I wasn’t going to get into this topic at all. I was going to let the day come and go while holding onto my faith in the One who loves me so much. A friend had texted me asking my opinion on the subject. I am just going to paste in what I wrote back with more added for clarity:
The temple veil has been torn and I believe that Jesus has fulfilled all of the Jewish feasts. Yet, we are living in the last three. You need to understand Jesus is timeless or lives outside of time. We have experienced Pentecost, we are living in the Rosh Hashanah otherwise known as the Days of Awe (the miraculous era of grace), Yom Kippur (full payment of sin) has been finished by the Lamb; yet the books of heaven are still open. We are living in a time of Sukkot as God, through His Holy Spirit, lives in us. The final or great Trump has not been sounded. The Hidden Day (Rosh Hashanah) is the day the doors of heaven stand open. Jesus ripped the veil in half at His death. His resurrection has allowed open heavens for all those who have faith in Him. We, in the New Covenant, are actually living in the era of the fall festivals. We are the latter rain. Whether or not God will also tie the return of His Son to Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur or another day is….well……one of the great mysteries. People getting in an uproar because of all the “signs”: earthquakes, solar eclipse, hurricanes need to look at the totality of history and natural disasters that have hit the earth since the fall. Yes, we need to know the times; this is the times. Yet, Jesus spoke very clearly about the bridesmaids and what they were to do.
We are simply to remain hopeful of His return and keep our faith, being the light and shining for others to also see the Light of the world so that others are also convinced, change their thinking and see Jesus for Who He is, the Son of God. Just as the five sensible bridesmaids were. Remember: ““But when that day and hour will come, no one knows — not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father.” Mattityahu (Mat) 24:36 CJB
How many times have you been taught about the armor of God? I can say I have sat through many teachings and preaching regarding the armor of God. Most times the teaching was about how I needed to put on the armor, keep on the armor, how not to take off the armor. I don’t know about you but for me God wanted to reassure me that it wasn’t so much about me and my behavior but about Him and standing in what He has already done for me.
I have been waiting awhile to write about this. I have been so excited to write about this topic. Here is why: the Lord had asked me, “Darlene, do you know how well Bryan (my husband is a police officer) knows how to use his weapons?” I answered, “Yes.” Then He asked, “Do you understand how to use My weapons?” I answered, “I don’t know.” “It is time for you to understand,” He replied.
Let’s look at the scripture in Ephesians:
“Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength! Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God’s people.” Ephesians (Eph) 6:10-14, 16-18 CJB
You may want to read It All Begins and Ends With Trust, Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2), and A New Wine Skin if you haven’t already. These set up where I am going next. Like I said in It All Begins and Ends With Trust:
The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy your trust. That is what he is roaming about to do. Yet God brought eternal life through His Son which we receive through trust.
One of the things I have been telling myself and others lately is God never promised that we would not have “evil days”. What is interesting is Paul also told us that our struggle is not against human beings. Now we have to look at context here. This is during some evil days. Christ followers are being fed to lions, crucified, boiled in tar….by other HUMANS. What, the what!?!?!!! If Christ followers were being told by Paul to specifically do something when all of this was happening to them, we might want to take note. I have to say I have not been fed to lions, crucified or boiled….but some tactics felt like that in my life….just not unto death in this lifetime. So….let’s pick apart this very strong statement Paul makes through the Holy Spirit.
First Paul reminds us of the very thing in which I believe the entire armor truly consists of in his opening statement in Ephesians 6:10:
“grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength!”
Here is the direct translation from Biblehub.com:
“be empowered (1743-I fill with power, strengthen, make strong)
in [the] Lord and in the strength (2904 dominion, strength, power; a mighty deed)
of the might (2479-strength(absolutely),power,might,force,ability*) of him.”
Note that there are two different strength meanings in this verse. What I want you to see is how God does this for us. We do not do this for ourselves. We simply TRUST (believe) He will do it for us or already has done it for us and we thank Him for doing it. I want to clarify here, my strength comes from the Lord alone. I do not have enough strength of my own to be able to stand in circumstances that are beyond me. Truly I don’t know how people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus do life. I love the direct translation from bible hub.com because it helps us to start at the right starting point-trusting (faith) Him to do for us what we can not.
