Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Part 26: Jezebel vs Sarah - Shoe Leather, a Hard Road and Rich Reward

Before I begin this post's very serious subject matter I'll open with what appears as a bit of humor from popular entertainer Tina Fey. On the Borders.com site, the new book's blurb reads in part:

"On her way to becoming an award-winning superstar, Tina Fey struggled through some questionable haircuts, some after-school jobs, the rise of nachos as a cultural phenomenon, a normal childhood, a happy marriage and joyful motherhood. Now she can reflect on what she's learned: you're no one until someone calls you bossy."

Right. "You're no one until someone calls you bossy." What passes for humor these days is going to end in a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the last few posts, personal accountability has really been brought to the fore. It's very apparent to me that it's not enough to simply warn you of judgment. It's appointed for examples to be brought forth for learning and encouragement because of the nature of this present trial, where Jezebel and Sarah compare so closely that few discern the difference or perceive what response is truly required when Jezebel's agent is recognized. I'll share some personal testimony in this post because there is no ivory tower isolation or hiding behind the firewall of Internet anonymity here. I'm not preaching on account of my own righteousness, as I already testified, but so that I, with you, might become righteous and be found worthy of the Lord.

There will be more "doctrinal teaching" posts forthcoming in this series, Lord willing, but every step of the way on this walk must be done with shoe leather. We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The fear of the Lord is an essential hallmark of Sarah's character. This in particular is feigned and yet at times openly mocked by those operating in the spirit of Jezebel.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Psalm 111:10

"They that do his commandments" - It's required of me and it's required of you.

This testimony involves what happened some months ago with a circle of friends I counted very dear, largely women, married, single, divorced or widowed. There was no romance involved (except between the married couple :) ) but it's fair to say we were all pretty sweet on each other as saints can tend to be. Included among them is my favorite cousin Bill Bishop. He and I had come to be very close over the past few years. We had been blessed to meet up a few times in Florida together for fellowship with Karen McDaniel and Robin Wade. Bill married Karen and we were all pretty thrilled about the new family situation.

Now, you're probably accustomed to hearing "the names have been changed to protect the innocent" but you have to know this is not entertainment media or a documentary. You know who I am. There's no shielding or protecting called for. There is no protecting the innocent because we're all sinners here. If you're not, you're in the wrong place. Hypocrites in denial, please move on. I'm not going to make a soap opera out of this and it's not about airing dirty laundry but there is some necessary exposure. Also, I love these folks. I expect to share in their reward, and yours. If we get this love thing right, shouldn't we pray for and fight for each other? I am convinced this pleases the Lord. Please engage, Lord willing, won't you?

Sometimes in the course of activity on the blog and The Open Scroll web site I'm contacted by women who really need a mature sister in Christ as a friend and mentor. The Lord directed me to introduce one gal to Karen and Robin in that regard and that worked out very well for all of us. There were others I later introduced, with some fruit. I met an older widow named Gwen Balash at one point and we became friends with very active correspondence. She didn't appear to require female mentoring so I didn't introduce her to Karen and Robin until later. Robin and Karen have a very close friend named Kelly Herman and Kelly and I had exchanged emails a few times, even talking on the phone at one point. You're getting the picture that there was this a developing network of friends, right?

So, at one point I meet another older widow named Marla Sternburg, who calls herself Ahava bas Levi, alias Jasmine.Levi, alias marystarcastle. She really seemed to be dynamite - very spiritually deep and pretty aggressive in pursuit of what she perceived as her ministry of confronting UN folks and issues. She told me she craved visitors and that no one visited her. I offered to put an announcement on my blog asking if anyone in the Boston area would like to visit a widow. I did, and three people responded, a man and two women. The women lived a bit distant and as it turned out never did visit. The man was a brother I had been corresponding with for a little while, Art, aka Ultraguy of the New Wineskins blog. He did follow through and visit her. I hadn't given much of an introduction figuring the Lord is overseeing everything and I would just keep my eyes open and see how this whole thing played out. And so it did. Their visit became something of a trigger. I introduced Marla to my circle of friends and finally Gwen too.

Now, I had been learning about propriety in the assembly and had been growing in obedience for several years. I had attained a level of obedience and commensurate ability to perceive, or, light by which to discern. Let's say I was 60 watt bulb-ish. Or, maybe, 40. Not that bright. The good news is that the Lord loved me too much to just leave me there. The time had come for another challenge.

It's not my way to just go around stirring up trouble. Well, not without some notable prompting, anyhow. Trouble had arrived and it was being stirred. The interaction I was having with Marla was revealing. Some of the others also observed that something was rather disturbing about this widow. Without any suggestion of this perception to Art, about a week after he had met with her he sent me an email. Neither of us had any ulterior motives, no agenda beyond being obedient to the Lord's direction to visit widows, a simple duty and blessing. He had perceived that all was not quite right. I'm not going to go on at length. You can ask Art yourself if the Lord directs. As you may have guessed, the nature of the problem was, in a word, Jezebel.

