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The Things They Never Tell You About, Part 1
By Maria M. Bowe
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Maria M. Bowe
All rights reserved.
An open door in your life is when we sin or do things that are displeasing to God knowingly or not knowingly that allows the enemy to come into our lives and cause havoc. In the Bible we see this happening in Genesis 4:7, when God speaks to Cain and says to him, "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
This means that the enemy wants us to open one door in our life so he can come in. I always use an example when I am trying to explain this to people by sharing that when you allow someone to come and stay at your house as a house guest for a few days, sometimes that person has other people, perhaps their family member or friends, coming to check on them or spend time with them. Many times, before you know it, more people are in your house than you bargained for. Sometimes your house guest is not able to leave within the time limit you had allocated for them and, before you know it, things are out of control and you don't know how it happened.
This is how Satan works, when he is allowed into our lives because of an open door; one thing leads to the next.
Cain opened the door to jealousy and instead of repentance; he allowed jealousy to lead to murder. This is how the enemy works. We must be careful of the doors that we open in our lives.
Therefore, you may be religious, but if you are not truly saved and living a life of obedience to God, you have an open door. The Bible says in Leviticus 11:44, "I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground."
Someone might say, "I cannot be holy like God; I am not God; therefore, I cannot be perfect as God who is perfect." Understand this, when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He comes inside of us and, as we learn the Word of God and submit to His will, He begins to perfect us. It's not our will anymore, but we must allow His will to reign in our lives. God is perfect, which means Jesus in us is working through the Holy Spirit, for His Spirit is perfect; therefore, as we let go of our desires, our wants, our needs or our will, then we must submit to His will in us. Through this process we begin to experience what John speaks about in John 3:30 (NIV), where it says "He must become greater; I must become less." The holiness of Jesus will be established in our lives, so really, while we in ourselves cannot be holy, through His Word, through intimacy with Him, and through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, convicting us as He directs us, and as we allow our will to break, we become more and more like Him. Bad habits fall away, sinful habits fall away, and God through Jesus perfects us daily as we become more like Him.
You may ask me, "Are you saying we will never make mistakes?" No, of course not! Am I saying we will never have temptations? No, not at all; Jesus was tempted. What I am saying is that Jesus inside of us wants us to submit to Him our bodies which are His temple. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV): "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." In fact, verse 20 goes on to say, "You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
We are told then that the Spirit of God lives in us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior; therefore, as we let go and daily submit to Him, He cleans our temple which is our bodies. The reason that we fall is when we allow our carnal nature to take over. We must not stay in that place but repent. To repent means to turn. This means that when we repent of our sins we must turn from what we were doing and allow the Holy Spirit, as we submit to Him, to enable us with His power to turn and lead us in the right direction.
Back to my testimony, as I was saying, before I had an open door in my life, I was religious; I thought I had a relationship with God, do not get me wrong, I had a few spiritual encounters through seeking God, like many of us had, but still not one of complete submission to His will. My husband was a church-goer, but at the time he had still not accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit had begun to draw me more and more close to Him, but I had still not totally surrendered. Furthermore, I felt that I was not stealing, killing, or doing anything that was really seriously bad; I felt I was kind to people, was trying to help those in need, and was in "my book" a good person. How many of us think we are pretty good people? A little white lie, no big deal; a little broken promise, small things; listening to a little gossip at work was normal. My friend, that's an open-door; all sin is equal.
In my upbringing there were different types of sin: the heavy sins were the mortal sins and the light sins were called venial sins. My dear friend, sin is sin, and the continuous practice of any sin without repentance is an open door to the enemy.
My husband was a good person but he had not accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I had kept telling him as the Holy Spirit convicted me that he should accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and he kept putting it off. The reason for this, although I did not realize it at the time, was because I myself was religious and lukewarm. The Bible says in Revelation 3:16 (NIV), "So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot or cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
I was in a lukewarm state, and because of this, a door in my life was opened which gave the enemy access to me. It had been a little over five years that we had been married, our daughter was four years old, and our son had just been born. I was still on maternity leave from work and he was about two weeks old. My husband had gone to work and my daughter to pre-school. As I lay on the bed with my young baby boy, my life was about to be changed forever. It was at this time that I would usually enjoy my morning nap.
