October 4, 2013
During the past couple of weeks we've been having healing conference calls on a daily basis, Monday through Friday at 7:00 PM Eastern. We have hosted these calls with George Robinson who has a remarkable track record in ministering healing to folks who either have stage 3 or stage 4 cancer, or have other debilitating or terminal diseases. It absolutely blesses my socks off to see the miracles that are taking place on a daily basis over the phone.
This morning (as I write this) I received a phone call from a woman whose best friend was dying with stage 4 cancer. George had prayed for her several days ago. She had gone to a doctor this morning and the doctor reported that she was completely free of all traces of cancer. Last week we had a woman who was suffering with severe pain in her lower back and walked with a decided limp [her husband referred to it as "a swivel" :-)]because of one leg that was shorter than the other.
We listened to her husband literally explode with laughter as he watched his wife's legs even out following prayer. The issue was more than one leg being short. She had a pelvic issue which contributed to the continuous pain. The Lord delivered her from the pain (naturally!) as she was healed of the deformity.
It is a fabulous experience to have this happen on a daily basis just with telephone calls. Neither George nor Dwain nor I (nor any of the other folks who've joined us) are with any of these people in person to lay hands on them. This is a work of Holy Spirit in response to folks who are hearing the word of faith -- a true rhema in their spirits -- and responding! Praise God!
Let's begin our discussion today with a personal story. During the last few discussions, we've talked about the fact that the spirit of Jezebel is an extremely unrepentant spirit. Folks who are ruled by this spirit have extreme resistance to acknowledging their need to repent or to turn from the witchcraft (because that's exactly what it is) of manipulation of people's lives, more often than not through the use of religion, religious doctrines which usurp the authority and integrity of God's Word, and the traditions of man which have no bearing whatever on what God is saying!
One personal experience stands out (among several similar instances) in my own past in having to address the spirit of Jezebel. This happened while I was pastoring in Salt Lake City with Bill Christopulos. I received a phone call from a former Bible college classmate who was ministering in the Barstow, California area. He shared with me a rather extraordinary event that was taking place in the church where he was sharing (he was not the pastor, but had been invited to spend some time in this particular church teaching in both prophetic and evangelistic ministry).
It seems that a woman (who shall remain unnamed in this discussion) who had recently moved to Daggett (a small town about 5 or 6 miles east of Barstow) with her husband and family found this particular church to her liking. The background of this church was that the founding pastor had been stricken with a heart attack and died suddenly without any advance warning signs. His wife (who co-pastored with him) was left in a state of shock. She was accustomed to ministering with her husband, and the two of them shared a real sense of teamwork in ministry. His sudden departure caught her flatfooted, and she felt the entire load of responsibility for the church they had built together.
Being vulnerable and struggling emotionally to catch her equilibrium, this new family's entrance into the church came at a strategic moment -- strategic, that is, when viewed by a spirit that was looking for an opportunity to usurp authority and exercise a fair degree of control over a congregation. The lady in question saw her opportunity and took immediate advantage.
Without taking the time to build any kind of relationship with the woman-pastor and establish any kind of basis for her voice to be heard in this fellowship, she began to break into the middle of church services with prophetic utterances that literally commanded everyone's attention. It wasn't long before these “prophetic utterances” (none of which came forth from the Spirit of Prophecy, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself) had that local body of believers in a state of confusion.
This was the situation my former classmate (whom I will refer to only as Allen) laid out for me on the telephone. He knew that the Lord had anointed me in times past to deal with situations like this and asked if I would be willing to come to Barstow. Actually, the church was in the nearby town of Daggett. He said he would provide the transportation and sent a driver to pick me up. During the trip, I waited on the Lord for an answer as to how to deal with this situation.
The trip was without incident, and I arrived in Daggett less than an hour before their midweek service was scheduled to begin. Our evening began with prayer and folks gathered around the altar in front, or prayed at their seats throughout the church.
About 15 or 20 minutes into our prayer time, this voice suddenly begins loudly prophesying about midway back through the church. I didn't have to look up to guess where it was coming from. The woman in question had stood to her feet and begun uttering some miserable excuse for a prophetic word in her loudest voice. I was on my knees praying and flipped open my Bible.
