Uncomfortable Faithfulness: 4 Things That Prevent the Church-goer From Mastering Their Assignment


I spend quite a bit of time and effort preaching the gospel and communicating as clearly and effectively as I can our perfect and complete acceptance in Jesus. I’m so entrenched in the grace that poured out from the cross that I legitimately don’t regard “success” or “failure” when observing my nature or heart. The works-based, self-effort version of misinterpreting the gospel is repulsive and detrimental. We don’t earn anything.

That being said, there is absolutely a standard on us when it comes to the things God has entrusted to us, be it anointing, gifting, calling, ability, opportunity, etc., To whom much is given, much is expected.

There’s a stigma in the world against “self-help” books and success books. In my experience, that stigma typically comes from people exuding cynicism, fear, control issues, paranoia, and typically they have been hurt in the past by their own disappointments. Instead of healing, they fold over on their pain and attack other people who don’t share their particular limp or propensity to recoil at possibility.

I love the Church. I’m so grateful to have been raised in an environment that values constant learning, reflection, community, worship and accountability; being a church-goer ultimately led me to encountering the living God who radically changed my life. As any church-goer knows, the Church is also messy. A couple of things I despise about church culture is the sloppy approach to personal mastery and the fear of truth that is packaged in unfamiliar forms.  

I’m getting more and more passionate about daily habits, mindsets and practices to help set me up with the ability to handle what I see in my future. What many church-goers don’t understand is that habits and work ethics, things like diligence, persistence, courage and discipline are all service-oriented installments purposed to assist us in carrying out our God-given assignments. When God is looking for faithfulness and we’re stewards of things entrusted to us to manage for someone else, I should think our value for practical application on HOW to effectively take care of our charge would be quite high.

I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on things I see stealing from Christian’s ability to succeed in carrying out what God has asked of them. Let’s be real, if all of these sons and daughters were living out their potential, the plans God has for them for them to prosper, have hope and a future, the world would look very different.

Disclaimer! I am no expert. Here are four things I personally think have stolen from the church-goer’s ability to exercise dominion in their work life and personal assignment.

1. A lack of competency in the soul

A lot of believers in the Church begin with a degree of ignorance in spiritual matters. We can use the words of spiritual talk but we lack the experience and the understanding to authentically engage spirit from a place of understanding. With that starting point, people tend to focus on spiritual matters to bring meaning and purpose to their pain or difficulties. One of the problems I see with this practice is most of our pain and difficulty is actually stemming from a lack of competency in our soul, the place we think, feel, decide, desire and choose. We undervalue consistency and keeping our word and overvalue esoteric experiences and appearing spiritually mature.

2. An emotion-based measurement of success

As a culture, we are driven by how we feel. We misinterpret our emotions as spiritual insight. We get a “feeling” and think it’s guidance from God when that isn’t always the case. Don’t get me wrong, our intuition and our feelings do pick up legitimate information and God does affect our emotions. The problem with this as a litmus test is God is operating from somewhere higher than our emotions and He doesn’t seek permission from our feelings when communicating with or instructing us. We can tend to be shallow in our depth perception of the spirit and short-sighted in our ability to partner with wisdom because we’re looking at the cleats of our opponent instead of the 10 yard line, let alone the field...let alone the stadium. We notice our opponent didn’t tie his shoes the way we would have and pass judgment on him and forget that we’re wearing a jersey. We forget there’s a football. We forget we’re in the middle of a game. We forget this is the third down. We forget we’re on a team, that we’re heading in a direction, that there’s an objective. But we’re confident his shoes are tied wrong.

