest, Who even intercedes for each of you daily before My eternal Throne in heaven. You are exceedingly precious in My sight.

Ask Me to send angels to do spiritual warfare in unseen realms, that every demonic foe trying to attach itself to you to oppress you may be expelled from your life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Obsessions with unresolved past conflicts is one ploy the devil uses to defeat My children, and hobble them in their walk with Me. It is satan ministering death to those whom I have appointed unto life.

I would give you beauty for ashes, My beloved, and the Oil of Joy for the spirit of heaviness, that your soul might be as a watered garden continually drawing new life from Me.


Genesis 18:12-15; and 21:6; Psalms 126:2; Proverbs 17:22; Luke 18:9-14

Some of my dearest children have, with good reason, thought that there are those who would be displeased to see them up in heaven. There are saints, and then there are supersaints, so called because these religious folk possess an inflated concept of their own spirituality, and daily affect a facade of religiosity to impress others. Some of them are so deluded that they think themselves better than those saints whose faults are more visible than their own. Usually it is the saint who knows he is poor in so-called spiritual refinement who depends on My goodness the most. Therefore, I can more readily use such an individual, for I am able to take a person poor in spirit and bestow upon him the True Riches which endure. The more you are emptied of self-sufficiency, the more you can receive of My Life.

I have called My people to be saints. A saint possesses the compassion of Christ, and manifests it daily without grudging. A supersaint cannot understand why his brother has fallen into foibles that he himself has, up to now, avoided. He will not soil his own hand by reaching down to pull his brother out of his pit, and even if he does, it is usually with the ulterior motive of administering a verbal chastisement afterward. He secretly flatters himself that he shall never find himself in his own Valley of Humiliation.

A saint keeps himself in proper perspective, even as he strives for holiness. He knows he can be tempted, he knows he can grow angry, that he can even sink into a vortex of despair when enough things go wrong in rapid enough succession. He knows that the flesh nature is a warped, dead appendage that will only be cast off when he is promoted to immortality. A saint of true humility knows he is fragile, that without My everlasting Arms underpinning him, he would fall easy prey to the devil. The supersaint rests on his or her own laurels, boasting that he is spiritually rich, and in need of nothing.

The heart of a saint is a tender heart, able to emphasize with those who are in any trouble, having sojourned in Valleys of Humiliation himself. He will want to put you at your ease, and is willing to discuss the mundane matters of life with you, not coldly shut you out because your thoughts aren't always in the clouds. The supersaint will gruffly ask his "less spiritual" brother: "Why do you bother to be friends with those people? They aren't the kind of friends that promote spiritual growth in a Christian." Nobody seems to be good enough to grace the presence of Supersaint.

It is possible to be so soured by your own self-righteousness that you even lose your joy, you're so worried about defending your carefully cultivated image. A supersaint thinks he is above human warmth or empathy, or possessing a wholesome sense of humor. A genuinely merry heart does good like a medicine. Real holy laughter come from a deep-down assurance that I have lifted your burden and blessed you. You now realize that it is I Who maintain your soul in that necessary state of serenity in this unedifying world.

I Myself possess a sense of humor. Just consider some of My creatures. The spider monkey who performs acrobatics in the trees, the knobby-kneed camel, the giraffe, the awkward-looking ostrich, the laughing hyena; even the many species of odd-shaped fish I have created. Many deep-sea fish glow in the dark, flaunting their showy colors. One species, the trumpet fish, has a tube-shaped snout. I could have mass-produced only one kind of fish. But I love variety.

Remember also that Isaac, one of the Hebrew patriarchs, has a name which means "laughter". He and his parents were joyful people, and still are, as they enjoy the untroubled bliss of Paradise.

Supersaint doesn't think I can use a saint with a wholesome sense of humor. There are television ministers who reach people at home who otherwise would scarcely bother to go hear the gospel in church. These men have a wonderful sense of humor, which I can effectively use as a backdrop for My Truth. They grab the attention of their listeners by showing them that they too are human , and that in spite of their failures and imperfections, My grace is mightily effectual in their lives to accomplish My own purposes in and through them. Many people would only tune out a sour-faced speaker who prides himself on his own colorless conservatism. I need saints of all personality types and appearances to reach as many as possible before My wrath falls upon this doomed planet.

Yes, some people act like they wouldn't care to have your company in heaven. If it had been up to such cold-hearted hypocrites, would they have even objected to My dying for you? I hope not. That is a fearful degree of self-righteousness to attain to. With godly fear you must walk in humility before Me, and NEVER develop that horrid attitude toward others. If you discern that type of mindset in another, make all haste to pray earnestly for that person's soul. That kind of attitude really does stink in My nostrils. Never cease to lean on Me, and to depend on Me alone to be the Source of Love you need to deal with other people properly.

I have left self-righteous Supersaints alone, to luxuriate in their imaginary laurels for as long as they like. I wonder how long it will take till they get tired of their vain toys and realize that I have left their lush green pasture to go search in the barren wilderness for you, My beloved.

The Insecurity of Supersaint

I Peter 5:5

Supersaint feels he or she has really arrived, and is sitting on top of Glory Mountain looking down on others who are still struggling to climb higher in the Life of Faith.

Supersaint's only remaining challenge, she feels, is to hang onto her lofty, lonely seat at the summit. It's a precarious seat, with no arm rests to cling to. Others who occupied her seat before her have slipped from that shaky seat and fallen headlong into the yawning Abyss of Abasement.

What a precarious place the Pinnacle of Pride is. There is much shaking and rumbling going on, and that lofty perch is a hot seat, hard on the flesh. This alone gives Supersaint room to boast.

Despite her self-mortification she is spiritually naked. Certain she can "hold out to the end", she refuses to rise from her throne long enough to clothe herself with the Garment of Humility.

I'm in control of my life, she thinks, just like God demands of any decent believer.

Finally, the volcano erupts.

Warning to Supersaint

How dare you judge your beleaguered brother,
So eager some new fault to uncover?
I know you never could have survived
One-tenth of the time his soul has been tried.

Your frozen faith would have died long ago
And your pious heart hardened to stone
If in his dark valley you'd felt so alone
Nearly consumed by your longing for home.

Have you ever considered, Supersaint,
That a loveless life is lived in vain?
Have you ever once paused to consider
How your baited barbs embitter your brother?

Only by severing you in his mind
From Jesus Christ Who is lowly and kind
Could he remember that I loved him
As you accused him of secret sin.

Heaven's his home, and he shall be there,
For through faith in My Blood he is an heir;
Though you lightly esteem one so dear to Me
And boast of superior piety.

You enter in by grace alone;
Through My shed blood you approach the Throne.
So don't see others through haughty eyes
Flattering yourself on a first-class ride
Your humbler brethren to ostracize.
Eternity tells what harm you've done
Disparaging deeply My wounded ones.

Dwelling on the Precipice of Pride
Healthy, wealthy, self-satisfied.
Elated lift of wind on your wing
Will soon a tearful tempest bring,
Hurling you down to the Humbling Vale
When all your lofty notions fail.

Pride is the seed of many sorrows;
Its flashy flower withers tomorrow.
I'm not impressed by your vain show
The proud have no access to My Throne
You know full well you're living a lie
Repent right now or I'll pass you by.

A Swift Kick

Philippians 2:3; I Peter 3:8

There was a precocious little boy who boasted that he was smart for his age, and everyone else was stupid by comparison. All aglow from his teacher's latest commendation, he and his parents decided to celebrate by spending the following day at a beach resort.

Another lad, who was in the same class, had just gotten a bad report card. He couldn't help it, for he was still traumatized by the death of a beloved aunt, who was so godly she reminded him of Jesus. School authorities did not permit extended absences for bereavement, except for a death in the immediate family. The little boy's grief was so great he couldn't concentrate on his studies. To make matters worse, he had been reprimanded in front of the whole class by his heartless teacher for being both slothful and stupid.

But the boy's parents were far more understanding. They knew their child's potential was far greater than his negative test results. Bad marks on an impersonal report card were nothing compared to the bad mark left on his soul by someone who supposedly knew all the answers. After listening to their child's account of the abuse he'd suffered in front of the class, the parents only smiled and consoled him.