While lying there with my bedroom door open facing the hallway I saw three black images appearing to look bird-like, literally coming through the house wall, which means they were spiritual. As they came through the wall facing the hallway, I was unable to move. It was as if the atmosphere had changed and, for a few seconds perhaps that felt like minutes, I was held hostage. I knew in my mind something was terribly wrong, and I tried to make a sound but I was unable to do so. I tried to move and was unable to move. I tried to call on the name of Jesus and could not even move my mouth or any other part of my body.
The bird-like images headed directly toward my son and I. They stopped over our heads in the bed; I was unable to do anything physically. Therefore I began to call on the name of Jesus in my mind over and over again. After a while they left. I thought that because I called on the name of Jesus in my mind, I was able to run them away. I laid there startled, exhausted, and very confused by the whole experience, trying to comprehend what had just happened but coming up with no answers. Somehow I was thinking in my mind that whatever had just happened must have gone away when I called on the name of Jesus in my mind.
Little did I know I was about to experience from this day on for over seven years what would bring drastic change in my life that would transform my family and myself and our destiny forever. I had entered a different level of warfare that I had not even known. See what the Bible means when it speaks about God's people perishing because of lack of knowledge?
How many times have things started going haywire in your life and you thought it was by chance? Mainly it was because you viewed it from a carnal mindset and tried to solve it from a physical approach. When I say "from a carnal mindset," I should explain the word carnal. "Carnal" is anything related to the fleshly or worldly appetites and desires rather than to the Godly and spiritual desires. The basic human nature is carnal. Therefore, when we view a situation or circumstance from a carnal point of view, we are viewing it from how we feel or what we see in a natural sense and not from a spiritual point of view.
The very next day after the bird experience, I woke up as usual to take a bath; however, to my surprise, I was in severe pain. My back was in pain, unbearable pain like I had never felt before. The pain seemed to get worse by the minute. It lasted for a while. I had to stay in bed most of the morning. I thought the reason for the pain had to do with the fact that I had not too long ago given birth. I did not pray about it nor seek God about it because I was sure I knew what the problem was. This must have been the after-effects of child birth. However, as the day progressed, the pain came back and became more intense. It would eventually leave but would always return; after weeks and soon months, I noticed that the condition was getting worse; the back pains were no longer back pains only. Pain would show up in different areas of my body and sometime would be all through my body at the same time. I went to a gynecologist, still convinced that this had to do with the child birth. However, he could not find anything wrong after doing a series of tests. I was praying for God to heal me, but I felt this was just a phase that I was going through.
However, as the months went by, things got more and more out of control. I started having really bad chest pains that over-took the back pains and other aches in my body that were unexplainable. Therefore, I went to a cardiologist. I went through a series of testing which included a stress test, blood test and much more only to find out that my condition was not really clear; I was told I had a heart murmur and a condition called mitro-valve prolapse. Basically, this meant that because of the way the heart valve was devolved or positioned the blood was not pumping properly. The strange thing was I always would have had that condition and only a few of my symptoms were added with the diagnosis. I was placed on medications, which did not solve my problems but only added side effects, hence making my condition worse. No matter what I tried or the doctors tried, nothing really worked, and I decided to stop taking the medications. Over a year had passed, and I had begun to become very frustrated. The many doctor visits were costly, and although we had insurance, it only covered so much because we would keep going for second opinions and would find ourselves with deductibles to pay. Then there were times we would just pay for the bills out of our pocket. We were still focusing on dealing with our problems from a physical approach a lot more than a spiritual one, although we would fast and pray.CHAPTER 2
A religious person is very concerned about church doctrines, religious activities and traditions. It usually consists of the spirit of pride. It does not concern itself much with a relationship with God.