3. Fear of money

I still can’t believe there are Christians in the world who believe God wants us to be poor. It blows my mind. Poverty is a spirit and it’s not coming from God. Poverty wants us to be poor. Poverty wants us to lack, to suffer, to struggle through difficulties, accentuate our victimhood and pine for a rescuer. The religious spirit comes to the poverty-laden soul and infuses every lack facet with the invitation to take pride and reinterpret the lack as a deposit toward some heavenly investment that will hopefully accrue interest over time. This is a lie. God did not inspire lack, it wasn’t His idea and it doesn’t come from Him. Ever. In any form. He never engineers lack. Then we bring the money element into the equation. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” So many Christians hide their self-hatred and lack of faith with this mantra so as to excuse themselves from faithfulness in stewardship. They consequently adopt of fear of money to protect them from loving it. Last I checked, God didn’t give us a spirit of fear...

4. Lack of vision

Because of our short-sightedness, we don’t invest in a year from now, let alone ten years from now, let alone ten generations from now. We can’t see that far ahead. A lot of Christians are still of the belief that Jesus is going to come back and rapture us from a polluted, sin-laden, satan world. Everything that goes wrong in the world is further proof to them that “the end is coming.” This is a demonic eschatology that promotes negligence, ignorance and selfishness. When I hear the older generation of Christians say they’re ready for Jesus to return, it typically comes after a lament or as an ugly, brittle bow to finish the thought of a despairing situation. This worldview makes me sad and kind of angry, they’ve already given up on us and are content to abandon our state to ruin.

Increasing our emotional intelligence and self-awareness will help us grow in governing ourselves competently and recognizing how we’re meant to carry out what the Holy Spirit is leading us to, especially in relation to other people. Learning to value and perceive deeper than our feelings will allow us to understand what God is saying more completely. (To increase your spiritual intelligence, take my Discerning Spirits Course http://www.mikemaeshiro.com/course/) Break up with the religious poverty spirit and learn to overcome money instead of letting it push you around. (There are SO many resources on how to change your mind about money.) Changing our eschatology to line up with the Holy Spirit is doing in this day will open our hearts and eyes to see further than our own experience. (A couple of books in this area, “Victorious Eschatology” by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench and “Raptureless” by Jonathan Welton)

Success in carrying out our assignment is not measured by comfort, it’s measured by faithfulness. Let’s get to work.

I have a team of spiritual life coaches whom I’ve personally trained who are uniquely equipped to help our clients practically identify harmful spiritual agreements, align with the truth and demonstrate dominion in their lives. If you’re looking for an increase in how you manage what has been entrusted to you, you can apply to work with one of my coaches here: http://www.mikemaeshiro.com/coaching/

Do or Die


Man, I LOVE my job, I think a big part of that is because it’s not a job. I don’t have a boss. No one tells me what to do that I don’t want to tell me what to do. That doesn’t mean I don’t want people to have insight and authority in my life, it just means it’s all volitional.

But then again, traditional employment with bosses and workplace politics is volitional too, right? A lot of employees have an attitude about their job like there are all kinds of things imposed on them against their will. But that’s not true, is it? If we don’t like it, we always have the choice of quitting. We are not enslaved, they compensate us for our sacrifice.

Everything in our lives is something we either accept or oppose. When it comes to our jobs, we accept the parameters that come with the position we are paid to hold. It’s wholly inappropriate for us to complain and begrudgingly carry out our role because none of that stuff is imposed on us. We accept it or we don’t get hired.

I couldn’t abide a lot of the limitations that came with traditional employment, there were several things about that whole system and structure that rubbed me the wrong way. So I built a few businesses outside of my job on my own time that grew profitable enough for me to quit my full-time job and still be financially stable. (You can find my retirement story here.)

Instead of complaining and settling in my undesirable situation, I got to work and changed my situation. I don’t hate traditional employment, I hate powerlessness and small thinking. There is an attitude that comes with someone else dictating our hours and income and lifestyle options that is simply unacceptable for some of us. I couldn’t swing it so I got busy.