The father took the mother aside, and told her he would deal with the teacher on Monday morning.

Rather than upbraiding the boy for his poor marks, the parents told their son how proud they were of him for his efforts to overcome his grief and get on with his life, just like his aunt would have wanted.

The next day, they told him to fetch his swimsuit and they would spend the day at the beach. The mother set to work making a splendid picnic lunch.

How relaxing it was, sitting in the sand building a castle, forgetting the cares of the previous afternoon. The bereaved little boy took great consolation in the fact he wasn't an imbecile; that he was a creative, worthwhile individual. Lovingly he laid the foundation of his sand castle. Then he embellished it with towers, turrets and spires. He even dug a moat and filled it with seawater.

Along came the first boy, still heady with pride in his straight-A report card. Looking down with disdain, he said airily, "Now look what Dumbo's done!"

With one swift swipe of his foot he demolished a castle_and a heart that was beginning to heal.

What sorrow it brings My Father-heart to see my "more spiritual" saints ridicule the seemingly small accomplishments of those who bear greater burdens in life than they have ever had to shoulder.

Even Elijah was Human

I Kings 19:1-7; James 5:17

Some of you have been castigated by judgmental saints for giving in to discouragement when you should be spiritually mature enough to know better. But even the Prophet Elijah knew moments of deep dejection. The lowest point of his life came after the greatest triumphs of his ministry, after many years of seeing Me work signs and wonders. Elijah was just plain tired, and scared too. He was feeling the stress of all the years he'd spent striving with enemies. Wicked Queen Jezebel was out gunning for him, and he was feeling so low he pleaded with Me to take him home.

Did I chide him for being a bad example? No, I understood. I sent an angel to minister to his practical needs. It wasn't so very long afterward this mature minister of God was taken up to Glory in a chariot of fire.

Sheep Don't Bite

You are the sheep of My pasture. But remember, sheep don't bite. Wolves do.

I Will Bring You Safely Home

Psalms 73:24; and 138:8; Philippians 1:6

Never let a Supersaint rob you of your joy and peace in believing. You were badly hurt and knocked off your feet by that fiery trial. Perhaps you left church for a number of years before you decided you had to go back. I looked upon your bruised heart with pity. I, the Chief Shepherd sought you out when no one else would. I Myself poured in the Wine and the Oil of My Spirit to soothe away your pain.

There were those who could not understand why you seemed to take your time, why you had to follow such a torturous route back to Me, why your emotions were all out of kilter. Supersaint was so anxious to dismiss you as extra baggage on the Glory Train, that she did not even once stop to consider your precious Contents.

So long as you realize your utter dependency on Me, I am able to lift you up and carry you when you feel you cannot go on, when you think everyone else is flying past you and don't even notice you've fallen by the wayside. My Blood is sufficient to wash away every sin. My Blood is able to give you victory over the evil one who would destroy you. Through the merits of My atoning Blood, I am able to sanctify you and see you safely to heaven. My Love will enrapture your heart there, even as it cheered your heart on earth.

The Breakfast Entree

Psalms 35:16; Galatians 5:15

A special prayer breakfast was being held by a Christian women's group. That sweet girl did not know it was such a formal affair. She had supposed its sole purpose was to fellowship around Me and strengthen the faith of one another. She wore a long floral skirt and a green bandanna which partially covered her hair. She looked neat and presentable; she just didn't look "conservative" enough to suit some.

It was testimony time. A gruff-looking woman with a mannish haircut got up to speak a word 'for My glory". She wore a severe black dress of the "proper" length. She made a few pointless remarks about nothing in particular, then delivered her punch line, staring holes into the girl: "You know, I used to be a hippie, but the Lord delivered me."

Her victim had really been naive in believing there were no class divisions in My Body, that it was united in My Love. Many think cultural customs and prejudices are requirements of My Word, that I have put My royal seal of approval on the trappings of this selfish secular society, and those who don't adhere strictly to them are actually sinning against Me. And when did I ever teach that only women who chop off their hair and wear britches and business suits are pleasing in My sight? Did My own mother look like that?

The Black Sheep

Matthew 7:1-5; John 8:7; Matthew 23:23-24

Another woman belonged to a church which discouraged its members from wearing jewelry, and had definite restrictions on how women should look. They considered it semi-sinful to wear costly attire, and downright sinful for a woman to come to church in slacks.

She did not have time to go home from her job (which required slacks as part of the uniform) and change into a dress before church. It would have made her very late for the service. And because the eyes of the saints were on each other instead of on Me, all the joyful shouting ceased when she walked in. Finally the others had witnessed a big sin they could sink their teeth into, one worth buzzing about. She was made to feel like the black sheep of the church.

That sister had broken one of their most sacred taboos. She was never treated quite the same after that. Even her beloved pastor ended up siding with the others who froze her out for working at a job which required slacks. He dared not alienate his disciples by preaching on their need to put on the Garment of Charity, which is the bond of perfection.

No Longer Under Tribute

Matt. 17:24-27; Gal. 4:1-7; I Cor. 6:17; I Pet. 2:9; Heb. 3:1; 4:14-16

Some of you have been alienated from Me by wrong applications of selected Scriptures such as: 'You shall not appear before the Lord they God empty' (Deut. 16:16-17). You might recall an imperious figure in a pulpit, impeccably dressed, eager to finish the offertory prayer just so he could reap the harvest of his favorite lucrative Scriptures. Ones addressed specifically to Old Testament worshippers under the Law of Moses.

O My beloved child, don't you realize you are always before Me? My Spirit indwells you and your very body is My Temple. You don't have to show up at some brick-and-mortar building to appear before Me in prayer. The Body of Christ, the Church, is composed of living stones and I dwell within each one of you, and I manifest My glory in the midst of you.

When you were born again under the New Covenant of Grace, you became My dear children, not My servants only. If money-hungry pastors are so eager to dig gold nuggets out of My Word, why do they gloss over those parts of their pet Scripture passages which don't serve their own ends? Compulsory monetary contributions to the Temple were called 'tribute' (Deut. 16:10), and were required of males only, and only three times a year, during the three major holy feasts of Israel (Deut. 16:16-17).

If opportunistic preachers really wanted to apply Old Testament guidelines for giving, they would exempt women from compulsory offerings altogether, and collect them from the men only during the the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. And they would offer up burnt animal sacrifices in the church building on the same occasions.

They couldn't do this anyway. Why? I no longer reside in a Temple of Stone. Modern-day pastors are NOT the equivalent of the High Priest who presided over the ancient Temple, whose upkeep was paid for with tribute money. My Son is High Priest over My entire Church and He presides over a Temple of Living Stones. My corporate body of believers world-wide comprises the Church of the Living God, though there are local manifestations of it. All true believers comprise My modern Priesthood. You are made one Spirit with Me by faith. So how can you possibly consider yourself "the laity", who "come to church" just to bring in tribute to fatten the lifestyle of more exalted Christians?

Scripture has been used as a weapon to fire condemnation at those out of work, on tight pensions or underpaid. If you were more industrious and disciplined, some pastors say, you would never have to appear before the Lord empty.

How much money did the dying Thief on the Cross have to put in the offering plate before I forgave him? Is there money in heaven? I think not. My own Son, Who is God Incarnate, had to take His own Temple tax contribution from the mouth of a fish.

When you reproach the penniless you insult Me also. When you say they have no right to come to your church you also shut Me out.

Peacocks on Parade

Jeremiah 9:23-24; Philippians 2:3; James Chapter 2; I Peter 5:5

I have children in every income bracket. There are those who have an easy time of it, compared with their struggling brethren. But vigilance must be maintained by My more affluent children, lest satan use their wealth to tempt them to conceal the unaffected loveliness of the Christ nature behind a facade of proud flesh. Many feel that if you possess wealth, you must look and act the part.

I am present in church services all over the world, though at times I am permitted to be little more than a Spectator. I see what goes on in rich churches. The women outdo each other in wearing their finest apparel. One does wonder: Does she wear that fancy dress in MY honor, or to impress her fellow parishioners? And the men, resplendent in their expensive suits and gold lapel pins; just whom are they trying to impress when they walk stiffly down the aisles with just a hint of a swagger?

