False Theology of Healing

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones, (Proverbs 3:7-8, NLT, emphasis mine).

Many churches and individuals have built a whole false theology of healing, based on the results of their prayers.  Instead, they should go back to God’s Word and see where they have gone wrong.  Because the thing is that Jesus took all sin and all sickness to the cross 2000 years ago, once and for all, forever.  God’s answer for healing was decided at the cross.  And that answer is a loud and resounding yes.  If you haven’t already read it, go back and read yesterday’s post: God My Healer.

Because they don’t get spectacular healing miracles the first time they pray for someone, people give up.  In fact, they fall into a rut of praying, but not seeing healing.  They justify their failure, citing the following:

  • Jesus’ hometown failure, Mark 6:1-6 – This was not a failure at all. Read the passage.  It says, “They were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.”  Offended people who don’t believe are not going to bring their sick to the person who offended them.  Jesus couldn’t do miracles and did only a few healings because they didn’t come to Him for miracles or healing.  But of those that came, He healed every single one of them.  It’s not written in the text, but I know that God is more than able.
  • Paul’s thorn, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 – This is not a physical illness. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that it was a physical illness, and that Paul was being metaphorical when he called the “thorn in the flesh” a messenger of the defeated enemy.  But Paul was being literal.  It was a literal fallen angel, sent by the defeated enemy that was assigned to Paul to try and stop his ministry.  Good hermeneutics (Bible interpretation) includes the law of first mention, which states that to understand a word’s true meaning, you must find the first time it appears in Scripture.  The first time that the word thorn is used in a figurative sense is Ezekiel 28:24, where the contentious peoples around them are called a thorn “to prick and tear” at Israel.  So in this case, the thorn was people.  In fact, throughout the whole Bible, the word thorn is only used in either the literal sense or figuratively speaking about people.

A reading in the King James Version shows why they were led to believe that it was an illness:

I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong, (2 Corinthians 12:10, KJV, emphasis mine).

Almost all of the more modern translations render the word astheneiais (ἀσθενείαις) as weaknesses, which is more accurate.  The word asthenō (ἀσθενῶ), meaning weak is used and correctly translated as weak in the final independent clause of the sentence, even in the KJV.  So obviously, the word translated as infirmities would correctly be translated as weaknesses.  Paul wasn’t weakened by illness or eyesight problems, he was weakened by a fallen angel buffeting him (literally hitting him).

  • Timothy’s stomach issues, 1 Timothy 5:23 – The problem was the water. If Victorian England had such filthy water that people drank beer and gin instead, then it’s not such a stretch to believe that first century Turkey probably didn’t have very clean drinking water, either.  The various commentaries note that Timothy was an Essene, which means that he didn’t drink alcohol at all.  So Paul was encouraging Timothy to take some wine medicinally when the water plays havoc with his stomach.
  • Paul left Trophimus behind because he was sick, 2 Timothy 4:20 – We know that this was not a chronic illness because Trophimus had accompanied Paul to other cities. No doubt, Paul prayed for him, but some healings are gradual rather than instantaneous.  This could have been an issue of unclean water, like with Timothy, or a demonic attack.
  • Epaphroditus was so sick that he almost died, Philippians 2:25-27 – Again, this was not a chronic illness, and Epaphroditis did recover, probably because Paul prayed for him. As I noted before, not all healing is instantly manifested.  And this could also have been an issue of unclean water or a demonic attack.
  • Job’s boils, Job 2:7 – Job wasn’t under the Covenant of Grace, as we are. So the cross makes this an invalid argument altogether.

The biggest lie that the church has taught is that healing, together with signs, wonders, and miracles ceased when the last apostle died.  That is absolutely not true.  To say this is to say that every miraculous healing since John’s death is either a spectacular coincidence or a false healing by demons (which is dangerously close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit).  But think about it: false healing doesn’t even make sense.  Healings build faith in God, so why would a demon want people having faith in God?

Curry R. Blake with John G. Lake Ministries trains God’s people to minister healing, and he says that God can minister healing through anyone that is in covenant with Him.  Blake says that there are only two reasons why healing fails, and they can both be found in the Bible:

  1. Unbelief, Matthew 17:14-20:

At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them.  A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son.  He has seizures and suffers terribly.  He often falls into the fire or into the water.  So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people!  How long must I be with you?  How long must I put up with you?  Bring the boy here to me.”  Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.

Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”  “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them.  “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move.  Nothing would be impossible.”

  1. Traditions of men, Mark 7:13:

And so you cancel the Word of God in order to hand down your own tradition.  And this is only one example among many others.

The bullet points above are examples of the traditions of men that have canceled the Word of God.  They cite all those instances of Biblical illnesses in order to justify their lack of results, rather than simply taking God at His Word.  They pray for the sick because it’s commanded in the Scripture, but it’s obvious that they consider God capricious.  They call it God’s sovereignty.  Hog wash!  God sovereignly ordained healing for us at the cross.  That was where He made up His mind to heal.

Often when they pray for someone and they aren’t instantly healed, they give up.  I believe that the healing of the blind man in Mark 8:23-25 is included to show us that we need to persist until we see the healing manifest.

One other thing that Blake pointed out is that Jesus didn’t pray for anyone to be healed.  He simply commanded the sickness to go.  He could do that by appropriating His Father’s authority.  Then when He ascended to the Father, He was given authority:

Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given all authority in Heaven and on earth,” (Matthew 28:18).

So now it’s our turn to appropriate His authority and use it to heal people.  Jesus gave the 72 authority (Luke 10:19) when He sent them out.  Now, if you’re acting as God’s agent on earth, you can appropriate His authority.

And this brings me to the final reason why the people justify the lack of healing: they will lament that they made a mistake and given the defeated enemy authority to take their health.  That is impossible.  Jesus has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth.  He has not passed it on to us, but we can appropriate it just like He did when He was on earth.  I don’t know about you, but I find this very freeing because it means that healing doesn’t depend on me.  It all depends on Him.  And He has already said yes to healing—with no strings attached.  God is good!

Know God by Name – God My Healer


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This is a picture from last summer when I fell and broke my wrist.

I’m learning to walk in divine healing.

If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you, (Exodus 15:26, emphasis mine).