Do you remember the Pharisees? In Matthew 5:21-48, Jesus rejected the traditions of the Pharisees and their practices. In fact Jesus said six times that it was said "You have heard that it was said.... But I tell you." We see this in Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, and 43-44. We can see clearly when we read these texts that the Pharisees and teachers of the Law were not teaching what God had purposed the Law to be. This was very much highlighted when Jesus said in Matthew 5:20 (NIV) that "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
God is looking for a relationship with us. We can get so caught up in work and activities that we do not develop the relationship. Do not get me wrong; doing the work of God is good. However, the work alone is not enough; it is just a part of what He wants from us. Do you know the story Jesus told in Luke 10:38-42 about Mary and Martha? The Bible says:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha, opened her home to him. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Wow! Can you imagine how Martha must have felt? After all, we are told that she had welcomed Jesus into her home; she was also preparing for him. However, He said Mary was doing the better thing. Yes, it is important doing the work of God; it's good to understand our beliefs and be excited about the work we do in our local church, and we can know the doctrines of our faith and traditions. However, you should always find time to spend in His presence, and nothing should take the place of that precious time of intimacy between you and your Lord Jesus. Sometimes, the prestige of positions can cause you to focus on the work more than the one the work is for!
I had become so religious; I prayed religious prayers that I learned in church; I was a very faithful and committed member of my local church as I explained earlier. Like Martha, I felt my work was very important to God, and I felt this qualified as having a relationship with God. However, I was under attack and did not even know I had an open door in my life that gave the enemy access to my life. The enemy had entered and I did not even know it.
Everything that we experience whether it's a good experience or a bad one, it has happened in the spirit realm already. Nothing just happens by chance as much as people may want us to believe. Many of the bad things that have happened in our lives are not by chance either. God is testing us like Job, or a door was left opened; if we did not open it, perhaps it's coming through our lineage. Satan knows all the loopholes.
Remember we are in a continuous battle. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 (NIV), "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm."
There is a purpose for which you were placed on this earth; there is destiny inside of you, and God has predestinated you for a purpose. The enemy's desire is to keep us in darkness. My lack of not having a true relationship with God almost cost me my life! I pray that if you have not done so as yet, that you commit yourself to seek God more and desire to get closer to Him and learn more about Him.
Sometimes, we figure that because we attend church, maybe sing in the choir, or participate in many activities, we are okay. A title or a position may cause us to feel like we are in a relationship with God; even a gift may cause us to be deceived. We may even justify our action of not being in a relationship with God as we should by saying that no one is perfect. People of God, it's time for the children of God to draw closer to Him. Many times our church would go out evangelizing and I would continually hear comments like, "I am not saved, but God understands"; or "I have not given my life to the Lord, but He knows my weakness"; many people make excuses for not growing and developing in the things of God. Sometimes they even give comments like, "I go to church every Sunday"; they would share how they are on the usher board, or how they sing in the choir, but as you begin to separate religion from relationship, you realize that their church affiliation is what stands out to many people more.
When we ask questions about studying and reading the Word of God, the usual reply would be, "Not as I should." My brother or sister, Bible study in your local church is very important; but personal Bible study is also important because once or twice a week is not enough. You and I are made up of three parts, spirit, soul, and body. The body or our physical flesh part of us needs food to survive; if you do not eat any food or if you only eat twice a week for a very long time other than the times you might have consecrated unto God as a fast, you will become malnourished, and your body will not have what it needs to fight off diseases and illnesses that the immune system naturally fights off daily. Well, the same goes for the spiritual side of us. If we do not feed our spiritual part with what it needs from the Creator to sustain us, then we will not have what it takes to overcome the enemy when he comes in like a flood.
As you develop a true relationship with God, it gives you the desire to seek Him more and more. If you are old enough, do you remember your first date with someone you really liked or when you were first getting to know them? You did everything to please them and to make them happy; you went out of your way to find out their likes and dislikes. You made it your priority to do what pleased them, and you wanted to spend every waking moment with them. If we can do this for flesh, then why do we want to offer our Creator so much less, who desires for us to be close to Him? We must make the time to spend in His Word and in His presence.
Excerpted from Warfare by Maria M. Bowe. Copyright © 2014 Maria M. Bowe. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
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