Blending in Better

The new convert had no idea it was such a formal church.The pastor greeted him at the door with a half-hearted smile. His eyes briefly darted up and down the figure standing before him. The man felt very ill at ease in his sweater vest and jeans. Nearly driven to suicide by personal problems, he had turned to Me as a last resort. After his conversion, he had been referred to that church by phone counsellors. But for most of the service he ducked his head and kept to himself. No one else cared to join him in his pew. He could almost feel the curious eyes of the other men boring holes into his conspicuous sweater. After all, the man's attire would have gotten him ejected from any executive boardroom, and their religion was "success". The man mused: If wearing a fancy suit does THIS to a man, I'd better stick with what I've got on.

Offering time was the last straw. The poor fellow would not get paid for two weeks, and only had two quarters to put into the plate. As it went from hand to hand, he heard the rustle of checks and twenty-dollar bills going into it and asked My forgiveness for what he was about to do. The sepulchral stillness of the sanctuary was broken by a loud CLINK! as his two coins fell together in the paper-filled plate. The man reproached himself thus: If only I'd given just one quarter! There's no other coins in the plate, and it wouldn't have made a clink! Those seated nearby awoke with a start, and an epidemic of throat-clearing and coughing broke out. More stares.

What must the man do to gain their acceptance, and blend in better with the wallpaper? If such a one were really serious about becoming like My Son, I would not have him to strive to acquire traits which I would only have to purge back out of his life through trials. My Son is all-wise; yet He possesses the simple heart of a child. He is the King of Glory; yet He is utterly approachable and accessible to all who come to Him in humility, admitting that they cannot please Me without the power of His Life operating in and through them.

The humble saint makes his boast in the Lord; the proud soul wants only to outshine the wallpaper.

Freely Come

Isaiah 55:1; Rev. 22:17

I know full well why some of you have sworn off formal church services. The same reason you wouldn't attend any show which charges admission. Your pockets are empty, and that's all that seems to matter to those who take up the tribute and don't truly believe that My riches are sufficient to meet every need.

The Greatest Gift of All

Luke 21:1-4; I Cor. 11:22; James 2:6

More than a few of the congregation were out of a job, and struggling to get by on very little. Times were so hard for some of those folks that it was all they could do to keep on smiling. Still, most of the people wanted to put something in the offering plate. They knew that if they gave out of their need, I would bless them in turn. So the poorer saints planned to quietly contribute pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters_whatever they had. Most of those dear ones weren't trying to be stingy with me, for I knew their hearts. They just didn't have more to give. It was even a sacrifice for them to burn the gasoline to get to church that night, to go get the whipping the pastor was getting ready to dish out.

He already suspected what they were about to do, for he had been dissatisfied with earlier offerings. He had places to go, and rousing sermons to deliver. He wanted to be sure he and his family would travel in comfort and enjoy themselves. His poorer brethren couldn't afford go on spiritual sabbaticals. Still, He must nip this nuisance in the bud, lest his congregation make a habit of these small donations.

Why, he asked them, did they always slip their offerings into the plate, so secretly and so softly, lest they clink? If the offering is good enough to put in, he said, why not wave it around for all to see, then let it make a little noise ? For emphasis, he said, "Now I'll properly begin the offering. Proudly he waved a ten-dollar bill. Jauntily he flipped it into the plate. Then, he reached into his pocket and drew out a fistful of nickels. Contemptuously he slammed them down before the altar, shocking and shaming the poor out in the congregation.

My daughter remembered Jesus' story of the poor widow giving her last two pennies to the Lord, and how much I appreciated that simple act of faith. She also considered that there were many rich men in the Temple who gave huge offerings which boosted their public image, but were far less sacrificial than the offering of that destitute woman. My daughter could discern where that preacher's heart lay.

The Mountain Climber

Psalms Chapter 91; Proverbs 22:3; Matt. 6:13; Luke 11:4b

A young athlete went to an older man to get advice on how to climb a high mountain all the way to the peak. It would be a treacherous, challenging climb, fraught with many dangers. But, thought the young man, here was a real pro. An expert who had a long string of college degrees, with a postgraduate in geological sciences.

The two men had a long discussion on the best way to get to the top, what clothing should be worn, what equipment carried, the terrain and rock formations to be conquered.

"Am I likely to fall and get hurt?" inquired the young man.

"Oh, a few light scrapes and bruises here and there," shrugged his mentor. "But they're good for building character. Pain is the making of a seasoned athlete. The more you suffer the more likely you are to persevere until you reach the top. Just give God thanks for every injury that comes your way and someday you'll even get to be an expert like me."

Dumbly the young man nodded, thanked him for his time and left for his expedition. He was so obsessed with earning his scars he forgot everything else he learned from the other man. As he scaled the slopes he'd make minor errors of judgment. He'd get a bruise here, a cut there. "Oh goodie," he chuckled, wiping away the blood. "I'm doing just great. The more I suffer the bigger a success I'll be."

Finally he saw something coming at him: an avalanche of boulders. But instead of taking cover in a hollow of the rock and waiting out the rock storm till it was over, the simple man spread out his arms in joy and exultation and cried "Oh, praise the Lord! Showers of blessing! Thank You, Jesus! I'll really reach the top now!"

Although the man went to heaven in a hurry and praised the Lord as he did so, the devil was delighted. Here was one believer who would pose no further threat to him or his kingdom. Not only had the man given satan no fight of resistance, he had praised the wrong One for the avalanche.

"Praise the Lord!" is music to My ears, but in times of extreme danger "Save me, Lord!" is much more appropriate. But why should you pray for Me to save you from the works of the devil if you honestly believe they're a blessing in disguise? Rather, why wouldn't you pray for worse things to befall you, and to do so all the time? If that is true, Psalms 91 is not for you!

The geological expert, so eager to dispense advice on how to conquer the hazards of a high mountain, had never done anything more physically challenging than climbing the stairs. All his learning had been done from books, at a safe distance from the rigors of nature.

Beware of going overboard in telling wounded souls that the more they suffer the more they should rejoice. Unless you're prepared to get up off of your cozy sofa and go suffer with them!

Never forget it's a war you're in. Your enemy becomes deadly dangerous when you rush out to the battlefield to absorb as many of his bullets as possible, just to maximize your suffering and try to rack up points with Me to prove you're more spiritual than all the rest.

It's commendable to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ, but truth carried to extremes becomes death-dealing error.

Playing Host to the Thief

John 10:10

The thief cometh not but for to steal, kill, and destroy. I am come that ye might have life more abundantly, not the death satan deals. Behold, I see many of My saints happily playing host to an enemy out to kill and destroy them. But some of My people are blind. Not only do they give thanks for all satan's evil works, they rejoice in being the targets of his daily oppression. They have thrown their doors wide open to the enemy and he has taken up residence in their lives as a squatter.

The devil raids their spiritual refrigerator. He tosses out the things which might give the saint strength to win the victory and substitutes spiritual food of his own which is calculated to weaken the believer's resistance to attack. Satan will allow 98% truth so long as it is diluted with a trickle of deadly lies.

The devil goes from room to room, leaving his mark on everything he sees. He steals treasures and trophies won by the saint, things which once brought radiance to his face. By the time satan has rifled through the house and substituted evil things for good things, the saint's joy has withered away. The saint becomes once again a slave bound by a chain of sadness and oppression; somebody who thinks there is no higher service than to suffer "for My glory".

Take back your inheritance, My children. I did not die for you so you could end up as the devil's doormat. Clothe your inner man in the power of My Spirit of Might. Kick the intruder out.

Wounded in the House of My Brethren

Ezekiel 34: 18-19; Zechariah 13:6; John 7:5; and 18:35; Hebrews 4:15-16

You discovered that persecution isn't always inflicted solely by sinners. There have been occasions when malicious or careless words were directed at you through the mouth of someone who should have allowed Me to govern his or her tongue. Even as unruly sheep of the flock butt around the weaker ones and drive them away from the choicest pasturage, so many weak souls have been scattered into the wilderness by an unkind tongue, or a harsh, cold-shouldering attitude.