To be perfectly honest (and I strive for honesty in my writing), I have avoided writing this one.  I have stepped on so many people’s toes in writing about healing that I just wasn’t ready to go there again.  But this isn’t me, God wants you to know His heart on this issue.  God is our Divine Healer, and there is no question at all on this issue, so I’m going to put it out there big and bold:

It is God’s will to heal.

Every person.

Every time.


I know this because Jesus never refused healing to anyone.  He healed rich people, poor people, high-born, common, men and women, old and young, righteous and sinners—everybody.  He didn’t tell them to come back when they’ve cleaned up their act.  He didn’t ask them their background, how this happened, no.  He just healed them all.  He healed the Pharisees[1].  He even healed Gentiles[2].  Eight times in the Gospels it says that Jesus healed them all[3].  Not once does it say that Jesus didn’t or couldn’t heal.

Aha!  I hear you saying.  What about when He went to His hometown?  Well, read it:

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with His disciples to Nazareth, His hometown.  The next Sabbath He began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed.  They asked, “Where did He get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?”  Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon.  And His sisters live right here among us.”  They were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”  And because of their unbelief, He couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And He was amazed at their unbelief, (Mark 6:1-6, emphasis mine).

Most people focus on that word in the second paragraph: couldn’t.  And they look at their results when they pray for the sick and say, “Well, if Jesus couldn’t heal in His hometown, no wonder I can’t.”  This is a lie from the pit of hell.  A lie of the defeated enemy who wants to keep people (especially Christians) sick, weak, unbelieving, and ineffective.  A lie designed to destroy our ministry and our lives.  And it’s a lie taught in many churches.  This is not just lack of faith, this is unbelief.

The problem is that they are focusing on the wrong part of the passage.  The hometown folks were “deeply offended” by Jesus and “refused to believe” in Him.  Deeply offended people are not going to bring Him their sick, especially since they refused to believe in Him.  Deeply offended people that refuse to believe are going to keep going to the doctor for healing, instead.  So Jesus couldn’t do any miracles or much healing because they weren’t coming to Him for miracles or healing.  Those few who did come were healed, and while it doesn’t say, I am absolutely certain that He healed every single one of those few that did come to Him.

More tomorrow about the scriptures people misuse to explain why healing doesn’t seem to work.  This is too important an issue to gloss over.  I want to help you understand the divine provision for your healing that God has for you.  And it’s all because God is good!

[1] Simon the Leper of Matthew 26:6 and Mark 14:3 is obviously the same Simon the Pharisee of Luke 7:36-40 if you read each story in context.  Jesus also raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark chapter 5).

[2] The Centurion in Matthew chapter 8 and Luke chapter 7 and the Syrophoenician woman of Matthew chapter 15 and Mark chapter 7.

[3] Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 12:15, 14:36, 15:30; Mark 6:56; Luke 4:40, & 6:19.

Know God by Name – God My Advocate


My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father.  He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous, (1 John 2:1, emphasis mine).

An advocate is a person or lawyer who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.  Jesus is in a unique position to act as advocate or defense attorney for us in Heaven’s courtroom because His argument on our behalf is based, not on our righteousness, but His own.  Jesus paid the price for our sins—all of them: past, present, and future[1].

So if we imagine Heaven’s Courtroom, and there is God, the Judge, who is also the Father of our defense attorney; there is God our Witness, who saw everything and testifies on our behalf; and there is Jesus, our defense attorney, who actually took our penalty for us.

Who’s left?  The defeated enemy who is our accuser, the prosecuting attorney.  He stakes everything on making us forget about everyOne else in the Heavenly Courtroom.  With a flurry of accusations designed to shame you into submission, the accuser reminds you of every rotten thing you ever did.  The reflexive human response to accusation is to try to defend your actions, explaining extenuating circumstances, and so forth.  But this would be playing right into his filthy hands.  In fact, the defeated enemy would encourage you to explain, defend, rationalize, and justify your actions.  He wants to get you thinking that you’re not such a bad person, certainly not as bad as that other person.  And all the time, these thoughts are pulling you away from the One that can save you, the only One that can save you: Jesus.

Of course he can’t rob you of your salvation.  But he can rob you of many of the other benefits that come with salvation: mainly joy and peace.  And if he can get your eyes off of Jesus, he can make you ineffective for the kingdom.  Perhaps he can eventually persuade you into letting go of your salvation.  If he can do that, then he wins.

But notice how the all the odds are stacked in your favor.  God has set things up so that it’s actually difficult to lose.  That’s because there is only one person in that Heavenly Courtroom that doesn’t want you to win your case and go to Heaven.  And besides you, he’s also the only one that’s not God.

Of course, all this presupposes that you’ve already asked Jesus to be your Savior.  If you have not, then it’s an open and shut case, and you will not be permitted into Heaven.  I know you would like to believe that there are many ways, but the truth is that there is only one way, and that is Jesus.  Without Jesus, you’re sunk.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can change your eternal destiny right now by asking Jesus into your heart.  Don’t hesitate.  Putting off a decision is the same thing as saying no.  Anything could happen, and you might be in that Heavenly Courtroom tomorrow.  So do it right now.  I’ll wait.

Now, don’t you feel better?  But even if you don’t feel anything, isn’t it good to know you’ve got that settled?  Now, get a Bible and start reading it.  Ask God to lead you to a good church.  It’s also a good idea to ask God for a spiritual mentor.  Welcome to the family!  Now the Heavenly Courtroom is nothing to fear any longer.  Now it’s going to be more like a family reunion.  God is good!

[1] And when Jesus took our sins to the cross, they were all in the future.

I Failed the Finnish Test

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Tiina’s cabin (see Reflections on the Lake) barely had water (one faucet), so obviously it didn’t have a shower.  She told me: the sauna actually makes me feel cleaner than a shower.  Of course, I was prepared to agree, even though I had never really done a sauna before—not in a way that made me feel clean.  She stoked the fire in the sauna’s stove, explaining, “Not only does your skin get clean, but toxins are released from your body through your pores.”  In any case, on a cool spring day (it was about 20 degrees Celsius, which is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit), sitting in a hot sauna could be pleasant.

