Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Leaving the Valley of Disappointment

Welcome to disappointment. Don't stay too long! In times of change, we must examine ourselves for anything that can prevent us from moving forward with the Lord. I feel that there are many people in the valley of discouragement and disappointment. Friend, the Holy Spirit is going to work through this article and lead you out of that wilderness you've been in. It's been a valley of weeping, stretching and tiredness, but God is leading the way and you're about to exit the wilderness season of your life. I feel that there are a lot of people that have wrestled with their hope deferred for so long that the enemy has taken advantage of people's disappointment and seduced them into believing lies that just aren't true. Hope deferred has made many sick, weak, and unprepared to cross over into their promise land. They feel spiritually weak and unable to regain their strength, but many don't even understand how they got there. Perhaps you feel that you have no strength to fight. Many people have felt as if even the desire to do anything new has left them. There is barely even the desire to pray or read the word and they feel worn out just from daily life. To try and muster up the faith to do more feels exhausting. They simply have nothing left to give. They are STUCK. Often times, the enemy is quite aware of upcoming seasons of change and he works to release stealth weapons that people may not identify as anything other than their own thoughts. These are the things that have actually led to people feeling so depleted, weak and unprepared for the new. It is our job to recognize those weapons and take authority over them so that nothing stands in our way and we are free to move when God opens a new door of opportunity.

            When people are disappointed that something didn't turn out the way they hoped they are at their most vulnerable. This is when the enemy strikes. He may wait for years until he launches his most cunning plan of attack. If the enemy can't take a person out through accusation, slander, or other typical warfare, he will switch tactics. The enemy’s weapons often feel like frustration, regret, disappointment, shame, judgments (whether against ourselves or others), and things that negatively attach themselves to our emotions. The enemy is very patient and will take his time to wear a person down. Python is a spirit that is attracted to our weaknesses in our flesh. It gets a stranglehold on someone and then proceeds to squeeze the very life and breath out of them. Every one of the enemy’s weapons are intended to take people’s hearts and minds into captivity so that they break faith with God and accept the lie (whatever that lie might be for you) – for when they do - they then rationalize a different outcome and accept a different plan for their life. Friend, don’t let yourself get on the road that detours you from the good plan God has intended for you! If you’re on that road now, learn to recognize it.

            What affects our emotional state is often designed to separate us from God. The enemy’s lies will always serve to separate us from our destiny in one form or another, and Satan does this by creating strongholds in our thinking. The strongholds serve to elevate the lie, the disappointment, and emotions that feed unbelief rather than the truth. Emotions are not truth and they are not an accurate indicator of what God has in mind for the future, yet people often use emotions as a barometer to gauge whether or not they feel their lives are going according to God’s plan. Impatience causes people to feel that their lives are not moving forward fast enough. Impatience can also cause people to grow tired of waiting and make themselves an idol or something else that they can serve. They may tell themselves they are waiting on God, yet, often times, they are really looking for something else to believe in. When people feel a sense of loss, or just plain lost, it can be so easy to put more and more energy, time and attention into something else because it satisfies a need to be busy doing something that gives them a sense of importance or validation. Hope deferred can cause people to eventually believe something that isn't true. They may tell themselves that they missed God somewhere, or that they must have misunderstood something about His plan for their future. They may even tell themselves that they are somehow disqualified from God’s best and that they should discard their hope in lieu of something else.  All of these things are often the furthest from the truth. It's simply the voice of discouragement that comes from the enemy sent to derail us from our future. Satan knows that disappointment disconnects us from our destiny. Sometimes we don’t even realize that is what has happened. That is why it is so important to pay attention to dreams, thoughts, and the things we dwell on. The things we meditate on will instantly tell us whether or not we are aligned with an attitude of faith and trust in God, or if we have, through some form of disappointment, regret or unbelief, formed a plan of our own that is taking us away from building the kingdom of God. What captures your time, attention and focus? Where is most of your energy focused? Knowing the difference is key to understanding whether or not we are in correct alignment with God.

            Perhaps the most difficult area to diagnose is our own heart. If we look into scripture, the Israelites were told in various places in the word to prepare their hearts and sanctify themselves so that they could cross over into the promise land. God knew they would be up against giants. Those giants were experienced at warfare, and they would be looking for any way possible to overcome this large army coming into their land. We may brace ourselves for the obvious forms of spiritual warfare but completely fail to recognize the lies that sound like our own thoughts, spoken in our heart and mind towards ourselves. In all reality, those ARE the real giants. We know them. They are the familiar voices that speak to us every day and help form our belief system.

            The enemy knows where we are most vulnerable to believing a lie, and that is where he launches his weapons. We also might completely miss the fact that GOD considers it idolatry and spiritual adultery when we have intimate communion with the wrong spirits. There is a path the enemy leads people down that has nothing to do with lust, pornography or sexual sin in the natural, yet it is still spiritual adultery. It’s the path of the thought life that begins to reject the truth and accept a lie, so that over the course of time that lie is so imbedded in a person’s belief system they have actually made a covenant with a demonic spirit. When a person rejects the truth, they begin to guard the lie, rehearse it in the mind or thought life, and they allow that lie to influence their loyalties. They make an ungodly peace treaty, or covenant, with the spirit speaking through the lie. Instead of drawing closer to God, they begin to withdraw and make excuses for allowing their relationship with the Lord to take a lesser priority in their life. The enemy knows just how to get people overly busy, distracted, over committed, and tired so that their strength is depleted. When spiritual strength is depleted, so is the person’s resolve to making God their first priority. And this, my friend, is how the spirit of witchcraft operates to pull a person away from God, ever-so-slowly into rebellion. It’s the proverbial frog in the pot. The frog doesn’t even realize it’s being cooked until it’s too late. This is how the curse operates. It causes people to join themselves to some lie (and the spirit behind it) so that they are giving permission for a different spirit to minister to their soul and spirit. These become, in the spiritual reality, a lover or a spouse. They are, for all intensive purposes, pagan wives, which is exactly the enemy’s intent, because biblically speaking, every reference to pagan wives or polygamy always led to the downfall of great men.