My own brethren with whom I grew up failed to understand Me, or the nature of My work. When I was about to be crucified, it was the leaders of My own nation who betrayed Me into the hands of the Romans. Through their treachery, I received the wounds in My side, feet, and hands, the marks of which are still visible today. Though it was a pagan Roman who drove the nails through my hands and feet, I was rejected by my own people.

The patriarch Joseph was cast out of his home by his own brethren, and betrayed into the hands of heathens who sold him as a slave. Those brothers of his could not see what Joseph could see, for they did not share his vision. At the time, their only concern was to protect their place in the pecking order. Their sin against their own flesh and blood sprang from envy, an insidious evil of man's fallen nature.

Too many of My people are obsessed with restricting the membership of their little cliques, and ruling over their own little kingdoms in My Name. These deluded ones glory in the fact that their pleasurable world is a properly tidy one, containing every element which could possibly make for their own happiness, and excess baggage is excluded. You weren't regarded as being spiritual enough to please such people, were you?

But while these people are rejoicing over their imaginary achievements and resting on their imaginary accolades, you can rest in My everlasting arms. It is the wounded sheep who enjoys the privilege of being borne in the bosom of the Shepherd, close to His heart; not the self-satisfied one who thinks he is full and in need of nothing.

My precious child, I can have compassion on you. I've also walked in your shoes.

You Are Forgiven. Period

Luke 23:34; I John 1:9

It is so easy to let your guard down and make a careless remark to a sensitive soul, spread gossip, or otherwise act in an offensive manner. When one believer wounds another, even unintentionally, it is important to go apologize and be reconciled in the Spirit of My love.

Some of you have bad memories of people who refused to forgive you. The other person loved to rub your nose in the mess you made over and over again, didn't he (or she)? I know how hurt and crushed you were in your heart, how worthless the other person made you feel, how much devilish delight it gave him to inflict that unwarranted punishment on your soul. But what a foul sin he committed, taking such perverse reprisal against you.

I remember one horrid individual who actually boasted that he held the key to the eternal destiny of the man he refused to forgive. That cruel one would cite John 20:23 and remind his fellow churchgoer that if he so chose, he could retain his sin rather than forgive it, and send him to hell for it.

Such mental cruelty has hardly any match. That poor penitent soul was hounded by satan because of his brother's hardness of heart. He suffered deep depression and nightmares. He felt bound by the ill will of the other man, who said it might take months before he "felt a release to forgive him". Exacting such deliberate emotional torture upon another saint is a horrendous sin against My Love. It is an act of witchcraft of the basest sort. Whoever does such things shall not inherit My Kingdom, and has moved himself out from under the protection of My blood.

Christ forgave the Roman soldiers who killed Him. They were unbelievers who had no part in My Holy Covenant, and could claim no rights as My children. It would have been perfectly just if I had rained down wrath upon those evil men, rather than giving them space to repent of their sins. But I chose to be merciful.

Many a Christian has even refused to forgive one of My children who has sincerely repented of an unintentional mistake, although the repentant one belongs to Me and deeply loves Me with all his heart.

The unforgiven man left church and turned to drink. Driven to the depths of despair, he phoned a Christian counselor. I used this loving, caring saint to impart an anointed word of wisdom which broke that man's terrible spiritual bondage and set him well on the road to recovery. I let him know that the self-righteous Pharisees of Christ's day objected to the tender mercies I extended to tax collectors, harlots, thieves, and drunkards. The wicked, judgmental Pharisees would have shut those poor folk out of heaven if they'd had their own way about it.

The man found a good church presided over by the Good Shepherd. It was so full of My Love that no self-righteous game player would have felt at home in that place.

If hatred and back-biting taint the atmosphere of your so-called church, don't marinate your soul in that mess by staying there. Get out immediately before your heart grows cold and hard from resentment. I will lead you elsewhere, to a place where you will be wanted and loved.

I will also give you the grace to forgive those who refused to forgive you. What higher or nobler testimony of Christlike character could there be in your life? How could you ever doubt that I cherish you, and would never reject you, just because the enemy has temporarily blinded another person to My goodness?

Nobody can tell Me I don't have the right to forgive one of my children who comes to Me in true repentance!

I Bore Your Rejection

Psalms 22:6; Isaiah 53:3

Many preachers emphasize the fact that I enjoyed popularity with everyday people who would hardly listen to the self-righteous Pharisees. Truly, the people of Jerusalem did rejoice and spread palm branches in the path of My donkey when I rode into the city. They lauded Me as the long-awaited Son of David, their Messiah. At long last, their Deliverer had come. Surely I would deliver them from the pagan Roman Empire, which had oppressed their land for centuries.

When this worshipful multitude began to realize that I had no intentions of delivering their land from Roman occupation by military prowess, many of them began to have second thoughts about Me. Regardless of all the miracles I performed to heal their sick and relieve their distress, I had failed to fulfill their dreams of an all-conquering army general. They did not realize that I had come the first time to save sinners, not to judge them. That I shall do at My Second Coming.

My foes in the Religious Establishment grasped their opportunity to act against Me, seeing that I had no visible army to safeguard Me from their malice. I was betrayed by one of My own disciples, who was likewise chagrined that I had not chosen to act militarily against Rome. He was not pleased that My mission at that time was to deliver My people from the tyranny of sin, and translate them from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light.

When I stood before Pilate, I was not so popular any more. Many of those same people who had sworn allegiance to Me as their Messiah now cried out for My Blood to be shed. They had rejected Me for rejecting their way of doing what they considered God's will, for I had chosen God's true will and way instead.

I suffered all that rejection and shame for your sake. I took your rejection and griefs to the Cross, as well as your sins. The next time the devil comes to you and reminds you that Supersaint has rejected you for being less than a perfect Christian, you remind that old rascal that he has no right to put that crushing spirit of rejection upon you, to weigh you down and get you to disparage your own value.

Even if you must go so far as to disassociate that self-righteous person from your concept of Me, DO IT! If you aren't strong enough spiritually to think compassionately of that person, then, without a spirit of malice, just commit him or her into My faithful hands one final time, and I will deal with that soul. Then you are free to shake off the dust of your feet against the very memory of that person and go on to be a light before more receptive souls. But, by no means, do not grow alienated from Me because of Supersaint.

I absolutely will not abide having a negative spirit feeding upon your soul which has been put there by a carping, cold-hearted hypocrite. My sufferings have earned you the right to walk in freedom, and in the joy of the Lord. And whether Supersaint likes it or not, I am able to make you thrive, and even spread a table of My delights before you in the Wilderness.

Revolting Food

Isa. 5:20; 7:15; Col. 4:6

A certain mother thought it was unspiritual to take any interest in learning to cook properly, that making food appetizing would spoil her children. She would boil her meats and vegetables till they were reduced to tasteless mush. Whenever she did season food, it was always carelessly and indifferently.

The food didn't just taste plain, it tasted so horrible the children could feel their stomachs crying out in protest whenever they tried to swallow it. But the kids endured meal time stoically and forced themselves to eat, lest they get a whipping. As soon as they were old enough to move about independently they frequented fast food joints and even lifeless French fries and jelly doughnuts tasted heavenly to them.

That's the way it is in so many churches where the leadership are pushing their own lucrative agenda, or simply want to play a power game with people's fears about their own eternal security. They'll take some good plain wholesome nuggets from My Word and twist and contort them till they're unrecognizable as spiritual food. Then they'll season the selected passages with bitter sarcasm till the people can't stomach them. If they remain in that church for very long they get spiritual gastroenteritis and their spiritual health declines from lack of proper nourishment.

My malnourished sheep are so desperate anything tastes better than the slop they're fed in church.

Fast...or Else!

Zech. 8:19; Matt. 6: 11;16-18; 11: 18-19; 15:11; Luke 7:33-34; Romans 14:3; Hebrews 2:18

Some of you have left your "radical" church because you got tired of being beat over the head about the doctrine of fasting. Believe it or not, while fasting might be important when it is necessary, it is not one of the key doctrines of salvation over which you might break fellowship with someone who differs with you!