Next Paul calls what he talks about next our “war equipment that God PROVIDES” and that we are to put it on or use it so that we can stand (2476-I cause to stand) against the schemes (3180-a way of search after something, an inquiry; a method), scheming, craftiness, deceit.). Again I want you to see in the Greek that HE will enable us to stand against the methodology of the evil one or “rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm”. Father causes us to be able to stand!
Now into the nitty-gritty. I believe Paul is showing us the way to stand during trials and tribulations. Yes they come to the believer and the non-believer. As believers we do not get a pass on these trials and tribulations: but what we do get is Someone, the Great I Am that walks it with us, enables us to stand, helps us to see a greater picture and to have good come out of it (2 Corinthians 4:8-12, Romans 8:28).
Truth-But not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea;reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness: true to fact. Literal: what can’t be hidden.=Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6).
Righteousness-divine righteousness. =Jesus gave us our divine righteousness our righteousness is like filthy rags (1 Corinthians 1:30,Isaiah 64:6) Romans 10:10 helps describe why righteousness is a breastplate; because, “For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness.”
Peace-Good News of Shalom-wholeness. Jesus came so that we would have “firm footing, foundation, preparation, readiness” in that He came to give us wholeness (shalom, peace). This is a foundational truth of what He did for us in His death and resurrection and what He desires for us to share with others. (Luke 1:79)
Trust-belief, come to trust, confidence, be persuaded, core meaning of faith=DIVINE PERSUASION- Jesus came, died and was resurrected and our part is to believe in who He said He is. This is why we are to always carry this “shield”. It all starts in the faith of Who Jesus is. For we have been delivered by grace through trusting and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (Ephesians 2:8). This shield (4570) thwarts, extinguishes, and I suppress. As we trust the true battle is won. Like I said above the enemy wants to steal, kill or destroy your trust.
Salvation-saving, bring salvation. This word is derived from the word soter which means Savior who of course is Jesus– Again Romans 10:10 helps us understand why salvation is a helmet, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance (salvation).
Sword (3162 properly, a slaughter knife; a short sword or dagger mainly used for stabbing; figuratively- an instrument for exacting retribution) given by the Spirit which is the word (rhema) of God. In Matthew both the sword and word (rhema) are used for the first time in the New Testament. Let’s look at both: in Matthew 10:34 Jesus says He came to bring a sword and in Matthew 4:4 Jesus says we are not to live by bread alone but every rhema (word) coming out of the mouth of God. Also in Revelation Jesus is shown to have a sword coming from his mouth (Revelation 1:16). Rhema word is very different from the Logos word. Rhema (4487) means (from 4483 /rhéō, “to speak”) – a spoken word, made “by the living voice” (J. Thayer). 4487 /rhḗma (“spoken-word”) is commonly used in the NT (and in LXX) for the Lord speaking His dynamic, living word in a believer to inbirth faith (“His inwrought persuasion”). Because we are here to continue Jesus’ ministry (see A New Wine Skin for more info) we are to speak what the Spirit tells us to. Remember when Paul encouraged us that we would know what to say when we need to say it (Matthew 10:19). We are to bring the necessary words in the time of need through being connected to the vine Who is Jesus. This is how we know what to pray…by His Spirit in us.
So how in the world do we do this? I have been taught I need to prayerfully put on each piece and make sure none of my armor slips off. If it slips off I need to say sorry and pray to put it back on. I have finally truly repented from this way of thinking and see it God’s way. I believe the Lord has shown me exactly how we are clothed in the armor and are able to fully use the weaponry God has given us. Please note God gave this all to us through His Son. His Son made the way for all of the above. All we need to do is believe in Who Jesus is. We find a great secret in Isaiah 56 and Hebrews 4. Let’s take a look:
Isaiah 56:1-2 (CJB)
“Observe justice, do what is right,
for my salvation is close to coming,
my righteousness to being revealed.”
Happy is the person who does this,
anyone who grasps it firmly,
who keeps Shabbat and does not profane it,
and keeps himself from doing any evil.