She also told me that the ideal temperature for the sauna is between 60 and 80 degrees Celsius (that’s 140 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit).  So we waited almost an hour, periodically stoking the stove, for the sauna temperature to climb.  Tiina told me that Finnish families sit in the sauna naked.  I said that I would feel more comfortable if both of us wore bathing suits.  I had brought mine and I saw hers hanging by the sauna door.

We changed into our bathing suits and Tiina went for a swim in the lake.  She only stayed in a few minutes, but she got completely wet, including her hair.  I simply couldn’t go in the water, which I knew was hovering somewhere just above freezing.

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Then we went into the sauna and sat on a towel.  Tiina said that she liked the feeling when she puts water on the rocks.  Instead of pouring water on the rocks as I had imagined, she used a long-handled ladle and threw water onto the rocks.  The rocks instantly transformed themselves into a little pit of tiny dragons.  They hissed and spit angrily and breathed fiery hot air at us.  The hot air from the rocks didn’t seem so much different as it hit us from the front.  But when it hit from behind, ricocheting off the wall, it was so much hotter than the rest of the air around me that it felt like a truck had run over me.  Tiina reveled in the feeling, as I just tried to breathe again.

After about half an hour, she announced that it was time to swim in the lake again.  Now the lake sounded pretty good.  But my body did not agree.  I got into the water up to my ankles and my legs refused to carry me any deeper.  Perhaps the water felt colder for having gotten myself roasting hot, but now I reassessed that the lake was miraculously below freezing temperature without any ice to be seen.

This frigid lake brought a memory to the surface of my mind.  When I was about twelve years old, I went with my family, hiking in the Colorado Rockies.  On a high mountain plateau we came across a waterfall.  My dad told my brother, “I’ll give you ten dollars if you’ll go all the way under that waterfall.”  Now, it was summer, but there on the mountaintop, it wasn’t anything like hot, and that waterfall was probably snowmelt.  My little brother said no.  Then Dad upped the bet to twenty dollars.  My brother refused again.  I started stripping down to my undies, determined to get the money that he was passing up.  I made it across the frigid pond and under the waterfall just fine, but on the way back, all my muscles turned to wood and then to stone.  Each step took a month to accomplish, then a year.  But the worst part was that my lungs had also turned to stone.  I kept willing them to breathe, and they were not responding.  I was almost certain at one point that my dad would have to rescue me because I was having such a difficult time getting myself out of the water.

I did eventually get out, what seemed like several years later.  Mom was waiting with a towel.  As she rubbed my limbs, my lungs finally gasped to life like a newborn taking her first breath.  In the meantime, my brother had changed his mind and taken the plunge, too.  Somehow he got out about the same time I did.  Good as his word, Dad rewarded each of us with a crisp, new twenty dollar bill.

It was the mountaintop waterfall that my body was remembering—that and the fact that Dad wasn’t around to save me if my body shut down.  So in the end, it was useless to argue with legs that had turned to stone again, this time in mutinous refusal to obey.

Tiina, meanwhile, had gone swimming again, and again gotten completely wet, including her hair.  Then we went back to the sauna.  She squeezed some shampoo into her hand and worked it into her hair.  She used the water from the rock-watering-bucket to rinse with.  Then she went to get dressed.  I wetted my hair, shampooed, and rinsed from the bucket.  Then I went to dress, too.

As much as I loved everything else about being at Tiina’s rustic cabin, I’m afraid I failed the test to see if I’m Finnish.  Clearly, I’m not.  Tiina assured me that it had not been a test, and handed me a hot cup of tea.  And as I sipped the tea feeling very relaxed, I thought, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  God is good!

Reflections on the Lake

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The Finnish sky at three AM.

With the OCE[1] Stockholm, Mariehamn, Helsinki trip finished, I had tagged on a couple of days to spend with my friend, Tiina.  Tiina has been a friend and prayer partner for my ministry almost since the beginning.  She lives in a town north of Helsinki.  She picked me up at the train station, drove me past her apartment building, and took me out of town.  Tiina has a cabin by a lake, which is about an hour north of her town.  We turned off the highway and drove on a subsidiary road, then turned off that onto a gravel road, where we eventually found Tiina’s cabin.

This was my year to see spring arriving.  I saw it first in Cyprus and Malta, then I saw it in Milan, then this week I had seen it arrive in Stockholm, Mariehamn, and Helsinki.  Now I am seeing it arrive here at Tiina’s cabin.

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The mirror surface of the lake was a wonder.

The cabin is rustic.  There is electricity and a faucet.  And this, being Finland, there is of course, a sauna.  There is no telephone, no internet, no television, and no indoor toilet.  I was not surprised about the first three things, but when Tiina said something about the outhouse, I admit that I was taken aback.  But the outhouse is not the stinky horror of the summer camps of my youth.  Tiina showed me her secret: she keeps a bucket and a child’s beach shovel by the hole.  The bucket is filled with leaf litter—you know, the mix of dried leaves and pine needles that you find on the forest floor.  She instructed me to just put a shovelful of leaf litter into the hole after using it.  Later, with the flashlight she gave me, I looked into the hole and saw that everything falls into another bucket filled with leaf litter.  It’s a very clever way to keep the outhouse fresh and stink-free.

We arrived just as the sun was setting—about eleven.  The lake, which is only about fifty feet from the cabin, was smooth as glass.  Geese flapped by, honking.  They found a place to rest for the night on the far shore of the lake.  After getting ourselves settled in, we prayed together.  Then we prepared for bed, and I slept better than I had in weeks.

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Sunrise on the lake.

I woke up with the sun high in the sky, although it was just past seven.  The morning was cool, but without even the hint of a breeze.  The lake, which had looked like glass at sunset now looked like a mirror.  Hundreds of different birds greeted the new day with their own unique songs—a glorious chorus of many diverse voices and songs.  A woodpecker tapped out his machine-gun rhythm somewhere nearby.  I started the day as I always do with a cup of coffee and my Bible.  But God began giving me personal parables in nature all around me.  I stepped onto Tiina’s little dock and saw:

  • A water-skimmer gliding on the surface of the water made me think of Jesus walking on the water (Mark 6:45-52) and nearly passing by the disciples’ boat (verse 48). When you think of it, it was a long way from the mountain top where Jesus spent the night praying and the far side of the lake, where He caught up with the disciples.  If He nearly passed them by, could it have been because He was going so fast?  That thought and the picture it produced in my mind made me smile.
  • A salmon poked its mouth out of the water to eat an insect (not my water-skimmer) from the inverted dinner plate of the water’s surface. Ripples marked the spot, slowly spreading until the original disturbance had reached the other side of the lake.  This made me think of those “troublemakers” in the book of Acts, and how the Jews and the Romans tried to silence them—to no avail.  The Good News would not be stopped then, and it won’t be stopped now.  It will reach the far ends of the earth.

