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Welcome to Lessons ‘n Blessings! This is truly my first blog post on this platform, and I am so excited to finally start sharing the journey through life’s lessons and blessings from God. There is so much to share, so much to experience, and I invite you to embark on this adventure with me!

XOxo ♥,

Dionne Renae

welcome to the summer

Murder Amongst Friends

Proverbs 11:9 (ASV) With his mouth the godless man destroyeth his neighbor; But through knowledge shall the righteous be delivered.

I just have to confess this: I have been a witness to murder and murder has been committed against my name…Truth is most of us witness and participate in activities that lead to murder daily when we indulge in gossip and back-biting. Many relationships in my personal and professional life have been destroyed because of gossip that I participated in or I was the subject of. Ministry and career opportunities have also been impacted by the same. So instead of only sharing with you how evil it is and why some people are addicted to participate in it, I will just share some of the ways that I personally have seen gossip destroy relationships in my life.

Strong Opinions

When I was much younger I was very passive in conversations. I would try to get a moment to express my point of view in a conversation, but would get overlooked, or by the time I had a turn to speak the topic had changed. Frustrated with not being an active participant in conversations, this made me more determined to be heard and my passivity cloaked as politeness was challenged. I became a lot more outspoken, and often shared my opinions whether people were asking for it or not. I felt like I understood how to explain things and did not realize that regular conversation is not the place for that for some people. (Instead I just use my blog to explain things now, ha! ) What I really did not understand is that sometimes an opinion stated, especially about a person who is not present in the conversation, is premium fuel for gossip. I had a coworker that I was cool with at the time ask me what I thought about some of our other co-workers at the time. Please note: This should have been a conversation that I avoided, but of course I started giving my 1st impressions of people that I really did not know very well. This was a BAD move because most of what I said was either carried back to my other co-workers by the person who asked me, or was overheard during the actual conversation by other co-workers. Regardless to say, a lot of strife and confusion began to brew between me and my former co-workers. The sad part is that for the longest time I did not know why many of my former co-workers did not like me. I thought that I was being targeted and just had a spirit of rejection on me (which may have been possible), but in hindsight it probably started with indulging in a conversation that did not need to happen. For some of you reading this, it is obvious not to have candid conversations about other people whether you know them well or not, however in Modern Western culture minding other people’s business is a multi-million dollar industry. It used to just be tabloids books in the supermarkets, and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on TV, now gossip and gripe culture is everywhere. 

Everyone has an opinion – not everyone needs to share theirs. By the time I learned this truth many of the relationships that were previously thriving had all begun to dissolve. For some of you reading this, it is obvious that we shouldn’t talk about other people in an opinionated way, whether we know them well or not. However, humans like to express what they think or how they feel about other humans, this will probably never change. The harm comes in when an opinion or statement about a person gets communicated by person(s) other than the original speaker and it gets back to the person who is being discussed. So many people think that they can just slander, character assassinate, and gossip about people and no one will ever tie them to those words, and unfortunately the gossiper is usually protected as an “unnamed source” by the time everything “hits the fan”.

Another strong opinion example from my life was when I stated an opinion about a person in my former circle of friends, I was unapproving behind her back but then would try to hang out with her without the other friends because she (and her group of friends) seemed like a change of pace. I was conflicted at the time that I did this, because I really did express truthfully how I felt about her at the time, but at the same time felt like I was not fair and wanted to actually get to know her better, which is why I wanted to hang out with her and her friends. In the end, I believe that my words, my original opinion about her that I said to other people got back to her. It’s so obvious now, but I truly did not understand at the time why she was standoffish towards me and by the time that I realized it, I had to accept that she was not going to be my friend. I could have apologized to her, but at the time I thought that we were just not compatible as friends. I also did not understand why the people that I thought were my friends did not “call me out” on how I was acting more directly. There was actually one person who brought it to my attention and while I probably tried to justify it then, I am actually appreciative that she said something although it did not cause me to immediately change, I did have that experience to reflect on later and it did help me to stop doing that. No one wants to be called fake or two faced, those are fighting words for most people, however if you talk about people behind their back and hide your true feelings that is the conclusion that people will come to about you if you continue in that manner. As I have found out it only takes one loud person and a bunch of people who listen and repeat to destroy a person’s reputation. One would argue that only the person whose reputation is damaged is to blame. While I can follow that reasoning, it should be acknowledged that there are cruel and angry people that delight in “cutting someone down to size”, there are people that love to see a person who is trying to be positive in their life to fall and be disgraced. Also there are people that just mindlessly repeat what they hear without verifying if it is true or holds true today. What type of person are you? I was not necessarily doing a lot of repeating gossip, but as I stated before I did like to share my opinion on what I thought about people which is a sure way to start a gossip chain. I have since repented and if given the opportunity will make restitution with all parties involved.