Now I actually spend the majority of my “working hours” speaking life into people and working hard to convince them their dreams are worth pursuing, their abilities are up to the task and the world we live in is actually suitable for their hope. Don’t get me wrong, it IS work, (man there are some low-level beliefs out there in the world that people are wrestling with) but it is so rewarding when I get to see that twinkle of hope come back into their eyes and they join the fight against mediocrity and compromise and to stand for something stronger than comfort and convenience. (I’m always open to working with people who want to change their financial situation and are actually looking for a way to do it. You can email me at contact@mikemaeshiro.com with “opportunity” in the subject line if you’d like to open up that conversation.)

The question really isn’t “Should I have a job or not?” The question actually is, “What am I still alive for?” And then we go and make decisions and put work into building the answer. Whether you’re self-employed, the CEO of a major corporation or you flip hamburgers at McDonald’s, be what you were made to be and don’t let anything occupy space in your heart that tells you your destiny isn’t real or not worth it. It IS real and you must honor it or you’re already dead.

Spirit Coaching

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I was sitting on the couch in the living room messing around on my laptop when John came home. 

We chatted for a bit when I noticed the pull...like there was a black hole hidden somewhere inside of his body silently pulling on my spirit.

I ignored it thinking he was going to take off like he normally does. Also, I had been planning to go on a walk in a few minutes, opening that door would prevent me from being able to go on my walk and get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

He ended up sitting on the seat next to me and pulled out his laptop. 

We settled into doing our own, separate things for a moment when he piped up, "I had this really strong urge to play video games today."
"You did?" I asked.
"Yeah. I haven't played a video game in MONTHS and today, I suddenly wanted to play one really bad." 
"Interesting." I had a musing face. I assumed his sudden spike in desire to play video games was coming from an emotional need to feel comforted and video games used to be a way he would cope with unwanted feelings. 
"What?" He asked.
"You're thinking something."
"I'm not thinking anything." I lied, my hopes still on that evening stroll. I also realized how presumptuous my thought was, maybe he just wanted to play video games. Why do assume things so quickly about people?
"You looked like you had a thought." He asserted. 
"Well, there's probably a reason you want to play video games all of a sudden." I offered.
"Like what?"
I decided I would throw something out and see if he wanted to have a conversation or if he was just saying things. "I'll bet you used to play video games to drown out unwanted feelings of pain or fear or frustration or anger. Something probably happened today or the past couple of days that you need to work through."
"Hm. I can't think of anything that might have happened the past few days. Everything is pretty good actually. If something’s off, I'm not aware of it." 
"You're going through 1st year, things are happening. Things are changing and shifting. Your mind is using its creative powers to find a solution to the pain you're feeling. In the past, it was probably video games. So it's finding a solution to your feelings to make you feel better. You're looking for comfort."
He snickered.
"What's so funny?" I challenged. (He must be uncomfortable with the word 'comfort.' I thought to myself.)
"I don't know...it's just, the word "comfort..."
"What about it?"
"I don't know. I'm actually not sure why I'm laughing." He confessed. Getting serious again.
"Does the word 'comfort' make you uncomfortable? We all have needs and recognizing those needs is important for us to get them met in healthy ways and live to our fullest. You think needing comfort is a sign of weakness. It's not manly. Comfort is for pansies and girls and children." 
"Yeah..." he offered lamely.
"It's kind of a problem when you won't admit you need comfort when it's a function of the role of the Holy Spirit in your life. He is The Comforter and you're not okay with being comforted. I imagine it's difficult for you to receive what God is giving you because you reject the way He comes to love you."
John's face became grave. He started catching the weight of what we were talking about and how close-to-home it actually was.
He spoke up, "Yeah, I used to be open to people. But I realized that people can give some pretty crappy advice. And they're not actually listening to you, they just want to tell you what they think. So I ended up giving people advice but they didn't really have much to give."
I heard what he said but I also heard, underneath all of that, 'I don't trust people and have elevated how I see myself in delusion because I'm so much more aware of how smart I am over what other people have to offer. I have agreed with pride and arrogance to the point where I am totally blind to the gifts and anointing of others. I'm lonely. I'm tired. I'm jaded. I'm a little scared that life kinda sucks.'
"I'm gonna throw something out there for you." I replied. "You've had some difficult experiences and been in some lame relationships. You've agreed with spirits in that place to help you interpret what's happening in the world you live in and how you're going to respond. You've partnered with spirits to help you get results you want and to protect yourself. I'm not trying to make this super spiritual but I also refuse to ignore what I see influencing what's happening. Spirits bring a perceived benefit. But you have to realize, they actually delude your ability to recognize reality, the truth, for what it is. They slant your perspective." 
I went on to explain the spirit of rejection as an example. I explained how a spirit of rejection speaks to us and how it affects us and how it affects other people around us when we agree with it. I could tell he was identifying with the symptoms I laid out, it was all too familiar to him.
I continued, "The aim of these spirits is to destroy you, to steal from you, to rip you off. It sucks."
"Yeah, I've noticed with my mom, there are times where she'll say or do something and I feel all of these emotions that I'm not proud of but I can't help it. The truth is I love my mom and I want to get better at loving her. But sometimes she just drives me nuts. While you were saying all of that, a memory with my mom kept coming up in my mind." He ended up explaining a situation when he was fourteen with him and his mom. She didn't respond to his vulnerability and creativity like he had anticipated and he was devastated. 
As soon as I heard this part, I knew it was time for things to escalate, simply conversing wasn't enough anymore, it was time to address the spiritual powers at work in John’s life. That moment was coming up because it was time to address what happened.
"Hey, the good news is, we can do something about this. If you're up for it, I can pray with you and we can take care of some of this. That memory is probably coming up because God wants to do something about it. Sometimes God rewrites our past and gives us His perspective on what happened rather than what we took away from a specific memory through the lens of our pain or fear." I refrained from using the word 'sozo' so as not to elicit any undue fear or walls. 
"Okay." He agreed.
"Your life's about to change. You're welcome." I said with a smile. "You're going to be the barometer. I'm going to look to you to tell me what's going on inside. What you're thinking or feeling. You're going to think things that aren't actually you but they're going to use a voice you've assumed is yours. They don't like what's about to happen. They're probably going to try and subvert me in your mind. Thoughts like, 'this is ridiculous, none of this is real, Mike's crazy.' Just pay attention to that stuff and keep me apprised."
"Okay." He laughed nervously. I could tell he had faith in what I was saying though.