Now you can call me whatever names you want for picking on a poor defenseless widow, but I'll tell you, if you do you've been taken in by the same bit I got taken in by, pity. Confidence games are played on people who are motivated by their natural compassion instead of by the spirit of the Lord and the genuine love of God. I was taken in for a little while, but I learned a lesson. The devil can take your head off with an innocent looking child or an innocent looking grandma or a giant named Goliath. The point is that he still takes your head off. I confronted Marla with her behavior, then her denial and failure to repent came in view of the whole gallery of onlookers, my network of friends. It was harsh and hard, but I'm convinced it was fitting. If that action was about me and my flesh, I'll pay for it because there's no justifying myself, but I'm convinced it was done without malice at the Lord's direction.

What happened shook up the network a bit. To keep the story short, Gwen appeared next on the agenda. What the Lord revealed to me about Marla largely applied to Gwen. From some perspectives there were vast differences between them, especially in how Marla was coarse where Gwen was smooth in manner. However in other ways, they were a match. The relationship with Marla was relatively brief, but Gwen and I had exchanged lots of emails over the course of more than a year. The confrontation with Marla was according to her character, rather abrupt and coarse. The confrontation with Gwen was in manner very, very soft and rather drawn out.

There was another difference in this instance that pertained to the network. Karen and Bill recognized the problem like Art had about Marla. When I confronted Marla, they weren't initially opposed to it, or at least didn't express it to me. Gwen rather cheered it as it happened. Make note of that, which may seem not to make sense, but it's part of the pattern of how these things work. It's cover, or at least, intended to be. When I spoke with Karen and Bill about what the Lord was showing me about Gwen, Karen really balked. She and Gwen had become close and she was definitely not on board with my witness.

If I had known already what lessons I was about to learn things would have been different, but I was on an educational venture and I needed to walk out in obedience. The Lord was offering to expose the nature of my relationships if I was willing. With patience and confidence in the Lord's firm guidance I turned on the light and pointed it in Gwen's direction.

I don't want to get bogged down with too much detail but I feel some of it needs to be told here. What turning on the light and pointing it in Gwen's direction really looked like was my directing a question to Gwen and requiring a response.

Now, this may seem like a silly exercise, but if you've watched the videos I refer to frequently or read some of the books and articles that reveal the characteristic features and behaviors of Jezebel and spirits of control you'll learn that when you question Jezebel she will refuse to answer. She can't. For an explanation of why it's because the one who asks is in a position of power. The person who responds to the question with a direct answer humbles themselves, submitting to the one posing the question which is to accept the weaker position. If you scoff about this, you have a lot to learn. When you interact according to the directed will of Jezebel, according to the typical flurry of activity, shuckin' and jivin' and bobbin' and weavin' and duckin' and continually changing up the direction of the high drama, what's happening is that you're being managed, manipulated, you're kept off balance and she will exercise control over the flow of information. This exercise of control is absolutely essential to her power base. The kind of question Jezebel will not respond to is one that challenges her routine control over the flow of information dynamic. That challenge will be recognized and met with a refusal to yield. She will not yield to save her life. Make note that this particular dynamic may not be in play with everyone at all times, but it is one of a collection of rather classic manifestations.

This is the simple approach the Lord led me to take with Gwen in order to manifest the spirit to me in a obvious and conclusive revelation. It was tedious but it worked. I dutifully shined the light, pursuing an answer to my question by email, then at that the end of that failed effort, I made the phone call that ended when she hung up on me. At last, closure. I had been clinging to hope that the outcome would be different and I was hugely disappointed when what I had come to know was revealed openly. The question in such a test, whether easy or hard, doesn't really matter because it's not about the subject of the question. It's about submitting to the authority of the one who asks by answering, who, by the fact of persisting in asking, is not compliant with Jezebel's demand for control. The spell is revealed as broken and anyone who is not under the spell is a significant threat to her exposure and continued activity in that domain.

Of course, this is not yet the end of the story. After Gwen hung up on me I called Karen and shared what had happened. What I didn't really expect was that the Lord would cause the spirit of Jezebel to manifest to me again in a different way but just as obviously as during the call with Gwen. If I had not been surprised, I probably would not have told Karen she was acting as a eunuch of Jezebel. As you might imagine, it wasn't received particularly well. Later, when Bill got home from work the three of us spoke. I shared my testimony about the test again and Karen strongly resisted. Bill and I over the years had logged many hours of discussion about such things, and he was following along with acceptance. That was the last time I consider he was "with me." It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what happened after we got off the phone.

The Lord has brought me to challenge relationships in my life a number of times. He certainly did that with my former marriage relationship and he did it again with my circle of friends that includes family. This is not an easy thing, but as you should be learning, if you are willing you will be rewarded. If you are not willing and not willing to be made willing, you will suffer in judgment. I really want you to hear me when I tell you that a prompt to challenge your relationships is an invitation to rise up, an offer to be drawn near to the Light. There, inspection under a brighter Light affords the benefit of greater discernment. That translates to less deception, less delusion which is our deadly enemy. Like I wrote before, obedience is the hinge upon which discernment swings. When the Lord extends a challenge and invitation to rise up, recognize it as a command to be obeyed. Such an prompt and invitation is really no more optional than any other command, is it? Certainly, you are free to decline it. Please, please, please don't.