Then I walked back to the door of the cabin to sit and saw:

  • An anthill, alive with the bustling comings and goings of its thousands of tiny inhabitants. It made me think of our cities, so busy and seemingly full of life, but the people so desperately needing Jesus.
  • A bumblebee flew past me, busily humming at his work. I thought: he’s completely clueless to the fact that aerodynamically speaking, it’s impossible for him to fly.  He’s also unaware that he presents a picture of true childlike faith: he never even gave it a thought whether it’s possible to fly or not.  He has wings, and that is reason enough for him to believe that he can fly.  Maybe he should inform the ostrich, the penguin, and the kiwi.
  • Wildflowers celebrating the warming weather like a little child presenting the treasure of a single flower to mom—or in this case, to God.
  • Trees stand straight and tall all around the lakeshore: evergreens and newly-budded birch, their young by their side, eager to see what their fathers have seen. Time is slowed as their internal calendars only mark the passing years with a ring encompassing last year’s ring.  This made me think of the timelessness of eternity.  And actually, it isn’t really timeless, it’s timeful, because eternity will be full of time forever.  Never again will we be rushed for time, never again will time run out for us.  Those everlasting summer days of childhood will truly be everlasting.
  • A cloud the size of a man’s hand appeared (just like in 1 Kings 18:44). As I watched, it doubled in size.  I told it to go away and immediately it dissipated and soon disappeared.

Through all these things, I feel Jesus is showing me wonders.  The everyday wonders that we take for granted.  I love that our Creator enjoys showing and sharing His creation.  And even with all the beauty of this place, it doesn’t even come close to His own fantastic beauty and goodness.

I am so grateful that God has set up times and places like Tiina’s cabin, like my time in Turkey (see In the Swing with Jesus).  As I follow His leading and go where He sends me, I can trust Him not only for my safety, but also for times of rest.  His care for me is real, personal, and great.  God is good!

[1] Operation Capitals of Europe, http://oceprayer.com/vision/.

Know God by Name – God Almighty



When Abram was ninety years old, God introduced Himself as El-Shaddai, God Almighty[1].  Then He changed his name to Abraham and made a covenant with him to make him into a great nation.  The Hebrew word el means god (which can be either a little g god or the one and only God).  The name El-Shaddai makes it clear that we’re talking about the one and only, God Almighty.

I read recently that the word shaddai shares the same root consonants as the word shedei, which means breast.  This reveals that God Almighty is the One who nurtures and nourishes.  God is our Almighty Source of every blessing.

I think it’s interesting that God introduces Himself to a childless man using this word related to the nourishment of babies.  But it also explains how Abraham had such faith: he understood that God is Almighty—more than mighty enough to bless him and make him into a great nation, even at his age.  In fact, Abraham understood God to be omnipotent—all-powerful.

Sometimes when people ask me for prayer, there is such desperation in their plea that it’s clear to me that they have just about come to the end of their ability to believe God for healing (or provision or whatever).  It’s like they’re the desperate father in Mark 9:24, crying: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Here’s the thing: there’s a trick that your mind can play on you, it’s like the mental equivalent of visual perspective.  Whatever you focus on (think of a camera) becomes well-defined, while everything else in the frame becomes blurry and loses definition.  And whatever you concentrate on begins to look bigger only because you’ve gotten closer to it.  For example, which looks bigger in the night sky, the moon or Jupiter?  Without a telescope, it’s hard to tell Jupiter from regular stars, while the moon dominates the night sky.  But in fact, we know that the moon would look like a tiny pimple on the face of Jupiter.  And that’s how it is with mental perspective.  Whatever you focus on will look both bigger and better-defined than anything else in your life.  In other words, you have an enormous problem.  But that problem is tiny when you consider how big God really is.  So if your problem seems bigger than God, you just need to get the right perspective, and you can do that by getting closer to God.

I recently read that it is possible to train your brain to forget things.  Your brain is very pliable, especially while it is building new memories.  So whatever you think about the most will build the most pathways in your brain.  Meanwhile, those things that you never think about will eventually fade from memory.  So if you think about your problem, wonder about your problem, and talk to others about your problem, guess what, you’re building more pathways in your brain to the problem, and meanwhile, you’re forgetting about God and His ability to come through for you.  No wonder the problem looks bigger.  In your mind, you’ve actually made the problem bigger than God.  But all that can be reversed, simply by changing your focus to God.

Most people picture God as being Almighty in wrath and judgment.

From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations.  He will rule them with an iron rod.  He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress, (Revelation 19:15).

But God is just as Almighty in love and mercy:

I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light, (Revelation 21:22-23).

God Almighty, fierce in wrath and fierce in love, is who you want to have on your side.  He loves you like no other, He is able to protect you like no other, He cares for and nurtures you like no other, and He will do battle on your behalf against all the powers of hell.  God is good!

[1] Genesis 17:1.

The Heart of the Matter – Part Four


Satanic Moles – The Real Weeds in the Wheat Field

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.  Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God, (Galatians 5:19-21, emphasis mine).

So far I’ve been writing about believers, brothers and sisters who get off track, but are still His.  But there is something far more sinister going on in the churches.  I believe that some people have deliberately planted themselves into the church, assisted by their coven or satanic church, with the specific goal of infiltrating and destroying the church.  They use witchcraft spells, sorcery (drugs), and their own personal charm to worm their way up through the congregation to ultimately take their place at the pastor’s side.  From there, the final goal is to destroy the church and/or ruin the reputation of the pastor.

These satanic moles are helped by the fact that most Christians don’t want to believe that this stuff is going on at all, much less that it could be going on in their own town, in their own neighborhood—and much, much less that it could be going on in their own church.