Hebrews 4:1-3 (MSG)
“For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith.”
How are we disqualified? By not having faith or trust in Who Jesus is–the Son of God! Once again faith (4102) is a gift from God never generated by us. Again this all begins and ends with faith. Faith as small as a mustard seed that each of us is given by a loving Father in heaven.
So, we have a choice, yes that is a free will choice that God also gave us, to enter His rest as we choose to believe the Good News of Who He is and choose to trust He has truly done it all for us. This is why we can approach the throne boldly with our requests, our prayers; we can stand in the evil day and when God has completed or literally, “worked down to the end-point,” i.e. to an exact, definite conclusion (2716 katergazomai)— we are still standing, because of what Jesus did for us. We trust that Jesus is Who He says He is and that the promises are ours…we rest in ALL that Jesus accomplished at the Cross in His death and in His resurrection.
That is literally what the armor is….resting in ALL THAT CHRIST DID FOR YOU. Otherwise known as standing in Christ the vine.
And we pray in the Spirit. The Greek word “en” is contained within this sentence, “in the Spirit”. Realize again this word means:
The Holy Spirit dwells within us and time after time the prayers that have been “in the Spirit” always align with God’s will. This truly is a whole other topic that will take another post. Realize though or prayerfully ask Father what His will is in situations…not what you expect but what is His will. His love is multi-dimensional and doesn’t always look the way you think it has to. Ask Him and rest in Him.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”Ephesians 6:12 NASB
How many times have you used this scripture to remind yourself of what is truly going on behind the scenes? I have used it many times; yet I don’t think I truly had a definite core value regarding it. Remember I have talked about core values, how they line up with your actions and how your actions don’t always line up with your words; you can read more in these articles: Simon of Cyrene and Core values and Grace. I believe we have all had AHA! moments with God. This is when we see God clearer and where true repentance happens in that moment; when we see things the way God sees them.
I had started this blog stating I would share openly what is happening with me, an open life journal. There are times this is fun and at times it isn’t. Yet, I choose to live from the inside out in honesty. Why a public forum???….maybe it will help someone else.
I had been talking to my husband, Bryan, over a month ago. There had been a situation that had happened and I was angry at the injustice in it and the history that I have seen and heard about regarding these same people. I looked at Bryan and I said, “I hate them, no don’t look at me like that, I hate them!” Now my husband and I have been married for nineteen years and thankfully he knows when to let me just say what is in my heart and let the Lord deal with me, haha!! I went on, “My mom told me not to say I hate someone, I can say I dislike them but not hate. But Bryan, I hate them.” Later as scripture flooded my heart like: hate in the heart is just like murder and you aren’t walking in the light because you hate it would have been easy to be overcome by self hatred and failure like I had in the past. But see I know the trick of the enemy, he loves to use scripture to always tell me I can’t measure up. So, I agree with him in the truth that I can’t live up to the law, ever. But I know Someone who has….and that is Jesus!! In that moment I am so thankful, grateful for all that Jesus did for me and the whole world and in that thankfulness something always happens for me but first I had to be open and honest with what was going on inside of me. If we start at the wrong starting point with God and see Him as a judge of our actions and not realizing all of God’s wraith has been taken on His own Son then we are fearful and can’t approach God with what is going on inside….and we begin to pretend that all is well (saying no, no I am in control of my emotions I don’t feel that way) and all we are doing is painting the outside as good and not dealing with the inside and we know God is more interested with our inside. We must acknowledge the truth of what is going on inside of us. Jesus took the law all the way to our hearts, trying to show us we can not ever perform this, but He could fulfill the law for us.
So, what do I do with this??? This very real feeling of hate in my heart?? These were real things that someone has done, is doing and may continue to do until God gets ahold of them. I think it was about a week later when God spoke to my heart and this is what He said:
Darlene, you don’t hate the person you hate their actions. It is the action not the person you hate. This is what it means when Paul was explaining to the Ephesians that the fight is not against flesh and blood but the powers and principalities of darkness. It is okay to hate wicked “acts” but you really don’t hate the person because the person has been made in My image and you walk in Me, in the Light, it isn’t who you are. What you are railing against are the powers and principalities of darkness.
