I moved forward the post below this one because I am intensely aware there are forces at work within the Body of Christ which we must be on guard against at every turn and bump in the road. I also moved it forward because I thought it was merely a draft and not posted. I guess one should check all the fine print, eh? Instead of deleting it, I'll let it ride.
I received a very insightful comment on my post Cancer in the Body. It was written by a person wishing to remain anonymous, which is fine. However, it would have been nice to have struck up a discussion about this.
One striking comment was this:
...but it is possible that Satan has manipulated you into doing exactly what he wanted you to do.
Yes. It is possible that Satan tried to manipulate us, but there was so much more to this than being manipulated by Satan. The process one should undergo in order to assure that manipulation by Satan does not happen is very simple. Be on your knees before the LORD and ask what His will is. Then listen for that still small voice.
What happened during those days and weeks that followed the horsewhipping meeting in the “fellowship” hall was so intense and so draining that we felt like wet rags draped over a clothesline. That is the time when you feel so weak and defenseless that it is possible to make a bad decision unless you are finely tuned to that still small Voice of the LORD.
My daughter asked the other day if prayer wears you out. My reply was, “It depends upon what you are praying for and how intently.” I have been in prayer sessions that have drained me completely, and other times have prayed such a brief thing it was like a breath or a sigh. God hears them all, make no mistake and He is keeping them all in a huge gold bowl on His altar in Heaven. (Revelation 5:8 and 8:4) Resting in Him as you pray so that no other concern passes through your mind. Remain silent after you have finished. Look for God’s answer in every way, then test the answer asking if it really is from Him. All these things together is how you can know God’s answer and His will.
The religious leaders of that church bear a remarkable resemblance to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. So full of self-importance thinly veiled as “righteous” concern, that is was impossible to not see it. Also, knowing the truth about the things our pastor was accused of helped, too, and if that wasn’t enough, depending upon the Holy Spirit to point out the lies and shine a light on the truth was the clincher.
John the Baptist saw through the religious leaders of his day, Matt 3:7 But seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Jesus saw it, too, Matt 23:27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Yes, that is possible, but having witnessed it and lived through it, Satan has a stronghold in that church, not a toehold or a foothold. The people are blindly following those who lead without understanding who the true leaders are and where they are leading. One of the first things I noticed about this church is its lack of prayer. Oh, there was corporate prayer and quite eloquent prayer it is. Those of the deacons who pray whole heartedly are amazing pray-ers. But, no cottage prayer meetings, and out of the more than 1200 members, only about 25 showed up for Wednesday night prayer meeting. Now, those guys are prayer warriors. Of the church “leaders”, zero showed up for prayer meeting or choir except the pastor and his wife. That is a very sad testament.
For more discussion on this you can look for my column on LiveAsIf.org this Sunday.
…. By leaving, while it isn't always wrong and can be a good transition in life, you may have given Satan a bigger foothold in the church…
The only way to maintain innocence in the eyes of those you need to affect is by standing firm and being consistent and stand above reproach.Amen.