My first brush with the satanic was at the age of fourteen, though it really began two years earlier when I first met Toni in junior high.  Toni was in my homeroom class.  She was smart and funny and definitely not one of the popular kids.  Toni was plump, snaggle-toothed, and very irreverent—much like television was becoming.  She used her sense of humor to criticize the popular kids behind their backs.  Together, Toni and I were our own little clique, and to me it felt like a special honor.  It was like being a member of a secret society.  Toni and I had our own slang—a verbal code that we used to put people down to their face without them knowing it.

There was a third member of our group, but Toni really only seemed to accept Virginia into our group so that she could use her.  (I understand this only now, decades later.)  Toni attended a protestant church with her parents, but clearly hated going to church.  I don’t remember the denomination, and it’s really not important.  Toni was fascinated with Virginia’s church, which was the Catholic Cathedral.

Soon after meeting Toni, Virginia and I started getting into trouble.  It started with talking and laughing in class, but progressed into defiance against authority.  This was 1968, when the counter-culture movement was beginning, so we thought we were being cool by defying authority.  We were nonconformist and anti-establishment, just like the rockers we loved so much.  Plus, we lived in a suburb of San Francisco, the epicenter of the counter-culture revolution.

Then Toni added theft to our secret society.  We didn’t steal anything big, and really I only did it once because I hated the way it made me feel.  I believe that’s because I had made a decision for Jesus at the age of twelve, just months before meeting Toni.  The Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me feel good about stealing even a small item.  I really only did it to win points with Toni, so I made it something that I knew would score big with her: I stole a cigarette from a neighbor’s purse one day when we were invited to swim at their house.  The three of us met in the woods, where I presented my crumpled prize.  To my surprise, Toni had a lighter in her purse.  I hadn’t even thought of how to smoke the thing.  So we lit the stolen cigarette.  Toni took a long drag on it like she had been smoking for years.  Then she handed it to me.  I took just a little into my lungs, which immediately rejected the vile smoke.  Toni took the cigarette from my hand while Virginia patted me on the back.  My throat had constricted and my lungs were on fire.  I coughed desperately.  My lungs refused to take in a breath, as though they no longer trusted me.  Toni took another puff, then handed the cigarette to Virginia, who refused it.  Even fighting for breath, with tears in my eyes, I could see the look of disgust on Toni’s face.

As I finally began to breathe again, Toni finished the cigarette and started talking in a very graphic and crude way about what she wanted to do with Virginia’s older brother, Mike.  I knew that she was saying this just to offend Virginia.  It was Toni’s way of telling Virginia to get lost.  Virginia did go home, probably crying the whole way.  But I was transfixed: fascinated and horrified by what I was hearing.  Toni knew more about the mechanics of sex than anyone I knew.  In those days sex education consisted of separating boys from the girls and telling each group about the changes to expect in our growing bodies.  She claimed that she had seen one of her dad’s Playboys.  Now that I think of it, I doubt that a magazine with pictures of naked women could possibly been where Toni had learned some of the things she had told me.

One day, Toni and I went to the town library to get books for a report.  As I scoured the shelves looking for books about Guatemala, Toni approached me with a book she had found.  It was a book full of witchcraft spells.  Toni said that she was going to check it out.  We looked through the book, finding spells and recipes for love potions, curses for enemies, and all sorts of crazy stuff.  I was again both fascinated and horrified.  Then Toni asked me if I wanted to see the house where a witch lived.  I said yes, expecting a dark, gothic house behind a creaky iron fence and overgrown yard.  As we walked, Toni talked about a boy in our class.  She didn’t like him, though I don’t remember why.  Toni didn’t always need a reason for not liking someone.  She called this boy Jewfish and all sorts of other nasty names.  Her code name for him was Fish.  “Yeah,” she said as we walked, “I’m going to put a hex on Fish.  That’ll fix him.”  I didn’t know what a hex was, but I was too embarrassed to ask.  Who knows, but that she might put a hex on me for being dumb.

Why did I hang around with Toni?  I’ve thought about it, and I think I hung around with her because Toni understood my feelings of being a misfit.  Toni made me feel included.  We may have been misfits, but we were misfits together.

Suddenly Toni stopped and announced that this was the witch’s house.  It was nothing at all like I had been picturing.  Instead of a Nightmare on Elm Street, it was a sunny little cottage with a pretty garden full of flowers behind a white picket fence.  “Are you sure?” I asked.  Toni nodded her head.  “You wanna meet her?”  My heart screamed No, but my mouth said, “Sure.”  Toni opened the gate and walked to the front door.  She rang the bell.  To my relief there was no response.  “Ah, she’s probably still at work.”  I blinked a couple of times, “You know her?”  Toni laughed, “Sure!  How do you think I know she’s a witch?  She’s friends with my parents.”  “What kind of work does a witch do?” I wondered aloud.  “She’s a nurse.”  Now my head was spinning.  A nurse is a person who helps people.  So, Toni was telling me that a nurse that lives in a pretty cottage at the top of the hill is a witch.  I decided that she was playing a trick on me to see how gullible I am.

The next day at school, Toni grabbed my hand as I was walking by to get to my next class.  “Did you hear?  Fish had to go home.”  “Why?”  “His glasses broke.”  She fixed me with a look that said that there was more to the story.  “I did it.”  At first I thought that maybe she had lost her temper and punched him—which Toni was capable of doing.  But then Toni would have been sent home, too.  The realization slowly dawned on me that she had cursed him and that had caused his glasses to break.

One day soon after breaking Fish’s glasses with the hex, Toni invited me to her house.  She said that she had something important to tell me.  She led me into the kitchen, turned and announced, “Me and my parents are satanists.”  I felt a strong earthquake inside my own body, and reached for the nearest chair to steady myself as the room tilted violently to the right.  Seeing my reaction, Toni quickly back-pedaled: “Just kidding!” she laughed uncertainly.  “You didn’t think I was serious, did you?”  But I knew that this was not a joke.  I knew that Toni had told me something secret and true.  My spirit’s reaction to the revelation testified to it.  I excused myself and went home.  Soon after that, school ended and my family moved back to Texas.  I never saw Toni again.

Here’s the thing: Toni went to church regularly with her parents.  But they were satanists.  And this was just outside of San Francisco just a few years after Anton Lavey had founded the church of satan there, based on doing everything on that list from Galatians 5:19-21, above.