            An interesting point to consider is found in Numbers 22-24 where an enemy of Israel, King Balak of Moab, desperately tried to curse God’s people through a word curse from the prophet Baalam. Baalam was restrained by God and found it impossible to do so, even though he was willing to sell out his prophetic gift in exchange for money. This frustrated King Balak because he was intent on finding a way to sabotage Israel on their way into the promise land. Seeing as how Baalam was unable to curse God’s people, he incited Balak to form a different plan. He suggested the people be enticed with prostitutes and food sacrificed to idols to allow them to bring a curse upon themselves, and so they did. Because the people willingly cooperated with the enemy, the curse was upon them and that hindered them from being able to take their promise land. Instead of being positioned for blessing, they had positioned themselves for judgment. Numbers 25 describes how Israel engaged in sexual immorality and thus brought judgment in the form of a plague upon themselves.  What Balak and the Moabite men could not do, the women were able to accomplish. They invited the Israelites to a party. They ate at their feasts, then bowed to the Moabite gods. False worship opened the door to more compromise. The women enticed Israelite men into sexual immorality. The Moabites were descendants of Lot and his incestuous offspring from both his daughters, (see Gen. 19:36). The result was a spiritual mixture that God considered unclean, idolatrous and broke the covenant between Israel and God. They were to have ‘no other Gods,’ nor worship other gods, according to Exodus.20:3,4. They were also forbidden from the act of adultery, Exodus 20:14.

            You will notice in scripture that God often made reference to a powerful descriptive metaphor by saying that His people ‘played the harlot’ with various idols. This always described Israel’s unfaithfulness to God, but the end result was that because of the people’s sin, they were delivered into the hands of those that plundered them and took all their spoils. Spiritual poverty is not always what one might think. It isn’t always connected to finances. It may show up more as a state of mind that continues to tell someone they are a failure, inadequate or unqualified for the good plans that God wants to produce in their life. It could show up as someone that has made their own path and their own plan because they simply stopped believing God was going to do something new in their life. Self-deception is very difficult to recognize because the enemy targets people’s blind spots and the vulnerable places in their heart. He goes straight for their Achilles heel. If you feel this article could be speaking to you, then perhaps it would be well worth it to ask Holy Spirit to show you anything you need to understand about how the enemy is choosing to attack your weaknesses. Where have you allowed disappointment or hope deferred to form a stronghold in your heart? That is where you will find other lovers ministering to your soul.

            There are other examples I could give as references to sexual immorality in scripture. Remember that Old Testament examples serve as a type and shadow of spiritual realities. Sexual immorality, adultery and other forms of sexual sin all reference the reality of spiritual compromise and joining ourselves to other lovers. While Jesus did come to pay the price for our sin and offer us grace, we cannot also expect to leave the door open to the enemy through spiritual compromise. These things are an offense to God because we are not to prostitute ourselves with demonic spirits. Unbelief is an unholy minister to our soul and it will have a tremendous negative consequence on our faith. Our conscience will testify against us if we are in sin even if we might not know it, because sin causes us to waiver in unbelief. Sin causes us to doubt God’s good intention towards us and it produces double mindedness and confusion, among other things. Spiritual compromise is a mixture we cannot afford for it weakens our faith. A double minded man receives nothing from the Lord, according to James 1:7.

            Jesus is our bridegroom. He alone is our spiritual husband, spouse and lover. If we have taken pagan wives (or husbands) such as disappointment, anger, regret, unbelief, rebellion, shame, self-pity, or other things, then we have allowed those spirits to minister to our soul. If we allow the wrong voices to whisper their sweet nothings in our ear they will lead us away from God and cause darkness and unbelief to make us break faith with God. Breaking faith with God is serious. This is the same sin that kept Moses out of the promise land! Unbelief in any form must be challenged. I pray you find yourself challenged today. What do you believe? Do not let the disappointment of hope deferred tell you that you missed your opportunity to do something great. God’s plans for you have not changed. You do not need to qualify yourself by any human standards. Jesus’ blood has already qualified you, and that is all you need to know! I pray that you allow and ASK Holy Spirit to uncover and unravel any lie that needs to go! We must renounce those ungodly covenants and spiritual lovers. It is the only way to properly prepare ourselves for what lies in the future.  The future could be as soon as tomorrow, you just never know. Are YOU ready to cross over?

Note: To break the power of python, worship is key. Worship and prayers of renouncement to break agreement with the spirits of disappointment, regret, unbelief, double-mindedness, spiritual adultery and idolatry are important. Worship and make your declarations from a place of victory. You are not cast off or disqualified! Jesus has qualified you by His blood. You are accepted in the beloved and though God's plan may have taken longer than you thought, it is still going to come through for you. Believe and receive your promise! You have been tested but you are coming out as pure gold. God is leading you out of the valley of disappointment and discouragement and turning it into a new door of hope for your future. God has great things in store for you!

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