Many saints don't know their own hearts as they should. Their true motive for frequent self-denial is spiritual oneupmanship. Not because they truly love Me or My Kingdom, but to increase their prestige in the eyes of the church and to lord it over more "carnal" Christians. They count it all joy to endure a little mortification of their flesh as a small price to pay to gain the praise of men. They put on a sad face and make loud their wails, to be heard above softer prayers of other Christians kneeling at the altar. They say My Son would have "lived a fasted life" and gone round hungry and sad all the time to appear more spiritual.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Christ endured his forty-day fast before the start of His ministry to help Him overcome especially hard temptations, that He might have compassion on all those who were likewise tempted in this world. And He fasted shorter periods on other occasions. But how can a Man accused of being a winebibber and a glutton be labeled as a sad ascetic? Jesus came to set an example for you. So He lived a wholesome, balanced life, glorifying Me in all that He did. He mixed freely in society, rather than cloistering Himself away from the world. He joined in the feasting at weddings and other parties, while distancing Himself from coarse conversation or other "things coming from within that make a man unclean".

All too many are putting the cart before the horse. To avoid ostracism or criticism saints grudgingly skip meals for one or many days, after being told that it will empower their prayers, and "if you love Jesus you'll do it or else". But the highest way is to so excel in the school of prayer and develop such a love for it, that you will get lost in the flow of My Spirit of intercession and forego for a time all the bother and fuss of meal preparation and other mundane tasks, and closet your soul in the secret place of the Most High so that you might more clearly hear My Voice. I would build you up, not tear you down, as we two meet and you pour out your heart to me.

In Old Testament times fasting was often viewed as an obligatory ordeal of mourning and breast-beating, entered into with dread. But now that you have My joy dwelling within you, why should anyone demand that you mourn, so long as your sins are repented of and under My blood? Ye are not slaves, but sons who come before Your Father with confidence that you are already accepted in the Beloved.

A Well In the Wilderness
(Given to me in memory of an excellent Christian ministry)

Proverbs 15:23; Isaiah 44:3

You nearly despaired of ever seeing My resemblance again in another human being. Remember how your concept of what I am really like began to get a bit garbled? You began to think that perhaps My Holiness was just as harsh that of Supersaint. In your darkest days you even wondered why I had made you at all. Nothing seemed to be going right. In your poorest days you felt like a spectacle before your family, and a laughingstock of the devil. He tried to tell you you had a third-class ticket to the lowest rung of heaven, and you didn't matter much to Me anyway. In those dark days satan oppressed you heavily.

But I showed you a light at the end of the tunnel and told you to only trust in Me, for the devil wouldn't have the last word. Through a providential series of circumstances you met a man who wasn't out to build a mega-ministry, just to serve Me in the simplicity of Christ. His unaffected manner won you over immediately.You could tell he didn't play manipulative games with people's emotions. He really possessed My Love, and was eager to share it through ministering My anointed Word.

His voice literally sparkled with the joy of the Lord as he ministered to you on the phone. Where My Presence is, there is fullness of joy. That black mood the enemy brought upon your soul fled before My miracle-working power, and the needed answers came. More importantly, you saw Christ in this person, as you had seen him in few others. My Son was warm, compassionate and unpretentious.

What a blessing it was, my daughter, those three visits you made to his home prayer group in the closing chapter of his earthly sojourn. You hardly saw the man himself, Christ shone so brightly through him. He spoke not one disparaging word to anybody present, only exhortation, encouragement, and edification. How privileged you all were to have benefited from the ministry of Christ working through him.

Now your friend is with Me in Paradise, and you will see him again someday. When my servant was with you on earth, you never flattered him for the good qualities you saw in his life, for you knew that would have been unseemly. But I have let him know that he left behind My signature on your life: An encounter with the true nature of My Holy Son.

The Road to Destruction_Cults and the Occult

Psalms 116:11; Romans 3:4; II Corinthians 11:14

The very second satan tempts you to renounce your precious faith and dismiss it all as unreality, RUN, don't walk, to My Throne of Grace. That is one of the very worst temptations you could ever face! If you are a believer, I am your very Life. Without Me, you abide in death.

Call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for succour in the time of temptation or trial. By faith see Him in heaven, standing at My Right Hand. Ask Me to open your eyes of faith, that you might even see My sweet Son making intercession for you as you pour out your heart to Him. He is able to deliver you, and to lead you to those who adhere to the Truth of His Word, that you might not stand alone in your darkest hours.

The devil may tempt you to seek the guidance of so-called psychics. Some of them seem to know everything about you even before you pick up the phone and call, but the devil has his demonic agents out there gathering data on every individual, in order to formulate effective battle strategy. That psychic certainly doesn't get her information from ME. And satan always exacts a terrible price for the so-called "help" he gives. Many who have turned to him for help have become mentally confused, depressed or even suicidal because they allowed deceiving spirits to enter their lives.

Reincarnation is one of the satan's most widespread lies. Believers in reincarnation think they die many times, and are given chance after chance to atone for past sins by living better life the next time. But it is written: It is appointed to man to die once, and then comes his judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Righteousness only comes through receiving the benefits of the perfect Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

Stay away from all cults. Even those who seem to teach sound moral principles generally deny some or all of the bedrock truths of the Gospel of Salvation: the virgin birth of Christ, His divinity, His substitutionary atonement on the Cross, His bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His present ministry as High Priest in Heaven, the indwelling of His Spirit in all true believers, His soon return to rule as King. False religions tend to teach that one inherits eternal life if a strict moral code is kept. But all cults, however enticing they are, are powerless to raise a spiritually dead sinner to Newness of Life. It is like trying to restore life to a rotting corpse by applying cosmetics and perfume to it. In reality, you gain heaven only by being saved by the Blood of the Lamb and being kept by My merciful grace through faith! No one has ever been saved by trying to keep a set of rules!

Cultists are clever. They know that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Everyone wants and needs love. People want to belong. Most of the time, people are sucked into cults by being showered with affection and attention. This predisposes the unwitting victim to feel so indebted to his new "friends" that it would trigger guilt feelings for him to leave the group, even if error is taught. Moreover, leaders of cults usually demand devotion of their followers bordering on idolatry, and unquestioning obedience. In true Christianity, Christ alone is exalted, not earthly personalities. Only He is able to impart eternal life. Even if people have failed you time and time again, hold fast to Him. He is altogether lovely.

Submission Begins and Ends With Christ

I Cor. 7:23

Sometimes there is a real problem with the leadership, and the parishioners have every right to be concerned about it when the particular problem directly disrupts their personal lives. Occasionally leadership misuses its position of authority to control people and get them to do what they want, even at the cost of causing choas in the congregation.

In one small church the people, especially the men, were expected to volunteer for one-hour shifts sitting by a church telephone hotline at all hours of the day and night. This caused much marital strain and weariness to men who had to rise early and go to work. They began to wonder: "What will the leadership demand of us next?"

There is a big problem when parishioners are made to feel guilty for seeing there is a problem with overbearing leadership. Instead of letting problems rot under a rug, they should be brought out into the open. When Discerning of Spirits is working in the congregation, it will be apparent that a church which made a guileless beginning with Me has allowed a clearly defined wall to spring up between the leaders and the led. This happens when the devil blinds the leadership to the reality that believers are all one body in Christ Jesus. Instead, there might be exhortations from the pulpit that saints ought to aspire to join the "inner circle" iof the church. This is, in reality, a class division between the leadership and the outer fringes of the so-called laity. Suppression of any feelings of unease about the excesses of dictatorial leadership is but a symptom of much more serious problem: disregarding the gentle cautions of the Spirit of God, just because they are expressed through "less important" members of My Body.

A season of soul-searching prayer might help clarify things for a church caught up in the "us versus them" dilemma. In the worst case scenario, there might even be a spirit of antichrist at work, warring with the Spirit of God for control of the church. It is all too easy for pastors and elders to demand blind, unquestioning obedience and forget that I alone am Lord.

Where Does Human Authority Begin and End?

Genesis Chapter 39; Acts 5:29; Eph. 6:5-8

Those under any kind of human authority are exhorted by My Word to be obedient and submissive. Servants are commanded to please in all things their earthly masters. This principle applies to an employee working for a secular boss. Faithfulness in carrying out the duties of one's employment is enjoined, with an attitude of service toward Christ, Who is the true Master of the believer and the object of his devotion.