Here are some scriptures that go along with what He told me:
“”The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.” Proverbs 8:13 NASB
“Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalms 97:10 NASB
Now I was able to see things more clearly, literally dividing the person from their actions. Look, I fully understand that I am not perfect because I know the Perfect one climbed on the Cross willingly for me and the whole world. People choose to do evil things to one another but that doesn’t define who they are. Jesus defines who they are, they are still created in God’s image. Does this mean that these actions are okay…no……and I wrote more about this in: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) and Has “Sorry” Lost Its’ Potency (Final Part)
Just because I have forgiven the person for their behavior does not mean that I need to trust them, or be around them. Nor does this mean I should not look at and judge the actions they have made. Note I said judge their actions; I didn’t say judge the person. Lastly, remember forgiveness doesn’t come overnight, it is a process of healing with God and friends. You can read more here: We Stand In the New Covenant.
Now, I feel like I have written on my heart: “Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This is simply Jesus in His fullness….I in Him and Him in me. I do not have to make an effort within myself not to do something….because literally Jesus has changed me from the inside out. This is where I have the privilege to walk everyday, because of Jesus.
There have been a couple questions that I was asked personally about my last blog post. I would like to address them in a larger audience. First though I would like to thank all of the people who private messaged me their similar stories. If you have had a similar story and would like to share it with me I would love to hear it. You can share here without it going public, as all comments go through me first and if you don’t want it made public please say so and I will respect your wishes. Also, you can connect with me via Facebook Messenger. Okay, now onto the questions…the first question is:
When you put the comment on Facebook,that you later took down, why didn’t you preface what you said with “this is what is happening in so many churches, but praise God it’s not the case in my church”?
The other question that I felt needs to be addressed, maybe it wasn’t a question more a statement, is the anger and outrage for telling my honest side of the story. The statements I have seen have been: how could a Christian come out and say such things, we should all just love, where is the love in this, Christians should stop talking so badly about others, etc. Pretty much I take this as sit down and be quiet. I have been pounded over the head with scripture to just love and be in unity. We need to look at all of scripture and Paul gives us very good advice on how to handle conflict resolution with people-for further understanding you can read Has Sorry Lost Its’ Potency?. I find it interesting, thus far, and it begs to be asked: Where was ALL THE LOVE and where were ALL THE SCRIPTURES when these lies were being said about my family and friends publicly???? Hmmmmmm…I never heard any outrage made about us. As a matter of fact, we were silent for a year waiting for resolution while the character assassination continued. So, I want to leave the Body of Christ with this statement about why a Christian like me would even tell my side of the story. This was written in a comment by Joel Prinz publicly on Facebook to answer this very question:
This isn’t the story of King David, if it was then our “oppressor” would be left for dead by God and killed by the Philistines lol. God doesn’t work like that anymore and I would never wish such things on anyone. His grace now covers all sin, but if you sow deceit and destruction, then naturally it will come back to get you, you will reap it. That’s what this story is about, if you only knew the number of people hurt by them it would put (it) in perspective for you. You shouldn’t be allowed to get away with what they’ve gotten away with, American church culture is backwards, pastors shouldn’t be able to just run around and mess with people’s lives without it being brought to the light. As the biblical steps for conflict resolution go, step 1: Go to the person you have a conflict with, if they don’t listen enter step 2, bring a witness, still they don’t listen? Step 3, bring it before the church. Step 3 is in effect now. That is all. Pastors are not above correction, but the American church acts like they are. All steps have been attempted in that order. *drops mic*
I am not afraid of questions. I stand by what I wrote in my last blog post, Ummmmm….Is That an Elephant in the Room?, as an honest account of what happened to me, my family and friends (remember this is still not even close to all that occurred). If you or anyone you know has had a similar experience or may be in a spiritual abuse situation at the bottom of the same post I just linked are signs that Judy Friederich outlines. She is open to anyone contacting her via Facebook Messenger for help or questions regarding your circumstances. She is a trusted counselor with years of helping people in similar experiences.