It fell open to I Corinthians 14:29-33, where Paul speaks of the order and pattern of prophetic utterances and says that "God is not the author of confusion;" and then I read the last verse of the chapter, "Let all things be done decently and in order."
I lifted my head from my bowed position and caught the eye of the lady pastor. She just looked at me and nodded her head. I got to my feet, walked up to the platform and spread my Bible out on the pulpit. Without any introductions or preliminary comments, I simply began reading Paul's remarks from the 14th chapter of I Corinthians. The prophesying ceased as suddenly as it had begun, and the lady who had been prophesying sat down and began glaring at me angrily.
As I began to share about the necessity of things being done in an orderly manner, the necessity of recognizing those in authority whom God had placed -- meaning, in this case, the woman pastor -- over a body of believers, the lady who had been prophesying turned to her husband and muttered a few words. They stood to their feet in as disruptive a manner as possible, making noise as they picked up their coats, and headed for the exit.
It was about as obvious a display of rebellion as you'd ever want to see. There was no acknowledgement of their sin (and I use the word "their" advisedly); there was no repentance or humility of any kind: just pure arrogance.
The more astonishing part of this story unfolded the following morning when Allen, James (another elder from the fellowship) and I went to the home of the couple with the objective of ministering to them. The front door was standing open. When we went to knock, James (the elder) pushed the door open all the way to call the people. The house was empty. The people had packed up their few possessions and vacated the (rented and sparsely furnished) house. Neighbors confirmed that they had left hurriedly during the night. They were nowhere to be found. The church (and apparently the community of Daggett) never heard from the people again.
The spirit of Jezebel hates confrontation. It is unrepentant. Those afflicted by this spirit have serious emotional and psychological battles to fight just to repent. They allow pride and the fear of exposure to block their repentance. It becomes easier (for many) to pretend to repent in order to receive acceptance. Deception (a la the Hivites and Perizzites) on their part becomes the order of the day.
In every case where I've dealt with and addressed the spirit of Jezebel over the past 35-plus years, I can only remember one incident in which the person afflicted with this spirit actually repented -- truly repented -- and was set free. In every other instance, the reaction has been arrogance, pride, rebellion, fear, lots of crying, false repentance followed by an even greater display of rebellion and efforts to usurp authority, etc., etc.
But we've only just begun to describe this spirit and its deadly nature. Neither have we talked about the accompanying spirit of Ahab (that's what I've come to call it) which not only permits but facilitates the operation of the spirit of Jezebel. Stay tuned, folks. We're just getting started with the letter to Thyatira.
We have talked about the significance of the rebuke to this Ekklesia -- and in particular, the permission given to the spirit of Jezebel (a spirit of the Amorites) to operate in their midst, and I shared with you one experience I had in dealing with this spirit.
As I noted before, this is easily the most unrepentant, the most arrogant, the most usurping spirit that plagues the body of Christ. I've lost track of the number of times where I have had to deal with people under the domination of this spirit, and I really have only one recollection of a case in which real repentance and restoration took place.
Thinking back a few years, an instance came to me in which a certain pastor was afflicted with this spirit. He demanded absolute control over the church he pastored, refusing to permit any open ministry within his church. The only prophetic words given in that church either came from him, his wife, or his mother. (That may be overstating things a bit, but I emphasize this to note that this pastor was extremely restrictive in controlling prophetic words.)
This is symptomatic of the spirit of Jezebel. It usurps the authority of the Lord seeking to be the voice that is heard, and the only voice that is heard. When folks in his church began coming to some of my mid-week teachings and heard things that were based soundly in the Word, but things that contradicted what they heard from this pastor, they went to him to ask an explanation. He immediately launched a personal attack from his pulpit against the Word that I was teaching and preaching, and -- more specifically -- against me as an individual.
When the attacks were reported to me, I called this pastor and invited him to come to my office and allow me to share with him exactly what I was saying so that nothing could be taken out of context. He brought some of his "elders" with him and refused to listen to anything I had to share; instead launching into a tirade and personal attack on me, the fellowship, and the benevolence ministries which were peripheral to our fellowship. I invited him to take a cassette tape copy of the teaching that seemed to have sparked his anger, but he refused.