I have said in My Word: Whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God. That means that all you do, even your secular employment, ought to be seen as a heartfelt service to the Lord. Any Christian employee who lives this way will do a superb job and be promoted to greater things in due time.

Joseph kept this principle. He knew that he was destined to be a great man. But for a time, I permitted him to fall into abject slavery. This did not make him resentful. Instead, he performed even his humblest tasks to the best of his ability. His master promoted him to be overseer over all the affairs of his house.

But Joseph knew there was a boundary beyond which his obedience to human authority could not go. His mistress lusted after him and demanded that he sleep with her. He refused, knowing he could not betray Potiphar's trust without also betraying Me. And He could not perform such wicked "service" to the glory of a Holy God. Joseph took the consequences of his disobedience, but I exalted him to the throne in due time because he was willing to put the interests of his Heavenly King first even at great cost to himself.

Godly discernment and vigilance are called for. Human authority ends where My own is crossed.

A Family Divided

Genesis 25:24-34; Chapter 27; Acts 5:29

There were two twin boys. Isaac loved hairy, brawny Esau the best, for he considered him a real he-man go-getter who wasn't afraid of anything. Esau was the firstborn twin. Jacob's wife Rebecca preferred his more domesticated brother Jacob. She plotted behind her husband's back and deceived him so her favorite son could trick his father into giving him, instead of Esau, the inheritance of the firstborn son. She ordered Jacob to help her carry out this deception, which involved lying to his own dad and cheating his own brother. Wrongful submission to his mother and sinning against his father set Jacob up for a lifetime of regret and heartache.

In My Word I command children to honor and obey their parents. But when two different Biblical commandments conflict because carrying out one of them involves sin, then faithfulness to My principles of holiness must take priority.

The Jezebel Spirit

I Kings 21:5-16; Luke 17:32; James 3:17; Rev. 2:20-23

Beware of the headstrong, tyrranical female who rules the roost with a rod of iron, teaches sensational doctrines unfounded on My Word, and claims immunity from personal accountability on the basis of being an exalted "prophetess". Many souls have been hurt by strong religious personalities who mix elements of the occult with their private interpretations of My Word. And women, especially, can fall into the trap of the Jezebel deceiving spirit which masquerades as the Holy Spirit. In her own way she proclaims loudly that she is lord and never to be questioned. Jesus is dethroned in her mind, and hardly ever mentioned...just an angry, vengeful "god" who goes forth at her beck and call to lay curses upon those she doesn't like.

I, Jesus, the true Head of the Church, have had to minister soothing Oil of the true Spirit of God to My hurting sheep who got taken in by this domineering character who is so brilliant in her own eyes she blocks out the Son in the eyes of her listeners. Many have been wounded by her, assailed by evil spirits emanating from her presence to put those she doesn't like under yokes of heavy spiritual oppression. She doesn't hesitate to pubicly name and shame those who are brave enough to defect from her cultic prison house and reclaim their own souls. Instead of serving others with tenderhearted meekness and seeking to build bridges in the unity of Christ based upon the Word of God, she rails against her critics and prays curses upon them to maintain her dominance and power over weaker souls.

Jezebel murdered an innocent man who crossed her, to take what he had and show everybody who was boss. She even resorted to using a religious pretext to make her sin appear respectable before the whole community, to gain sympathy for herself and turn people against her victim. The false prophetess who lords it over others with "authority" to call down "divine judgment" on those who question her mystical doctrines is in reality sending out evil spirits to do her dirty work for her. That is being a religious gangster, plain and simple. I don't deal in terror tactics to rein in My children. I discipline My rebellious kids who don't repent and strive to go on to true holiness, but I never invested in any woman or man the power or right to terrorize My people to keep them under their thumb. That is witchcraft of the basest sort.

If you should ever feel a horrible uneasiness about any ministry, male or female, and they try to persuade you that you've got no right to question what they teach or listen to your own sanctified conscience, sever all ties with such a one and don't ever look back! Remember Lot's wife. You only hurt yourself and reopen old wounds by looking back.

Don't even try to reason away the spiritual oppression you feel from having strayed into Jezebel's hog pen to eat. And once you come to your senses and escape her clutches, don't condemn yourself for failing to love her and build bridges to meet her halfway. In order to get near her you had to cross a shaky bridge over a dangerous pit, and I carried you safely back where you belonged, that you might remain within the boundaries of My Word, under the shelter of My Wings. Instead of making peace with a Jezebel who rejects sound doctrine, burn those dangerous

bridges behind you and get away from! And whenever you sense a weight of oppression because you broke away from such a one, that is definitely not Me rebuking you. It is satan! Don't try to overcome this wicked oppressing principality of satan in your own strength. Get others to pray with you. And as you war against spirits of religious deception, ask Me, the Christ within you, to contend with the spirit of antichrist controlling the life of that dangerous "ministry" which has himself or herself as the center of it, rather than Christ the Lord.

Come Out, My People

Gen. 12:1; Joshua 24:2; Heb. 11:8-10; Rev. 18:4

If "church" feels like a tomb, do like Lazarus did and get out. Tombs are for the dead, not the living. It would seem far more loving to patiently wait for your place of worship to grow out of its apathy, but time is short. You will only drift further from Me if you try to tough it out and stay there until your nominal church decides it's ready to hear My Voice and arise from the dead. You must have the courage of Abraham to go forth by faith unto the place I have reserved for thee, My beloved people. He forsook the land of his father's idols to go where I sent him. He didn't linger there waiting for it to change. You must go where My program of loving people and reaching hearts for Christ is already in full swing.

The Priceless Pastor

Galatians 5:1 I Timothy 5:17; I Peter 5:1-4

It honestly does take courage on a pastor's part to let the saints walk in liberty, to follow My leading in everyday matters such as dress, adornment, and whether or not to drink wine. Christians, as they mature, must learn to listen to My still small Voice within, which will guide them in decisions great or small, and warn them of potential dangers. It is much like the maturing of a Christian child. As he grows in experience and becomes more attuned to My Voice, he is more able to evaluate situations in the Light of My Word, and to respond accordingly. It is imperative to keep a pair of scissors from a toddler, but you would not hesitate to trust a twelve-year-old with them, unless he is mischievous or accident-prone. A good parent knows the capabilities and maturity level of each child, and will grant him privileges accordingly.

Many things are wrong under all circumstances. There was a woman who fell in love with an unhappily married man. At her level of Christian maturity, she should have dismissed that temptation outright. The devil often uses situational ethics to formulate his battle strategy. He deceived this Christian lady into thinking it would be a far worse tragedy for a man to stay in a shaky marriage than for her to lure him away from his own wife and children. The man was inclined to try to make his marriage work, but the other woman objected to this. Her pastor learned about the situation, and reproved the woman for her attitude and behavior. She took offense and compared him to a well-known cult leader who had led his followers to mass suicide. He was interfering in HER life, she said. He had no right to be dictatorial. But he would have had to answer to Me, had he kept quiet about it.

There definitely are times when the pastor must step in and lovingly rebuke such a straying sheep. If you have a pastor who exalts Christ in his teaching and conduct, believes in true liberty in Christ, and yet knows when it is necessary to speak words of warning, don't turn your back on him. He is indeed a priceless jewel.

Ask Me to Anoint Your Eyes

II Kings 6:17; Ephesians 4:30; I Thessalonians 5:19; Revelation 3:18

You, My child, have been appalled over the years by the inconsistencies in various individuals and churches. How could they profess to love Me and yet deny My love to others? How could they dig into My Word looking for My hidden treasures, and yet gloss over My greatest commandment of all?

The answer: If the person concerned has truly been born again, he or she is keeping that Treasure within them "discreetly" hidden from view. At the very least they are dimming the Brightness of the precious Life within by concealing it under lamp shades of flesh. At worst, they are denying their own Lord Who bought them and setting up other idols in My place.