I asked God to take John back to that memory with his mom. He did. I led John through some prayer. I had him repeat things after me. "Your confession is powerful in your own life." I explained. 

We did this regarding a few things that came up. He seemed pretty heady and untouched by everything. I was a little concerned. "Maybe I missed it...maybe he's not actually ready to deal with any of this. Maybe he doesn't trust me. Maybe he isn't comfortable enough to actually feel anything." I thought. 

I persisted and kept leading him. I asked him what God was saying. 

"He said, 'The reason you're mad at your mom is because you've distanced yourself from her and you only looked at her as your enemy. You've only thought about how she hasn't measured up and didn't realize the things she was dealing with."

I was surprised by the accusation and condemnation in what he said. "That's not God." I thought. 

I put my hand on his back, "God, thank you that John has ears to hear you. Any spirit not of God, I command you to be quiet in the name of Jesus. Father, would you speak to him in the silence?" 

We went at it again. John seemed a little more hesitant this time. He had a vision of his mom as a child. She reminded him of his niece, whom he loves dearly. He explained to me how God saw his mom...he seemed to have some trouble getting out what he was saying. 

His grandma came up. He was very angry with her. We stopped praying for a bit and just talked. He explained some things about his grandma. He had so much anger and resentment towards her. He cussed multiple times at this juncture. We prayed into this. I was still not sure if we were getting anywhere. He still maintained this mechanical demeanor though the content of his thoughts and feelings was becoming more colorful. 

