“Above all else, guard your heart for from it flow the springs of life” (PV 4:23)
The Women’ Fellowship was very good; and refreshing too. We praised God with songs and dancing. The next ‘item in the program’ was sharing testimonies giving glory to God. In the past, most of the testimonies were about God’s wonderful deeds in our lives. The sisters shared stories how God saved them from accidents, helped their marriages, healed their children or helped them start and prosper their businesses. That is good. But there was something missing… As their pastor, for some time, I became concerned about the direction the time of testimonies was taking. It is not that what they said was bad. The problem was that 90% of the testimonies were about what God has done in their environment, visible things, material things… Ignorantly, the devil had access to these types of testimonies. For example, a sister may testify that her child was sick and she had to rush the child to the hospital in the night. Miraculously, there was a doctor on duty who knew exactly what to do. Treatment was given and the child became well. Of course, she will give glory to God! That is good! But the devil can attack the minds of the listeners by taking some of the glory due to God and give it to other people in the story. For example the doctor who did well or even to the mother who knew what to do when her child was sick, may take some of the credit (glory) for the testimony of healing. Seeing this danger (of ignorantly sharing God’s glory with others) and praying for a solution, I decided to re-direct the ministry of sharing testimonies. From now on, we shall focus on what God has done and is doing internally, in our hearts. This is because no man and no devil can change the heart but God! No man can change a stony heart into a heart of flesh except the Holy Spirit. For example, no man or devil can take the glory for changing a stubborn, doubting, anxious, cowardly heart into one filled with peace and joy except the Holy Spirit.
So today, the sisters tried to re-focus their testimonies. They tried to testify about God’s deep work in their hearts. It was not easy. Bad habits die hard. It was easier for them to talk about externals than the work of the Holy Spirit inside their hearts. Some have even forgotten that they had a heart! They struggled when trying to become vulnerable before others and expose their own internal weaknesses. But the Holy Spirit healed us do the right thing. Everybody was attentive encouraging one another. For example: you may not need to be humble in testifying that God has helped you buy a new car. Thank God for the car! But you surely need to be more humble in telling me how you lost your temper trying to obey God’s Word to submit to your husband. It was not easy but by the grace of God we made progress yesterday. Thank God for the Holy Spirit! The evil spirit of pride and empty religion was driven away from our midst. More grace was imparted to us as we took the risk to humble ourselves before God and other sisters. Praise the Lord!
The Word I preached was in line with this new leading of the Holy Spirit. I did not prepare this message. I just allowed the Holy Spirit to speak thru me! Glory to God! I preached about the heart! The heart is the center of the body and the soul. I am not talking about the physical heart doctors can listen to. I am talking about what the Bible calls ‘heart’, the spiritual heart. God gave you your heart. It is your duty to protect it from fiery arrows of the enemy. This protection was to be ‘above all’ other protections (PV 4:23). You may guard your account so that nobody steals your money. But above all guarding, the Word commands us to ‘guard our hearts’! Why? It is because it is the source, the origin, the well spring of life! God does not speak to your mind. He speaks to your spirit, to your heart. Once your heart is damaged you will not be able to hear the voice of God clearly like in the past. Once the root is damaged the plant will eventually die. This is God’s command: Above all else, guard your heart and the vision God has deposited inside your spirit! Your very life depends on that!
The devil hates our worship. He attacks the hearts of men. Absalom, the handsome son of King David, was an ambitious, impatient and covetous young man. He wanted to be king before his father died. That is an abomination in any culture. To accomplish his wicked plan he started a campaign of evil against his own father and king. Many were deceived. They believed and followed him in his betrayal. By his wicked words and deeds he divided the kingdom. He eventually lost ‘the game’ and died a shameful, untimely death. King David came back to his throne because God made him the king. God is faithful! God vindicated David! The reason why Absalom succeeded for a while in his rebellious campaign is because ‘he stole the hearts of the men of Israel’. Absalom was a spiritual thief! Like Judas, he stole the hearts of God’s people with political kisses. Read this: “When anyone approached to bow down to him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him, and kiss him. “Absalom did this to all the Israelites who came to the king for justice. In this way he stole the hearts of the men of Israel… Then a messenger came to David and reported, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” (2Sam 15:5, 6. 13). But not all people were deceived. Some of David’s men remained faithful to him to the end and were rewarded for that!
What are the lessons? King David represents God’s established delegated authority. Absalom represents the rebellious man instituted authority. Application: If your pastor is of the order or David, you are covered and blessed by God. But if your pastor is of the order of Absalom, you are in serious trouble for God does not accept or bless rebellious authority. Run for your life!
As you know, Absalom died long ago. But the evil spirit of Absalom is not dead. Spirits do not die. Many Christians, families and churches have been damaged by this wicked evil spirit. They have been deceived to believe a lie. People submitted to evil spirits of religion and rebellion. In particular, the evil spirit of Absalom attacks the hearts of the believers and damages them. The result is that they become spiritually weak. They cannot love God like in the past. They forsake their first love. They cannot worship God freely. They cannot love their neighbors as they love themselves. Marriages are damaged too. Many divorces among the believers are the result of the damage caused by the evil spirit of handsome prince of darkness called Absalom.
Yesterday, during the Women’ Fellowship, we prayed and rejected this wicked spirit from among us. We asked the Holy Spirit to heal our broken hearts and to fill us afresh with the Holy Spirit. Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!! I testify that true ministry was done yesterday in our midst. Great testimonies shall follow! To the glory of God alone!
(In the picture, the Women in our church and I praying during Jesus Mega Party)