The Prophet Elijah had a young servant who could only see things through his natural eyes. He saw the forces of the Syrian army advancing on Israel. Elijah could see the chariots of fire and angelic hosts who had come to fight on behalf of My people. He asked Me to empower the eyes of the young man to be able to see that which is invisible, but just as real. The servant was delighted and amazed to see just how vast My military machine is. Because he could see in the realm of faith, he just KNEW all would be well.

The hour is perilously late, and so many of My people and church leaders, especially, seem to be woefully behind in understanding what My true priorities are. But I can see the end from the beginning, and I will have a church without spot or wrinkle when I appear in the clouds to catch her away. You who have been disappointed or even hurt by things you've encountered in church, please ask Me to anoint your eyes to see erring believers as I do. Pray earnestly for revival in My congregations, and ask Me to keep you in the right attitude, lest a root of bitterness spring up in your heart.

With faith will come hope that I am able to do even the impossible in the hearts and lives of people. The Gold is within all those who are truly converted; but, all too often, it is hidden from view, sometimes deliberately, because the lure of the world means more to some than love for Me. To suppress the outflow of My indwelling Life is to quench, or frustrate the Spirit.

Ask Me to Lead You to the Gold

II Corinthians 4:7; Colossians 1:27; Revelation 21:8

Miners must sift through lots of dirt to find rare nuggets of gold. To earthly understanding, the value of gold lies in its very rarity. Yet that which is possessed by only a few on earth is commonplace in heaven. Even the streets of Glory are paved with gold, and the homes embellished with it. Many snow-white garments are embroidered with gold thread, enhancing their luminous purity. The Heavenly City itself is pure gold. It is a reflection of My Holiness, and the holiness of saints who have attained to this glorious abode through faith. So many of these lived long lives on the earth, contending with the dross of the flesh nature, and their faith was refined in the fire till it shone forth with transparent purity.

What you see in others, and sometimes yourself, is the dross of the carnal Adamic nature striving against the Christ-nature for the mastery. Some individuals give in without caring enough to seek My grace to mortify the baser nature within. But it is particularly grievous to Me when My ministers set a bad example by quenching the Spirit or giving in to the lusts of the flesh, with the excuse that they are under grace and I'll overlook their faults anyway. That's venturing into dangerous waters.

Be quick to appreciate any signs of the Christ-life you see in other believers, or even in yourself. That's making progress. If you are in a position where no one seems to care about your prayer needs or really believes in My power, pray to Me that I will send you someone who is deep in My Spirit and doesn't quench My Life within. If you are able to see a strong resemblance to Christ in at least one or two other people, it will revolutionize your life of faith.

The Glory Will Outweigh the Grief

Psalms 32:19; Isaiah 64:4; I Cor. 2: 9-10; II Cor. 4:17-18; 5:1-8; 12:1-4

In time of vexation by the enemy you might find yourself taking a snap inventory of all the bad things that have happened to you since your birth. How, you wonder, did you ever survive such a mountain of trouble, as you consider all the unkind words said to you, all the sicknesses, battles with the devil, bereavements, family setbacks and tragedies, hurts, pains, sicknesses, money worries, shattered hopes and dreams. These seem to loom large, even though you've also had many wonderfully blessed times with Me and seen many victories because of My great faithfulness to you.

If heaven is going to be greater than all the sum total of your troubles, you think, it must be a very grand place. Don't worry, my dear child, it most certainly is. You will be bathed in the unspeakably wondrous Glory Light of My Presence for all eternity. Your happy moments on earth were always dampened somewhat by the realization that earthly happiness is but a fragile flower and sadder times might be just around the corner. But that problem won't last for long.

It is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, what I have prepared for My children who love Me in Spirit and in Truth. Mortal pen has not the power to record the joys which await you as you leave this world behind and enter into the glory world of My immediate Presence. To you, it will be the same as a blind person experiencing the beauties of nature through his eyes for the very first time, instead of just being told about them. Intelligent though you are, your understanding is so crude right now that full comprehension of the breadth, height and depth of your glorious reward will have to wait until then.

Wait until you get here, dear child, before you reach the conclusion that your reward couldn't possibly be as great as the sum total of all your earthly sufferings. I have wonderful surprises in store for you, and the greatest Blessing of all will be just being by My side for always.

Please Come Back to Me!

Proverbs 18:24; I Corinthians 12:18

Some of My servants have known such moments of despair that they doubted that I loved them anymore. The devil will pull every trick in the book to get you to blame Me for the failures of others, or to hold Me responsible for satan's attacks on your circumstances. Some well-meaning believers might heap the blame for your despondency on you instead of the devil, saying that you wouldn't be stuck in a big trial if only you weren't being chastised by Me for some wrong-doing. "God," they say, "can't AFFORD to bless you. You'd only take that blessing and squander it on your own lusts."

Well, who are THEY to cut you down? I don't see very many Christians living an ascetic life-style anymore. I see them either buying the finest food and gadgetry they can get, or lamenting the fact that they have not yet attained to these things. Do you really believe these self-appointed judges are better than you, just because they seem to be living hassle-free?

Many of them are only acting out a fantasy. There are very serious deficiencies in their lives, but they are effectively hidden from view. They keep themselves blissfully unaware of their own spiritual poverty and think they are truly living the Kingdom Life.They consider the likes of you "on the outside looking in", all the while fearful that you'll discover how poor they really are in My sight. Please resist the temptation to hate such game-players. Just distance yourself emotionally from their hang-ups. These deluded saints need prayer and love, not resentment.

Be sure that your heart is right before Me by petitioning Me for the forgiveness of all sin, and for the cleansing of the Blood of the Lamb. Ask Me to help you to forgive others who have hurt you. Ask Me to dispatch angelic helpers to intervene in your predicament. You really do need My forces waging war in the heavenlies on your behalf. Don't say within yourself that you're not important enough for Me to intervene to this extent. I gave My dear Son to give up His own Life for your sake. I would even have sent Him to do this just for you if YOU had been the only one requiring salvation, My love for you is so unspeakably great.

You might be so hurt you really don't want to go back to church right away. I don't want you to park your body in the pew of a cold dead church just because you fear you'll go to hell if you don't. That is all wrong. There are many in hell who went to church all their lives just because it furthered their social advancement. Trust Me. You will go back when I, the Chief Shepherd, lead you to a place of refreshing and restoration. It might take a little time before you are sure where to go. It is MY task to SET My members in their proper places in My Body. If you pick a church just because you want to gain self-esteem by joining its prestigious choir, you might end up feeling isolated. A hollow hunger will persist in your soul. Far better to fellowship in a humbler setting, if the group's priorities are centered on expressing the Life of My dear Son. As much as possible, stay in regular contact with every truly spiritual person I bring into your life. Draw apart frequently to listen to My Voice, and ask Me to open your eyes to the precious Truths of My Word, that you might be nourished and healed inside. If your soul feels dead and dry, ask Me for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, Who is the Comforter. Recognize the true source of destructive thoughts. Call the devil a liar when he tempts you to think I no longer love you. Above all, keep your mind stayed on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He sticks closer than a brother.

Feed the Poor Among You

Luke 3:10-11; 4:12-14; Acts 4:32-35; James Chapter Two

Certain heathen groups out in the community put My Church to shame, the way they feed poor, penniless, homeless people, even providing feasts for them free of charge in the name of their false gods. But some of My people even turn their eyes away from the needy ones in their midst, their own brothers and sisters in Christ. They just wish the poor would go away because they don't quite match the decor. Jobless or working poor out in the congregation feel just as pressured to give, give, give into the offering fund to meet "church" expenses as the more affluent members. But they hardly have a can of beans in their own homes. Some of them have just lost their job, and have fallen out of step with the ceaseless rhythm of regular bill-paying and daily needs demanding to be met. Even conscientious working Christians who know how to budget, scrimp and scrape to get by till the next paycheck sometimes get hit with a devastating need that blows them way off course and sucks their bank account dry (if they're rich enough to have one). It is no fault of their own that they face days or even weeks of severe need before any relief might be forthcoming.