When I gently suggested that he needed to take a look at the spirit in which he was addressing things, he arose from his seat, motioned to the elders who were with him and promptly exited my office. It wasn't long before he engaged in a public letter-writing campaign against me. It isn't necessary for me to take this story out to all of its details other than to say that in the months that followed, he was caught in adultery and forced to give up his pastorate.
Although I have no firsthand knowledge of this, in the years that followed, I was told that this pastor publicly repented and confessed his sin. He was later restored to the pastorate of the same church where he had fallen. That, my friends, is the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me wrap up today with one final event -- this one again involving my lifetime friend and fellow-laborer in the Gospel, Dwain McKenzie.
Back in the late nineties, Dwain's first wife, Betty June, succumbed to a years-long battle with cancer. As noted in #'s 3 and 4 of this series, Dwain was back in Barrow ministering at the same church where he had been falsely accused, betrayed by denominational "brethren" -- and where the Lord had ultimately vindicated him in the years that followed.
Susie had been the worship leader for some time and she and Dwain had developed a real flow in ministry together. There was one fly in the ointment. Susie's first husband had run off with another woman and she was in the middle of a rather prolonged divorce. Dwain had occasion to come and visit Della and me while we were in McAllen, Texas and shared his growing love and affection for Susie. "Do you think it would be OK for me to ask her to marry me after she gets finished with her divorce?"
He admitted to being very nervous about asking her and was concerned that she might not accept his proposal simply because of the way it might look -- and of course there was the issue of whether the denomination would revoke his ordination papers because of her previous marriage since they took a very strong stand on that issue. He was also concerned that if she rejected his proposal of marriage it could damage their ability to flow together in ministry.
Della and I counseled him to pursue things as soon as it was legally possible. If she accepted, he was going to need to run things past the Alaska District Superintendent so that any questions of Biblical propriety could be resolved as far as the denomination was concerned.
This story has lots of interesting twists and turns and details, and I could really stretch it out into a romance novel, but let's get to the heart of things.
With no small amount of trepidation, Susie accepted Dwain's proposal of marriage. Dwain contacted the District Superintendent, and to everyone's surprise and pleasure he expressed not only his congratulations but agreed to perform the wedding. The wedding was a joyous, faith-filled event, and the church rejoiced with Dwain and Susie.
Here's where things take a Jezebel twist!
Not very many months later the very same District Superintendent who performed their wedding sent a letter to Dwain which stated in no uncertain terms that Dwain was in violation of the Word, having married Susie, that he was in violation of the denomination's doctrines and policies, that he was required to surrender his ordination papers, and -- finally -- that he was required to leave the church in Barrow. He called me and read the letter to me over the phone. We both laughed at the irony of the situation. It was 1965 all over again!
Dwain gladly surrendered his ordination papers with the denomination. Leaving the church was another matter, however. The church throughout the years had become independent of the denomination in terms of its charter, its ownership of property, and its right to keep or reject a pastor. The mid-1960's events that had forced Dwain out the first time taught the church a lesson, and one they had taken to heart. The elders of the church rejected the denomination's demand for Dwain's removal and he stayed on.
Think back to #2 in this series and you'll remember that I mentioned watching the District Superintendent of the denomination standing over my mother on her death bed and waiting until she signed over the church, the parsonage and all the property at Saint Paul Island to the denomination. This was the same District Superintendent!
His behavior couldn't have been more indicative of the spirit of Jezebel! You remember Jezebel's ignominious end, don't you? Not too long after this event with Dwain's dismissal from the denomination, this DS was accused of financial improprieties. He ultimately was removed from his position and lost his standing -- and his papers -- with the denomination.
By the way, the end of Dwain's story in Barrow was that he remained on to oversee a move of the Spirit of God that had people falling on their knees in the streets of the city crying out in repentance and surrendering their lives to the Lord.
Got the picture? Jezebel DOES NOT get the last word!
See you next week.
Blessings on you!
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