You should know I had a personal need to rise up, to become more holy. What seemed to prompt me around that same time was how I had become aware of a persisting inclination for self-promotion. This is a pride thing that is very much part of the Jezebel spirit dynamic. It had to go. The devil uses that to do his work. It's like a handle he uses to get hold of someone. Jezebel uses flattery to manipulate and capture any who may have such pride in their soul. Certainly, there are folks who are genuine in their complements, but, sadly, most are using it with supernatural skill as bait on a barbed hook.

Around this same time there were other contacts and relationships in my life. It was mere weeks before the confrontation with Marla and subsequent fallout with Gwen, Karen and Bill took place that the Trib-Now interaction and conflict had begun, with John Seitzinger and his band of associates. When Tamra Jackson cast her bait in John's direction he took it and ran with it (see previous posts). So much of what was going on in that season was familiar to me, yet so much was new, especially aspects of the dynamic of how a collection of Jezebel agents and eunuchs work together and independently. What I was observing between Gwen and Marla and Karen and Gwen I was seeing also with Tamra and John and John and Ken, Loren and Martin. I was getting quite an education.

I was very blessed at that time with a few friends in particular, chief among them Aaron Hermann. He had been associated with Trib-Now but was not really one with them, not really a "member in good standing." Aaron was getting an education, privy to most everything that was going on. The Lord had revealed to him some of what had been going on in his relationships with the Trib-Now collective but the more troubling bits had not yet been identified specifically as Jezebel. That's a big step. As it began to unfold to him, Aaron and I enjoyed very open communications about all of what was going on. He has basically been at my side through all this.

The story of my friendly network's exposure continues. Months passed from November's heavy activity without much interaction. I had begun to blog this series on Jezebel vs Sarah, first post dated November 19. Another theater of engagement in this war had opened, you might say. In the heavenly realm, truth is both a mighty offensive weapon and a secure defense. In February 2011, the Lord signaled it was time to proceed. A further round of engagement with my friendly network began.

I noted in the blogging how I needed to make some apologies, having been convicted of error. I had learned where my former 40 or 60 watt bulb's light of discernment failed to reveal what I was now seeing in a much brighter light. My walking step by step in obedience had kept me in the Luke 8:18 "Whoever has will be given more" grace upon grace category and in this particular matter the hear-obey cycle had now swung back to "obey." I was willing.

I contacted Bill, Karen and Robin with the requisite apologies. This wasn't one email with carbon copy distribution, it was three personal individual emails. A common element related to Karen's web site, Nethernuggets.com. She has been teaching men and speaking in church for a long time. I just can't tell you how I was blind to permitting that but I was. I even designed her site and taught her how to be her own webmaster. Have I ever shared my primary area of personal expertise with you lately? I'm an expert sinner. Anyhow, with much mercy and grace and under something more akin to a 100 watt bulb I perceived the error and repented. I couldn't undo what I had done but I had a responsibility to accept. Repentance sometimes requires action. It started with making a sincere apology. I did that.

Receiving apologies from people for doing what seems fine always seems pretty strange, and presenting them knowing they'll be received that way is also pretty strange. I have to think they each took the apologies with one eye cocked in a puzzled look. Of course I followed each of these up (with some delay but not much) with personal and direct corrective rebuke, because in no case was conviction brought with repentance. An email was sent to Kelly Herman at that time too, who had her own issues that required a corrective response. The tale of each one of these engagements could be a spin-off episode of the saga, but that's not going to happen, at least not at this point in time.

So, here's the wrap-up, or at least a current status from my perspective. Each rejected my words, professing their self-righteousness and justifying their behavior. There was even an accusing jab in retaliation, some of very subtle nature and some not so much. Each retreated in what became recognizable as a similar pattern. Marla, Gwen, Karen, Bill, Kelly, Robin. I really miss what I thought we had. What I seemed to have lost was really only traded, though, because the Lord has provided a genuine friend in Aaron and many others too along the way! I won't name everyone here but the Lord knows and I am so grateful!

If I merely talk and don't lead by example, I'm not worth following. I mentioned in recent posts how I would be exposing my friends and enemies, friendly and otherwise - and so I have.

As I have been doing, I continue to challenge my relationships at the Lord's direction. So far as I can tell, I'm still willing. Lord help me continue! I'm still rejoicing about the trades involved!

29) Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake,
30) but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
Mark 10:29-30

He is faithful Who has promised! This is my word of encouragement to you, dear saint! Yet, along-side this there is a word of caution too, actually, two words. If you are not fully confident in each step and truly acting at the Lord's direction, you will regret it. If you are being led by the Lord and fail to walk out on it, you will regret it. Right, there's no fence-riding when the Lord invites you to engage.

To become free it will require more of you than a simple act, but the series of actions required begins with a decision. Have you come to that yet? When you begin to act in obedience to the Lord's direction, you'll notice immediate change, walking out your repentance and entering into freedom and blessing beyond what you had known.

I would still very much like to win each of those it seems I've lost. Pray with me that the Lord will bring redemption for each and every one, won't you?

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