Most times they're just too ashamed to come to church leaders to beg for help, because they might be branded as panhandlers or mooches. It's like going out to pick blackberries, not for fun, but survival. One misstep in what you say and you could lose your footing in the walk-on-eggs discussion, thus getting a hideful of verbal stickers as well as a few berries thrown at you. A needy saint might walk away with only this morsel of wisdom: "Go get a job", or if they do have one, "go get a second job." Or, the "counselor" (not loving brother in Christ) will coldly say at the troubled individual: "This problem could have a deeper need, you know. Have you examined your own heart and confessed your sin of violating Biblical principles of prosperity? Had you been more faithful in sowing seeds for your needs, and had you honored the Lord (they mean themselves!) with the firstfruits of your paltry welfare check, you wouldn't have needed to come here in the first place." So like a miserable Job's comforter, shame and blame is cast upon a hungry, desperate saint who's already been soundly trounced by satan.

I don't see that happen nearly so often among devotees of false belief systems. They feed their hungry and reach out to others, while My people polish off their own wounded with polished rhetoric. Could it be that instead of keeping loaves and fishes in My storehouse to feed the hungry, only cold carp is stored in the Church pantry?

When will My people ever learn: Faith without works is dead?

Beware of the Scribes and Pharisees

Matt.11:30; 15:14; 23:1-10; II Cor.5:21

If you feel the call to be led deeper in the knowledge of the Lord, be led deeper by My Spirit of Liberty, not the spirit of bondage which is sometimes at work through certain end-time scholars and prophets of doom and gloom. These people are akin in their ways to the scribes and Pharisees I was acquainted with when I walked the earth. These men went about with sour faces and they depended on difficult, but impressive works of the flesh to merit favour with God and man. They will lead you so deep you will fall into quicksand.

Beware of cult leaders or borderline cultists which go about as spiritual policemen to regulate your joy. That fountain of refreshing joy I have placed within you through My Spirit they would reduce to a tiny trickle, controlled by their spigot, dispensed only at their whim. These men and women teach you to revel in death, not to rejoice in the life I have won for you through the death of My Cross. They tell you that you are worthless and no good in My sight and I don't even need you. What a lie of the master of religious deception, satan!

When you are alone with your espoused lover, do you tell him or her that you want to know more about them because you need to afflict yourself more? No! Rather you want to know more about the life they have lived and how the loveliness of your beloved's nature overcame every obstacle in life and shone all the more brightly in the darkness of this world. But these "deeper life" purveyors emphasize the darkness and how it yet clings to you, and your utter worthlessness in My sight. They focus not on the bright, beautiful state of righteousness and holiness into which I have brought you through My wondrous grace. Rather, they focus on the dirty clothes of sin I removed from you before bathing you in My own blood to cleanse you. Then they will point to that heap of dirty clothes and say, "That's why you should hang your head in shame. See, you are not so righteous after all!"

It is much easier to lord it over a weary, heavy-laden pack mule than to overpower and imprison a newborn lamb skipping with the exuberance of new life, a new creature which joys in the refreshing world of spiritual springtime. Followers of cults are taught to be obedient pack mules bearing their old burden of unworthiness, slaves which haul burdens of guilt and shame which I removed from them through My grace. Instead of relying on Me to confirm them in their right to feel free, they look to their blind leader for approval, that scribe which picks apart and analyzes the Word of God to suit their own ends, that self-righteous Pharisee which goes about with a long face and afflicts his soul to shut out the light which would enter it.

Do not be deceived, My people. Ye have one master, Christ. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Camping Out in the Woodshed

Joshua 1:8; Psalms 16:11; Ezekiel 13:22

Lo, I see a new crop of Pharisees springing up in My Church, lading even the youngest, tenderest lambs with the burden of having to prove their spiritual value through glad endurance of suffering. The emphasis is removed ever so subtly from MY worthiness and the merits of MY blood to what the believer himself is able to endure. Little or no resistance is put up to the evil forces attacking a believer who is discipled under the ministers of Suffering Theology, because every ache, every pain, every heart-rending tragedy is warmly embraced as a gift from My hand. Satan is having a field day deceiving millions with false spirituality that ministers defeat and death instead of life.

In a great mansion there are many rooms. There is the music room, where the piano and other instruments of music are kept and the family sings together. There is the dining room, where delicious meals are served at various seasons of the night or day. There is the parlor, where the family relaxes to engage in close-knit conversation. There are rooms to rest in, there are rooms to work in. In former days the woodshed out back would not only store the wood for heating, but sometimes naughty children would be taken out there, out of sight of the family, to be disciplined.

But now the woodshed, a sad necessity, has been brought from the outside into My House of Glory and elevated to be the one and only important place on My estate. Exalted far above the music room where I sing with My children, even above the dining room where I sup with My beloved, the place where whippings and rebukes are meted out has been showcased as the primary place of meeting between Me and My Beloved children. This warped concept is taking place in so-called "deeper" ministries which exalt failure over success, tears over triumph, and pain over pleasures which proceed from My blessing. Although I must discipline unruly believers, it is written that at My right hand there are pleasures forevermore, not just in the afterlife but NOW! And any truly consecrated believer will find it a joy to walk with Me in the light of My Word, not a drudgery to be endured.

Even in the Old Testament, a far inferior Covenant, I promised My children good success in that which I had called them to do. I am not glorified in repeated setbacks and failures. If that happens, seek My face and see if there might be some hindrance to your progress, or if spiritual warfare might be needed to prevail over hindering spirits sent from the enemy. The blood of Jesus can be pleaded over your situation. Fervent prayer in the Spirit, along with any needful repentance and prayer support of others are key ways to gain the victory. And if you are shown by My Spirit that you are on the wrong path, I am able to correct your journey by gently leading you. A good shepherd doesn't always have to beat the daylights out of his sheep to set him back on the right path. Gentle persuasion is My preferred method. Any shepherd who takes pleasure in inflicting needless pain on his sheep is a failure in my sight, not a spiritual superhero!

Beware of sour-faced suffering addicts who will try to "disciple" you out of the abundant joy I have promised you.

Let ME Feed You!

Psalms 23; Isaiah 35:1-2; 43:19

Even David, John the Baptist and Elijah spent longs periods of their lives without regular, structured fellowship. When a saint goes through this, it is a wilderness experience. There are many reasons for this and it is not always the saint's fault. A building full of lukewarm, disconnected souls who attend merely out of duty does not constitute true fellowship in the Spirit. Sometimes there is absolutely no love, no caring, no sharing, no reality in any of the organized religious services available in the community. The blame for this cannot be laid upon the saint who is looking for a true expression of Christ manifesting Himself through living members. Even if you force yourself to attend a dead church devoid of love and power you come home disappointed and empty. That's why so many of you have left nominal churches.

If you find yourself without regular fellowship don't use that as an excuse to stop feeding on My Word. You simply cannot live on memories alone. It's just like trying to survive on memories of a wonderful feast you ate last year. Read My Word. When you feel overwhelmed by satan ask Me for a fresh anointing of My Spirit. Let Me direct you to scriptures which minister to your present need. I would sustain you by My Spirit while you await My direction on where to find a loving, caring fellowship where Christ alone is exalted.

Please Let ME Love You!

Ephesians 3:17-19

Even before Adam had a wife or children He enjoyed My constant companionship. He and I were such good friends, we would walk together in the Garden in the cool of the evening and just talk. Adam looked forward to that time spent communing with his Creator. Of course, he had no troubles to bring to My attention, so he was free to spend all his time praying about happy things.

Adam had a brilliant mind, and eagerly soaked up everything I could teach him about My creation, as well as deeper things pertaining to My unspeakably great Nature. We had such a wonderful time before Adam's sin put up barriers between us. Rejoice in Me, for My Sacrifice has availed to restore your broken relationship to the Father. You can now enjoy that same intimate friendship with Me that Adam did.

There are those who are too busy for you, or who don't see any reason to care about you. Don't assign the blame for their spiritual torpor to Me; because had these people continued to abide in the Vine they would have been nourished on the sap of His Life and acquired His flavor, instead of drying up. Be one of those few who delight in walking and talking with Me. There is unspeakable joy in having Me as your Friend, as well as your Lord.

Dearly beloved, take heart. We two will be together for all eternity. I know no greater joy than sharing My love with you.

Patricia Bakora

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