Then it hit. I had him speaking to his grandma, forgiving her for things. First, I specified things he would repeat after me that he was forgiving her for. Then I opened it up to him. "Grandma, I forgive you for...now you fill in the blank." I instructed.

He started to list things he was forgiving her for. Then the tears started to flow. He persisted through the pain and embarrassment, releasing his grandma of things he had held against her for years, even from his childhood. Tears and now snot. They dripped down to the end of his downturned nose. Thankfully, there was a towel near us. I grabbed it and gave it to him. 

This went on for about five minutes. He continued to suck the poison out of his heart towards his grandma, crying quite intensely. He had to stop at times because of how overcome he was. I just sat there, rubbing his back, affirming him as he went. 

"Okay, I think I'm good." He said.
"Okay, can we talk to another person?" I asked.
"I want you to forgive your mom. Can you do that or are you spent?"
"I'm spent." He said.
"Okay. There's one person I want you to forgive before we're done here."

This led into another intense time of sobbing and sweet exchange with God. The things God was telling him caused "Wow" and "Whoa" to come out of my mouth. 

I was laughing to myself as he was going through this experience. There were so many moments I would have pulled the plug on this earlier in the conversation. I was so glad that I stuck with him. I thanked God for how He had trained and equipped me for moments like this. John’s life was changing before my very eyes and I got to be part of what God was doing in his heart. What a privilege. And somehow I've become effective at stepping into people's nightmare's and anger and pointing them to the door of truth and freedom. It was very humbling to watch God pull on the gifts He has given me to lead this son to His heart. 

What a cool experience. 

When we had wrapped up, I looked at John, into his bloodshot eyes and said, "All that from wanting to play video games."

We both chuckled.

I've Been Here Before...

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“Do you have any passages of scripture you know you’re going to use that I could look up now to be prepared?” my translator asked me. The service would start in about half an hour. 

“No...I don’t know what scripture I will use yet.” I replied. 

“Okay. Do you know what you want to do for ministry at the end?” 

“I’m sorry, I don’t.” I said. 

“That’s okay.” She said, graciously. “It’s going to be tight again, the room will be packed. It might be difficult to move people around because there are so many of them. But we will do whatever you want to do.”  

Before the service began, the church had a time to fellowship and snacks. I went into the mingling room to hang out with the people, the service would start in twenty minutes. 

A woman who knew who I was came up to me and struck up a conversation. Eventually, she asked,

“Is it a secret or can you tell me what you’re going preach on tonight?” 

“It’s a secret.” I said. 

“That’s okay, I’m just curious about how you prepare to preach.” 

“Yeah, I mean, I’m ready but I’m still not clear on what I’m going to share.” I confessed. “It’s still a secret to me too.” 

“Oh!” She laughed uncomfortably. “Do you need to leave? Am I bothering you?”

“No! I’m happy to chat.”

“Okay. I could not be here if I were about to preach, I would need to be alone and be preparing.”

“Haha! Totally.”

“Well, I’m excited for what you’re going to share.” She said.

“Me too! I’m looking forward to it!” 

As I began my sermon, I told the congregation, “I’m not sure what all is about to happen.” 

They laughed. 

“If I offend you, I’m not planning on doing that. Sometimes we have our plan but God changes things. So I want you to know up front, if I sit on your lap, it’s not in my plans to do that.”

They laughed again.

“I don’t know where this is going but I’m excited to find out.” 

They cheered.

(I legitimately didn’t know what the plan was, I was just confident He had one and He was going to show up. So, in all my years of experience working with Him, I chose to do the smartest thing and hold any plans I could come up with VERY loosely. I had to do SOMETHING, but I had to be open-handed about how I went about it.)

It was over nine years ago. I had just moved back to Oregon after spending five months in Japan, following the voice of God and trying to obey what He was guiding me toward. I had encountered Bethel. I had seen God move in dramatic, obvious and very physical ways I had never seen before.  

