"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Glimpses of Grace 19: Changing of the Angelic Guard

     Three friends in the church wrote us separately, tentatively, urging us to obey our elders. With Jerry's approval, I wrote to each of them:
     "What you tell us corresponds with what I want to hear, as much as from (on my part) sheer intimidation and a desire to lie low and not draw fire as from wanting to do everything 'decently and in order,' according to I Corinthians 14:40.
     "In myself I am terrified of these people and when friends urge us to go slowly, hear both sides, etc., I want to do exactly that, be sensible and conciliatory. But I have not had any peace about this. God has been waking me in the night and calming my fear about these powerful people, replacing it with a profound peace in my soul. But with the peace comes a certain knowledge that He wants to use us to expose corruption deeper than anything anyone has sensed or to this point brought before the leaders of our church. He keeps impressing on my spirit, Bring the deeds of darkness into the light of My judgment. 
     "Jerry and I have spent hours in prayer, Bible study, and singing before Him as He leads us to keep our focus on Him. At the same time whenever I go before the Lord He has been communicating His anger and passion at abuses in the church as He must have done to the prophets. And He has been showing us what He wants us to do. I tremble before Him but I cannot disobey.
     "I have struggled with the Lord about this: I'm sure they're good men. They mean well. Most of them are probably just deceived. Who am I to pronounce these outrageous judgments on them? We must remain under their authority! Lord, You know that! They have told us to be quiet. How can I confront them or continue to expose them to others?
     "Yesterday it came to a head. I told the Lord, 'You know I will do ANYTHING You tell me too. I will face anything, risk anything, lose anything, including every physical possession, every relationship, my reputation, my life for You! BUT I HAVE TO KNOW BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT THAT THIS IS FROM YOU! Jerry may back me just because he loves me and even though we run everything we write through a mature, godly friend also, he could be mistaken, too. I NEED THREE INDEPENDENT WITNESSES THAT THIS IS OF YOU!'
     "As I was praying this, the phone rang. A friend wanted to tell me that three of our mutual friends were at her house and she wanted to pass the phone around and have us say hi to each other. I said, 'Oh, G., I'm sorry but I'm not up to chit-chat right now! I am going through a really rough time!' G. said immediately, 'We'll pray for you right now!" 
     "None of these people attend our church. Of the four, only G. knew anything of what we have been facing. She has prayed with me for this church over the years and sensed darkness and mocking spirits here. G. put her phone in speaker mode and they all took turns praying for us. This is what they prayed (and shared with us as they prayed). Let me point out that 'words of knowledge' and 'words of wisdom' are two legitimate  spiritual gifts listed in I Corinthians 12:8, 8-10; and 14:6, as long as we 'test the spirits' against the word and character of God before we receive them.
     "'Lord: bind, gag, and blindfold every demon linked to the strongman over that church. Give peace. May the elders and leaders come up as pure gold. I've seen justice in Jerry's and Jessica's hearts. It burns inside them. Cover them with Your blood and with Your angels.
     "'I'm seeing a picture of an army of angels--two rows of them like cavalry--marching toward you two. There will be a 'changing of the guard.' There is an angel standing behind each one of you, guarding you. New angels are coming in to replace the old angels, bigger angels because you have been called into a higher level of warfare. You are peacemakers. You now have a higher level of authority so God has done a 'changing of the guard.'
     "'(Missed some words as I was taking notes as fast as I could) --bless you. In God's hand no one can touch you. Lord, give them the peace that passes all understanding. The surface waters and waves may be churning and crashing about but the ocean depths are calm. Rely and rest on, trust the Word of God. You are in His hands.
     "'Seal this with Your signet ring, O Lord!"
     "Another said, 'You and Jerry are gatekeepers. You cannot allow (missed something here) to come in. Whatever God is telling you to say or do--do it! You have His authority. Don't hold back!' Everyone there confirmed these words and visions.
     "This stunned me. I had asked for three independent confirmations that what we are hearing is of God--and while I was praying for three, He gave us four! 
     "Now I was fully convinced that God is the one calling me to write these appalling things, things I can scarcely believe myself. But I still felt I had to question Him about His timing. I couldn't get past the hierarchy of authority in Matthew 18. We had taken our grievance directly to the elder who had told us in effect (twice, at that point), 'You can't pray!' with no response to our grievance other than an increase in what I felt was his "badgering" us. Then I had appealed by e-mail to several elders, including the senior pastor, the pastor (JE) who had scared me, and executive elders whom I knew were involved in the commands to silence of many of our people. The subject heading of my e-mail was 'please stop.' There was no acknowledgement of this letter, no response--but then, I was so intimidated (and the younger parts of me so traumatized) by what the elders were saying to us, my letter was nearly incoherent. I'm sure they didn't read past the first two paragraphs. 
     "I prayed, Lord, I am willing to write whatever you want me to write, but first shouldn't I write to the elders and tell them we have read their letter, prayed about it, obeyed their request--asking God to show us if we have sinned, confessing the sins He revealed (which we have done)? Shouldn't I tell them we will submit to their authority except where it conflicts with Your authority? Shouldn't we let our correspondents know we have done all that, for the sake of our credibility?
     "Then God spoke to my heart and said, 'What I want you to tell the elders is not your message. It is not about you. I want you to give them MY message--AND I AM NOT UNDER THEIR AUTHORITY!'
     "Only then did I have His peace again.
     "I believe the Lord has a letter He wants us to write them. I must obey the Sovereign Lord. How can I not?
     "Please keep praying for truth to replace the lies in our church. I have prayed this for myself every day for years: 'Lord, speak truth to the lies I believe.'  It is amazing what God has showed me about myself--who I really am as opposed to who I think I am--and about Him.

(Jerry and) Jessica  

1 comment:

  1. Yes, My prayer has been for some time to show me the lies I have believed. He answers that prayer!