If you are here today expecting a pretty words to go with the pretty pictures you are in the wrong place. Instead, the vision I intend to paint for you today is of a cloying, disgusting, hideous creature whom we may be paying homage to unawares.
Welcome to FREEDOM FRIDAY – A devotional, emotional, spiritual and sometimes hysterical series that I will be sharing on occasional Fridays, in addition to my regular Old Things New posts. Why? Because though once bound in chains Christ has set me free – FREE to live, to love, to dance, to sing, to be who God created me to be!
In my last Freedom Friday post I talked about Gossip, and how even Listening to Gossip is contrary to God’s teaching. Simply put, it is sin. What other sins do we justify because, well, maybe they aren’t as bad as what someone else is doing, or because we don’t believe that they are harming anyone? Maybe we don’t even bother to justify a behavior but sin deliberately because we know that God will forgive us this “one little thing”.
There may even be sinful attitudes in your life that you aren’t aware of, but believe me, someone close to you probably is VERY aware! Unforgiveness, bitterness, a critical spirit, jealousy, self pity, etc. These “little” things can cloud our relationship with God. We know there is something not quite right but we can’t pinpoint what’s wrong. We feel distant from Him and our walk simply isn’t what it used to be. This teaching today is not meant to bring condemnation down on you because God is full of grace. Instead, it is meant to perhaps open your eyes to walk in a better way, in fullness of joy in the Lord. God has such good things in store for those who love and follow Him.
Today I want to tell you about a conversation I had last week with my dear friend Norma. Norma is a woman of God, a mighty prayer warrior, with a heart to minister God’s freedom to the younger women of the church. As we normally do when we talk on the phone we spent time sharing what’s been happening in our lives since the last time we talked. Out of the blue, Norma shared with me a vision she had from the Lord some twenty five years ago. It was a vision from God and meant just for her that day, but today she feels that the message of the vision is meant to be shared with others. When I heard it, it struck me so strongly that I felt compelled to share it with you here.
Come back in time with me and imagine if you will, young Norma, wife, mom to three busy teenagers, active in church, a “full on” kind of Christ follower from the get-go, so grateful for His saving grace. It is a beautiful warm day in the Pacific Northwest, and Norma is enjoying time relaxing in the hammock in her back yard as she meditates upon God’s Word. She has been reading in the the Old Testament about those who burned incense to other gods and worshiped in the high places. With a desire to serve God with her whole heart Norma asks, “God, in what ways have I worshiped in the high places and how have I burned incense to other gods?”
God’s answer to Norma came in a powerful vision that rocked her peaceful day.
In her mind’s eye Norma clearly saw three altars before her, one tall altar with two smaller ones attached on either side. Hovering above the altar was a terrible sight. An ugly monstrous beast. Large, bulbous, and filled with excitement as he looked down upon the altar beneath him. His face was hideous, his claws terrible as they reached up into his nose where fumes from the putrid incense burned upon the altar were inhaled into his nostrils. The creature so delighted in the fragrance of the altar sacrifice that he quivered in exultation. The more sacrifices he received the more he grew in size and in strength.
As Norma gazed upon this horrible sight God spoke to her the answer to her questions as, in her spirit, He revealed to her that she, with her attitudes of judgement, criticism, and condemnation, was offering sacrifices upon the altar to a god other than He.
On this one day in Norma’s life God allowed her to see into the spiritual realm and changed her thinking forever. Can you imagine the horror she felt as she realized the delight that Satan feels as he feeds upon our sin? How he grows more powerful in our lives when we continue in our accustomed behaviors? God says we can’t serve God and mamon (money) (Matt. 6:24), but neither can we serve God and unforgiveness; or God and jealousy; or God and hatred. Do we minimize these behaviors as just a part of our personality . . . “it’s who I am” . . . or do we call them what they are . . . sin?
Norma’s vision was so real to me in her telling of it, that I really had to search myself and give thought to what attitudes or habits in my own life I might be delighting the enemy with, maybe even without full awareness?
How many of us regularly walk into church on Sunday with a smile on our face while in our hearts we are holding judgement, bitterness, and unforgiveness? What things are we seeking vengeance for? Are we worshiping God or are we worshiping jealousy, greed, fear and anger? What gets the most attention in our lives? Are we doing something that leads us to question whether it is right or wrong? Hmmm . . . that might be a clue to stop doing it. Let's not become complacent in our brokenness! Click To Tweet
If this word isn’t for you that’s okay. If it is for you you’ll know in your spirit that it is. Take those things that are weighing upon you to God. He delights in restoring us to right relationship with Him and in filling us with His Spirit so that we are empowered to walk as overcomers. I know full well that there are some habits or behaviors that aren’t so easily overcome. These may require the help of other mature believers to come alongside and walk through with us. That is what my friend Norma often does for me as “iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17) in our relationship. I’m so thankful to have her in my life.
Prayer: Papa God, please reveal to us those things we are hanging onto and justifying as being “not too bad.” Forgive us for indulging ourselves, and indulging the enemy of our souls, rather than serving You. Cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness and make us holy and acceptable in your sight. Empower us to stand strong in You and live daily in Your fullness of joy. For joy in YOU Lord IS our strength! In Jesus name, Amen.
Walking daily with the Lord, life simply doesn’t get any better than that!
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