A Mole in the Church

The idea that there are satanic moles in the church shouldn’t scare us.  But it should make us very vigilant.  They come in with an agenda to weaken and ultimately destroy the church.

I can’t prove anything, because these satanic moles are very careful to keep up the appearance of faithful Christianity.  The Holy Spirit has shown me many clues regarding a certain person in a church I visit often that I strongly suspect of being a witch.  This person has managed to work their way into church leadership, while producing no real fruit in their life.  In fact, the last I heard, the mole was slated to become a pastor.  Meanwhile, the pastor’s marriage has failed after the mole became so close to the pastor and spouse that they were cheek to cheek on the spouse’s social media profile.  Just days later, the spouse left the pastor.  The mole is the same sex as the spouse, so when I noticed that this person was always borrowing and leaving personal items at the pastor’s house, I became alarmed.  In the midst of all this, the church has moved from one location to another, making it very difficult for people to find the church’s current location.

I used to think that I should blow the whistle on the mole.  The problem is that the person is extremely charming, and has made friends throughout the leadership of the church.  The other leaders of the church wouldn’t believe me because they wouldn’t want to believe it of this charming, funny, friendly person.

But the signs are there for anyone with some true discernment:


  • Witchcraft graffiti began appearing on virtually every street corner in the neighborhood where the pastor lived and the church was originally located.
    • I really only noticed it because the Holy Spirit pointed it out to me, reminding me of the little that I knew about witchcraft. I responded by breaking the spirit of witchcraft every place where I saw the graffiti.
  • I saw this person with an Italian language copy of the book He Came to Set the Captives Free, which is the personal account of Dr. Rebecca Brown’s encounters with witches and satanists.
    • When I commented on the book, the person told me: “I used to be involved with witchcraft.” At the risk of sounding nit-picky, most people who have come out of something deeply satanic don’t share this information without adding a word of praise and gratitude to the Lord.    They told me as if sharing some banal piece of information, like the weather.  At the same time, there was real enthusiasm for the book, itself, saying: “I just can’t put it down.”
  • Borrowing and leaving personal items at the pastor’s house is a big sign. The things I saw borrowed were towels, a hair brushes, and a disposable razor—things with the pastor’s DNA on them.
  • I was at a birthday dinner for the pastor’s mother. We all started at the same table, but this person then brought up some “urgent” church business, which the two of them discussed at another table alone.  This is very strange behavior for Italy, where parties and especially mothers are very important.  I have never seen anything like this anywhere, but definitely bizarre behavior for Italy.
  • The biggest sign of all: there is no good fruit in the mole’s life. None at all.  This person has not led one single soul to Christ, has not edified anyone at all in the church (not to my knowledge), and has never even offered to pray for anyone.

I think the mole knows that I know because this person now avoids me like dog-do on the sidewalk.  Like I said, I wanted to blow the whistle on the mole, but I know that I would not be believed.  Besides that, the Holy Spirit has counseled me to pray instead.  So that is what I have been doing.  I asked God how to prayer about this situation.

I pray daily for my churches (here in Milan and in Asheville) and for my pastors and for all my friends who are pastors throughout the rest of Europe and the world.  With regard to satanic plants, I pray that if there are any satanic plants in any of their churches that the mole will make a huge blunder that will unmask their true agenda in the church—and that the pastors and church leadership will heed the revelation and have the courage to take proper action.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people, (Philippians 2:15).

Going back to the theme of my first post in this series: Projection, we need to be very careful not to project our innocence, integrity, and sincerity onto others, even people in the church.  There are some bad people out there that would love to see all the Christians gone.  Well, when Jesus Raptures us home, we will all be outta here.  I would hate to see what the world is like without Christians.  But then, I won’t be here.  God is good!

The Heart of the Matter – Part Three


The Spirit of Offense


A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle, (Proverbs 18:19, NKJV).

Many, many times I’ve seen people—I’m talking about church people—do all sorts of hurtful things to others and justify it because of their ministerial calling.  This is not just those operating under a Jezebel spirit (see The Heart of the Matter – Part Two – Witchcraft and the Jezebel Spirit).  In fact, the spirit of offense could also be called a divisive spirit.  This was what John Bevere wrote about in his book, The Bait of Satan.

Whereas a witchcraft and/or Jezebel spirit mostly operates from inside a person, the spirit of offense is just as likely to be oppressing from outside as possessing from the inside.  All it really needs is one person that is passionate about their ministry.

First, it gets that person busy building the ministry.  This is not difficult with a person that is passionate about their ministry.  In fact, it gets them so busy with good works that the person winds up spending less and less time in Bible reading or in prayer.  Along comes a fellow believer that says or does something that inadvertently offends the passionate person.  The spirit of offense throws gasoline on the fire by telling the offended party that the offender is attacking their ministry.

Because of having spent less time in the Lord’s presence, the offended party believes that their ministry is under attack.  In fact, it is under attack, but not from the offending person.  Every attempt at making amends is thwarted by the spirit of offense, which continues reminding the offended person of what the offender did and of all that person’s possible motivations, including outlandish accusations and outright lies.  All of this, the offended person believes are his or her own thoughts, when in fact, they are thoughts suggested to him or her by a lying demon.

I have personally been on both sides of this kind of thing.  Neither is a pretty story.


As the offender, I had no idea that I had looked like a threat to the other person’s ministry.  So when they lashed-out at me, I was taken completely by surprise.  At that time, I still needed a lot of emotional healing, so I dealt with the situation in the only way that my life experience had taught me: I avoided confrontation by walking out of the restaurant in order to physically get away from the person.  It was only later during prayer (months after I had forgiven the person and stayed away) that the Lord revealed my “offense” to me.  By then, the person had told me that I was not welcome to make contact with them.  I was unfriended and blocked on social media.  By risking contact, I would risk inadvertently re-offending them, so I have kept my distance.

Since then, I have prayed for reconciliation.  Reconciliation will take a miracle, but my God is a miracle-working God.  When the time is right, God will bring us back into each other’s lives, and we will reconcile.  That is what I am praying and believing for.  Forgiving the person I had offended was made easier by the following experience as the person offended.