And then I was back to normal life, like I had come out of the wardrobe and was back to life like Narnia had never taken place. 

It was a scary season for me, scary in the risk. I didn’t know what was coming, my future was unclear and I had no plan. All I had was God telling me not to stay where I was. One night, I had a dream. I walked into this old cathedral. Tall ceiling, stained-glass windows, an organ, pews...and in the pews were giant bullet shells where the people would normally be. The pews were lined with them, the church was full. 

I knew I had to touch them, I had to end their slumber. So I pushed the first one and blue light shot out of it. I walked up the aisle and continued to push the bullet shells near me, they each, as they were disturbed, shot blue light. So I ran throughout the building and touched all of the shells I could. I was pushing them harder and as they jostled the shells next to them, they would erupt in light also. 

I woke up and knew the dream was significant. I knew I had to equip the saints. I knew the bullets signified the gifts of the spirit, I knew they had to be awakened. I knew spirit had to be aroused.  

As I was preaching to the congregation, I was sharing a story about when God messed up my plans right before I got up to preach at a different church a couple of years ago. He reminded me of a dream I had six years prior. Then He revealed to me the mystery of that dream right before I got up to preach. It messed me up real good. 

“History, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” -Morpheus

I was preaching in this cathedral all weekend but it wasn’t until the last night I was there, in the middle of my sermon, as my words were being translated into Finnish, that I had the eerie realization...this was the cathedral from that dream. 

I maintained my composure, no one had any idea my life was folding on itself and my destiny was being fulfilled. 

Fifteen minutes later, I shared about what was happening. The church erupted in excitement and celebration. God was with us and He was doing something special. I’m tearing up now as I write this. Life is so much a story, it’s not even funny. He’s so thoughtful and crafty and elaborate. 

I preached on the love of God and the significance of His kids. Then I had people stand up to be prayed for. The ministry team was released to go minister to the congregation while I prayed. Then I started walking around, laying my hands on people, I was compelled. People started to shake, they were falling over. 

I got to this one woman, I put my hand on her back and she began to shake. Then she began to yell and moan as she shook harder. Something powerful was happening to her and somehow, by me touching her, it was increasing. So I commanded the fire of God to fall on her. She began to yell louder and shake even more. Then she began to scream. It was so loud and so intense that I got a little nervous. She was screaming at the top of her lungs like someone was stabbing her with a hot branding iron. But it didn’t feel bad to me. The room got quiet and the people were becoming afraid. 

I started laughing because the situation was absurd. I explained in the mic, “This is really normal.” to assure them. 

I continued laying hands on people, they continued to shake and yell. This practice wasn’t new for me but the intensity of the result was. I hadn’t seen this kind of manifestation before, especially to this degree and over this many people. The anointing was flowing, God was with me.  

Beliefs were changed, mindsets were shifted, demons were confronted. Truth was occupying hearts. Gifts were imparted, stirred up and activated. 

I’ve always believed the Church needed an awakening in the gifts of the spirit and to be taught HOW to use them. When I awoke from the bullet cathedral dream, I accepted the assignment to wake up the gifts in the Church. I didn’t know I would get to be this hands-on and in the trenches with the people, releasing the breakthrough. 

I’m humbled. I’m flabbergasted. I don’t know what I’m doing. As I continue to trust Him and rest on the fact that He comes when I speak, the fruit comes too.

Stop Listening!

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What a fascinating word. For most of my life, I had no idea that there is something beyond what our eyes can see. I knew about angels and demons but I never heard about spirits.

While spending time with Mike as my mentor in my 3rd year of Bethel School of Ministry, my awareness of the spirit world definitely expanded. It has been a fascinating journey, I’m adding a lot of different words to my vocabulary. A new world has been opened up to me since attending this school and especially whilst being under Mike’s leadership.