As the person offended, I was completely convinced that I was in the right, and that my ministry was under a severe threat by my offender.  In fact, I was so convinced of my rightness that I easily brushed aside all peace-making attempts by a mutual friend.  I even verbally assaulted the offender, leaving the person in tears.  Later, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had hurt a fellow believer, which was against His will.  And I had done it in defense of my ministry.  This, I was surprised to find out, was also against His will.

Reconciliation – Mission Impossible?

Jesus is supposed to be Lord of All, including the ministry.  If the ministry needs defending, He is more than able to defend it.  We’ve got to hold onto our ministry with an open hand because in the end, it’s all His.  If He decides to call me to something completely different, I need to let go of this and be ready to go wherever He calls.  As soon as the Holy Spirit showed me that I was in the wrong, I immediately confessed to my “offender” and asked forgiveness.  We cried and hugged and our relationship was restored.  And this experience has given me much more compassion for the person I had offended.

God First, Always

We’ve got to be so careful, to deal with one another with love and compassion.  Most of all, we’ve got to make quiet time with God, reading the Bible and in prayer before Him, the top priority over everything else in our lives.  Once we’ve got our priorities straight, He will make everything work out for our good:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them, (Romans 8:28, emphasis mine).

That’s not to say that we will always perceive everything as good.  In fact, if you’re really serving God, then you’re in for a rough road, full of trouble and difficulties.  But if you stay close to Jesus, you’ll find that He works even troubles and difficulties for our good.  And really, all of life has trouble and difficulties.  I’d rather go through it all with God holding my hand than to try and go it alone.  God is good!

The Heart of the Matter Part Two


Witchcraft and the Jezebel Spirit

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There has been much said and written lately about the Jezebel spirit in the church.  I believe that most of the people that are operating under the Jezebel spirit are unaware that they are in need of deliverance.  Witchcraft is so closely related to the Jezebel spirit that sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.  The Jezebel spirit operates as a witchcraft spirit, but a witchcraft spirit is not necessarily a Jezebel spirit.  Derek Prince said that wherever you see intimidation, manipulation, and domination in the church, there is witchcraft at work.  Legalism is a form of witchcraft because it seeks to control people through a set of rules.  Consider this:

Oh, foolish Galatians!  Who has cast an evil spell on you?  For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross, (Galatians 3:1, emphasis mine).

And I’m sorry to burst your bubble if you believe that everyone is automatically delivered and freed from generational curses at salvation.  It’s simply not true.  At salvation, it’s true that the human body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The physical entrance of the Holy Spirit into the person’s body will cause some of the smaller, weaker spirits to vacate the premises immediately.  But the bigger and stronger spirits, like the Jezebel spirit and the witchcraft spirit will simply bide their time in an out-of-the-way corner until an opportune moment.  Then they will entice the person to say or do something that is not in keeping with the Christian walk.

Typically, they start with something small[1] like listening to gossip.  They think, I’m not going to tell anyone, and it might hurt this person’s feelings if I cut them off or walk out on them.  So they listen to gossip.  When they do that, they quench the Holy Spirit and harden their heart.  From there it’s a small step to spreading gossip.  They may justify it as a “prayer request” on behalf of the victim of the gossip.  The Holy Spirit is further quenched and the heart hardened more.  Step-by-step, the person, has learned all the appropriate “Christianese,” while practicing less and less of the “dying to self” aspect.  In other words, they talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.

Plus, they spend less and less time reading the Bible and in prayer before the Lord.  They say that they’re too busy.  Come on!  Nobody is too busy for God.  This is just evidence that they have not made God a priority in their life.  Yet, they will continue to attend prayer meetings.  They may even volunteer at church.  So the inner life is dying, while on the outside, they still appear to be Christian.

Eventually the Jezebel spirit “calls” them into a leadership position.  (They are called, and they know it, but it’s not a call from God.)  Usually their calling means that they must get as close to the pastor as they can get.  Sometimes getting close to the pastor means getting rid of the people around the pastor that are standing in their way, including his own wife.  Of course, they justify this, fully believing that God has called them to leadership.  Their methods of getting rid of people include those gossip “prayers” described above.  They may ask for an appointment with the pastor for counseling.  These counseling appointments become more and more frequent, and because the pastor has already invested time in this person, it becomes an obligation to continue the counseling, even giving it priority over other appointments.  Before long, this person has essentially monopolized the pastor’s time, including family time.

Please note that while the Jezebel spirit operates most often in and through women, there have been cases of men with a Jezebel spirit.  This spirit is often associated with a sexual attraction, but not always.  Plus the presence of a Jezebel spirit in a church does not necessarily mean that the pastor has an Ahab spirit, but it is most effective if it is this way.  The Ahab spirit is a spirit of passivity associated with depression.  If the pastor suffers from depression it doesn’t mean that he or she is possessed by a spirit of depression or an Ahab spirit.  The depression spirit can just as easily oppress a person by building a satanic hedge around them to keep them isolated.  This is why we must be diligent to pray for our pastors.

Finally, the person with the Jezebel spirit will feel called to take control of the church away from the pastor.  Of course, they’ve been positioning themselves for this move for a long time.  And all the time they may truly believe that they are doing God’s work, and that this is for the good of the church.

If you recognize yourself in any of this, confess it now.  Repent and submit yourself to the leadership that God has put over you.


Weird is a witchcraft word.  Where you see graffiti like this, there is probably a coven in the neighborhood.

Recently a pastor wrote to me, asking for prayer about three women that are openly at war with one another in his church.  All three, he said, are in leadership positions.  I told him that I suspect that at least one, if not all three, has a witchcraft/Jezebel spirit.  I suggested that he prayerfully consider suspending their leadership duties until he has more understanding about what it is that he’s dealing with.  Is he going to find it difficult to continue with three holes in leadership?  Yes.  And even more difficult for the fact that he doesn’t speak the language as well as these women do.  But I think the consequences of some gaps in leadership is far less than the consequences of leaving leaders in place that might be operating under the wrong spirit.  Ultimately, I am almost certain that if he suspends their leadership, the ones that are under witchcraft and/or a Jezebel spirit will mount a rebellion against him.  His church may split.  Honestly, there isn’t much hope for this ending well.  This is why Paul counseled Timothy:

Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader, (1 Timothy 5:22).

We’ve got to be wise, even in dealing with people in the church.  Never, never, never assume that everyone in the church is truly born again or is operating under the leading of the Holy Spirit.  But Jesus gave us a way to know what spirit others are operating under:

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.  Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Not everyone who calls out to Me, “Lord!  Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Only those who actually do the will of My Father in Heaven will enter.  On judgment day many will say to Me, “Lord!  Lord!  We prophesied in Your Name and cast out demons in Your Name and performed many miracles in Your Name.”  But I will reply, “I never knew you.  Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws,” (Matthew 7:15-23, emphasis mine).

Look at what this passage reveals to us:

  • They come disguised as harmless sheep. They look and sound just like the other people around them in the church.  Thoroughly versed in Christianese, they talk the talk—as much as anyone else in the church.
    • They also spend a lot of time at church in virtually every church activity. They want to be seen because this adds to the illusion that they are harmless and sincere sheep.
  • They produce false miracles that look genuine. Don’t forget that Jannes and Jambres produced false miracles that mimicked the genuine miracles of Moses (2 Timothy 3:8):
    • They prophesy.
    • They cast out demons.
    • They perform miracles.
  • They call Jesus Lord, but it is only lip service because they are not submitted and doing the will of the Father in Heaven.
  • We have a way of identifying them, if we will only take a good look:
    • We will know them by their fruit. What are they producing around them?  These are questions we should be asking of anyone that is high up in church leadership.
      • Is there division and discord, arguments and hurt feelings whenever they are in charge of a ministry?
      • Do people feel edified in their faith by them and by their ministry?
      • Do they monopolize the pastor’s time?
      • Do they exhibit true servant leadership?
      • Does their public behavior reveal a rich personal relationship with Jesus?
    • Again, fruit does not mean miracles. Remember that miracles can be faked.

I’m not saying that we need to be throwing around accusations.  In fact, that could be potentially disastrous.  We need to be wise.  The way to deal with someone you suspect of operating under a witchcraft and/or Jezebel spirit is first and foremost prayer.  Pray for wisdom and guidance.  Pray for the pastor, for his or her marriage, and for the church.  Be aware of the delicacy of this situation because when a witchcraft or Jezebel spirit is unmasked, it will cause that person to do everything in their power to split the church.  And the whole time, the person in question will honestly believe that what they are doing is of God.

The best thing of all is to keep your pastor and your church leaders in your prayers.  The defeated enemy has them in his sights and he wants to take them down.  Pray!  And never forget: God is good!

[1] By small, I mean something that seems small to us.  To God all sin is sin, and no sin has any place in a Christian’s life.

The Heart of the Matter – Part One – Projection

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9, emphasis mine).


There is a saying that when you point the finger at someone, your accusation is actually truer of yourself—as evidenced by your hand: you’ve got three more fingers pointing back at you.

In psychology this is a phenomenon known as projection.  Projection takes a number of forms, but basically it is seeing yourself in those around you; projecting your motivations and desires upon them.  Think of it this way: your mind is the projector playing your movie on others as if they were a blank screen.  And it works because of that secretive heart.  That’s the reason why people tend to project their motivations and desires upon others: because in the vast majority of cases, we haven’t got a clue about what’s going on in the hearts of those around us.  Only God really knows a person’s heart.  Sometimes we don’t even truly know our own heart.

So the cheating spouse often questions the fidelity of the partner they are cheating on.  This is an unconscious way of lessening the feelings of guilt by accusing the other.

The bully targets people who seem to reflect his own feelings of insecurity and vulnerability.  His aggressive behavior is a way of showing himself that he’s not really so small, weak, and vulnerable.  And it’s as true in the schoolyard as it is on the international scene.  It would not be a stretch to imagine that Hitler suffered from massive feelings of insecurity and vulnerability.

Projection can also be in a hopeful way, and this is the one that I want to write about today.  As Christians, we have confessed and repented of our sins, and we are sincerely trying to live out that new way of life.  Because of this, most of us love spending time with other Christians because we can share our worldview with people who understand why we live like we do.

The problem is that because we are actively working on our own character, we tend to project that onto everyone else in the church.  The Bible says:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you, (Ephesians 4:31-32).

And we take that to heart—as we should.  At least most of us do.  The problem is that not everyone in the church is innocent.  Not everyone in the church is working on loving and forgiving others.  Not everyone in the church is (dare I say it?) born again.

Jesus even warned us about this:

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field.  But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.  When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.  The farmer’s workers went to him and said, “Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds!  Where did they come from?”

“An enemy has done this!” the farmer exclaimed.  “Should we pull out the weeds?” they asked.  “No,” he replied, “you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.  Let both grow together until the harvest.  Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn,” (Matthew 13:24-30).

The problem with projection is that we assume that those around us are working on their character, too.  The problem is that deceitful heart, with its hidden motives.  Just like Joshua, in dealing with the Gibeonites[1], we often go by appearances when choosing to trust people.  Instead we need to ask for God’s wisdom, every time.  We trust people way too much just because we have known them for a long time or because we have a lot of mutual friends[2].  Familiarity and projection leaves us, our families, and our churches vulnerable to people that are being used (whether unwittingly or deliberately) by the defeated enemy to destroy lives and churches.

Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things.  Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind, (1 Corinthians 14:20, emphasis mine).

Only God knows everyone’s heart.  Only God knows the motives and intentions.

For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable, (Hebrews 4:12-13, emphasis mine).

When I taught children’s Sunday school, I was constantly amazed at how little the parents knew of their own children’s spirituality.  Sometimes a mother would lament that her child seemed to lack any depth of spirituality.  While I had seen the same child asking questions that revealed a very active spiritual life.  Usually, with a few weeks of making this comment to me, their child would make a decision to follow Christ.

By the same token, I had a couple of very close family friends commit suicide.  Nobody had any idea that they had suicide in mind.  In fact, nobody even knew that they had been depressed.  When I was depressed, my days filled with thoughts of suicide, nobody knew that, either.  Not even those closest to me.

If we can’t know the thoughts and motivations of those closest to us, how can we possibly think that we know the heart of someone we only see once or twice a week?  One thing is for sure, the defeated enemy does not want us to thwart his plans to destroy the church and a whole lot of its people in the process.  We need wisdom.  We also need to remember that God is good!

[1] Joshua 9:1-27.

[2] Social media has made us especially vulnerable in this way.