One of the patterns I noticed that happened and is still happening in my life is I would have thoughts in my mind that I had no understanding of what to do with them. I would run in circles around the same questions that I had no answers to, I couldn’t get out of the cycle of thoughts.

It is interesting to consider the possibility that not everything you think is coming from you. We are spiritual beings and we are gifted with the ability to understand our own spirits as well as others. To hear spirits talking to us is nothing more than agreeing with their proposals and ideas. Most of the time we don’t even hear their offerings in English (or our native tongue) because a lot of the times we have no idea it’s happening. 

I’ve noticed that I’ve paid too much attention to voices that weren’t God’s or mine. I’ve been influenced by thoughts whose only agenda was to confuse me and stop me from flourishing in life. I didn’t know any better because I had no idea that this was a reality happening around me and to me.

I found this to be a true reality because I couldn’t figure out why I thought some stuff that I didn’t actually want to think. Mike would sometimes tell me, “These are not your own thoughts.” I’ve always felt as if my mind was being abused by some weird energy I couldn’t control. I literally couldn’t wrap my head around why all of a sudden I felt drawn to think immoral thoughts despite my disgust. I believe that all of the negative manifestations of any kind start with a spiritual agreement that we made.

We listen to things that don’t help us. If we have no idea we can be influenced by other powers, the only one we can find to blame is ourselves. We believe that we are bad beings based on negative thoughts.

That is not true!

Yes, we can think negatively if we want to but I’m talking about the thoughts that are not the ones you want to think but are coming into your brain like thunderstorms and won’t let go; it’s the out-of-nowhere thoughts that are “happening to you,” that’s what their nature feels like. We feel out of control but, actually, we allowed these thoughts to come in and rule our minds. We listened to something that asks us for permission to play with our minds. The shame and guilt that comes afterward is not our own either. We don’t just say yes to the spirit's nature, we actually agree with any other possible purpose the spirit has.

All of this sounds scary…

But don’t worry! Evil doesn’t have power over us - only if we give it power.

We are more powerful than the negative influence we are under. Holy Spirit is our guide and He will help us get clarity. If you listen to Him and the truth over you, it will help you get out of the fog and see clearly. His voice feels right and true. He gives you peace and deep down in your being, you feel aligned and connected to what He has to say. It hits you in a way that won't confuse you.

You're not meant to be confused.

When you identify an evil Spirit you are already succeeding. 

The best and easiest way to not be affected by evil spirits is to recognize their nature and agenda and not listen. By disagreeing and despising the evil spirits, we don’t accept their fight for power. We ignore them and discard their existence. Intentional ignorance is protection in this scenario, because we don’t pay attention to what doesn’t deserve any.

Let us stop listening to what doesn’t deserve any voice and pay attention to the truth.

- Vera Danzeisen

Boundaries vs Control

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If someone says something you don’t like, feel free to communicate that you don’t like what they said, you don’t agree, etc., But don’t ever despise their freedom to say it.

Celebrate and exercise healthy boundaries and self-respect but the moment you try to take away the freedom of someone else’s expression, no matter how ignorant or malicious their expression is, you violate yourself. When you take freedom away from someone else because of their behavior, you limit your ability to confidently enjoy your own freedom.

Love doesn’t flee the presence of evil, nor does love punish or control the person who chooses evil.

Feel free to oppose and disagree with the person’s choice but never punish or dominate the person.

They are a child of God. They may be immature, they may be in error, they may be deceived, but they are still God’s kid.

People will read this and go to town with their “But’s” and “What if’s” but what really gets exposed in the opposition is our need for control. Many of us think “if we can find a vicious enough form of evil, we can justify our need to use evil ourselves.”

Controlling and dominating the will of another person is evil. We don’t combat violence with violence. An aggressive, violent reaction to violence only exposes our fear and ignorance of the power we already possess. If a violent man can take away what we hold most dear, we never actually possessed it to begin with.

The problem isn’t violence. The problem isn’t evil.

The problem is our shallow relationship with the spirit of love. We are weak and overly sensitive about our hurts and ignorant of just how strong love can make us.

We must not snuff out evil, we must brave the depths of love.

The Dark Side of Being a Boss

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Man, I feel like a boss and not necessarily in a good way; sometimes it makes me want to cry.

Everyone is on their own journey, at their own pace, currently operating at their own level of maturity. Everyone has their baggage, their strengths, their passion, their fears, their desires, their needs, their insecurities, their lifestyles, their habits, their dysfunctions, their partnerships with evil. It’s a really interesting dynamic to have to manage continually.

When you’re leading a group, a team, a company, or an organization, your perspective naturally elevates and you end up having to address and manage dynamics others don’t need to care about or can’t see. You practically get to a place where you don’t have time or emotional capacity to pastor and father every person in their mess, you start having to draw lines and boundaries with team members who refuse to take ownership over their own lives or to change the sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that steal from their own success.

Some days, I feel like a mega winner. So much so, I almost forget my life is real and have trouble comprehending that I get to be me. Other days, like today, I feel a pang of pain for those I’m leading whom I won’t rescue. Sometimes not rescuing people can feel heartless.

It’s one of the most painful things: allowing ourselves to be susceptible to compassion while refusing to coddle destructive patterns in people’s lives. It’s a lot easier to either just give in to enablement or shut dysfunctional people out entirely. It’s more emotionally expensive and challenging to maintain connection with compassion while choosing to let people make their own mistakes and experience the consequences of their choices; but love tends to sit there.

Love tends to refuse to look away from carnage while also refusing to violate the choice of another. Often, we like to impose our will on our loved ones to prevent the pain in ourselves of seeing them struggle...but this is actually selfish. We don’t impose to help, we impose to protect ourselves from compassion. We’re not heartless, we’re cowards. It’s selfish to numb or avoid the pain and also sabotage to one struggling from a real solution, should they ever end up wanting it.

So at the end of this day, I don’t agree with defeat. I don’t agree with the idea that I’m a terrible person, that I’m a tyrant, that I’m heartless for not rescuing people. I agree that being in the midst of pain and brokenness can suck and it’s okay. Somewhere along the way, I forgot their wholeness isn’t my responsibility so I’ll crawl back into my Dad’s lap and let Him remind me of what’s real and whose job it is to hold the world. I’ll wake up tomorrow still holding love’s hand. I’ll greet the broken ones and remember what it’s like to be a kid, a responsible, productive, authoritative kid.

Offended People

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One of the hardest things I get to deal with in my line of work is offended people.

The person in pain, who is offended and scared and angry, is actually in the lower seat; they are the one with the disadvantage. They are less in control of themselves than I am of me. If I get angry at them and “put them in their place,” call them to an accountability they don’t know how to manage, I end up adding to their pain and tightening their connection to the spirit of offense. This has been one of the most painful surrenders I’ve been privileged to give to love. When someone comes at you with a knife, it’s easy to want to pull your sword out.

But the King, the One who cannot be wrong and cannot be evil, doesn’t touch His sword. To their offense and aggression, He offers gentleness and humility.

If we can get past the temptation of pride and offense, we can hear the song in their scream. We can see the child in their eyes, we can feel the pain in their heart. How can we know them like this? Because they are us. Their pain is our own, it’s easier to reject them than to feel it.

Love is unconcerned with deficit, He’s unafraid of running out of Himself. He is endless in His supply but even if He wasn’t, by His very nature, He would still spill all of His blood to spare them. If I attack while He surrenders, I attack myself. If harm them while He bows, I harm myself.

Offense is evil but offended people are not, they are sick and the sick need a doctor, not a judge.

It’s when we have the power to discern between good and evil, the power to be correct, and we choose mercy that we have allowed love to be our sword.