Accusation

Accusation in Modern Western culture is not something that should be overlooked although it often is. People only seem to care about accusation when it involves some type of scandal that a highly visible and powerful person like a politician, celebrity, or religious leader is involved in. Just the hint of a scandal can cause the target of the accusation to lose support, fans, business deals, sponsorships, honor/awards, and the list goes on. It is no wonder why accusation is the main weapon behind cancel culture. Since I am writing this based on my own personal experience, and not from the perspective of a politician or celebrity, that is the context that I ask you to keep what I am sharing in. Often the term “accusation” is associated with “false accusation” and while both can be very destructive they are not the same. For example I have been accused of having unpleasant character traits based on events that have actually happened, but were interpreted from a negative perspective. On the other hand, I have been falsely accused of doing, saying, or having motivations for events and situations that never happened and that I would not ever participate in under any circumstances. The tricky part is when an accusation is based on true events only the narrative that the accusation was based on is considered fact. No one cares to find out the whole story. In an investigation, if someone came forth with evidence that seems to match a theory on how a crime happened is the case closed? No, it is the investigators’ job to exhaust all possibilities and examine all evidence before coming to a conclusion. In cancel culture, all someone has to do is accuse and possibly present some type of evidence and the verdict is given (through publicizing the accusation and stirring up a “media buzz”) before there is even a trial. When it comes to false accusation, the accuser does not even need to present real evidence, just add fear or suspicion into the narrative, then try to get the target to admit guilt via entrapment, or get false witnesses to verify the false accusation. This tactic is as old as time, in fact it was used by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel from the Bible so that King Ahab could steal a field from a person who did not want to sell it to him (1 Kings 21:1-16). To me, this is the strategy behind cancel culture. If a person offends you, make them pay a much greater price than the original offense. I do not mean to insinuate that there are not situations where people must face punishment if they have committed a crime, I am just stating that for “regular people” cancel culture is rooted in pettiness. If someone is offended at you or does not like you for whatever reason, that person may feel empowered to “dig up dirt” on you and “expose” it to the world. There are even Christian ministers that support this evil framework. There are scriptures about GOD bringing things to light, but I do not recall ever reading anything that says that we should be the ones to publicly shame or air someone’s “dirty laundry” to the world. I honestly do not see how God would get the glory from any of that. You never see Jesus doing it, and He had plenty of opportunities to do so. 

Spying and Monitoring

There are people watching and listening to everything that you do and say, not always to glean from your experience, but in some cases to build a testimony against you. The people doing this are being used by demonic agents, and probably do not realize it, however they seem inexplicably drawn to care about the things that are going on in your life, although you are not doing anything particularly exciting or poignant. When I was growing in my personal relationship with God in my mid-twenties, I had an experience that really helped me to learn about discretion, even though I learned probably the most difficult and painful way. One day, when I was at work, I had this sensation like a spotlight was on me. It was unsettling, like all of these people that I work with, some whom I rarely had any interaction with, were paying close attention to EVERYTHING that I did. I discerned that it had a lot to do with my profession of my faith in the workplace. I asked people that I thought to be further along in the ministry about this, but did not really get an answer to what it meant. It is difficult to this day to say whether this was a sign from God to be careful of what I say and do around the people that I was working with, or if it was coming from an evil spiritual source to highlight my flaws and shortcomings as a Christian. I tend to go with the latter, because if it was from God, I believe that He would have given more clarity and strategies to overcome in that situation. And it caused a level of anxiety in me that I had not experienced before concerning how people viewed me – fear of man. At any rate, if you have a high level of discernment and prophetic gifts, there are many people who are involved in dark arts that will not like this. Christians are not the only ones who address spiritual matters, a lot of people that tap into “New Age” practices can sometimes see or sense “auras” (spiritual energy) around people and when you are growing, it could be possible that they notice the change before you do. I am not saying this to cause you to fear or worry, but to let you know that as a Christian it is important for you to safeguard the Presence of the Lord and anointing that is on your life.

As I mentioned in the section about accusation, there are people that love to search for negative things to present as “evidence” for their accusations against you. Unfortunately for me, and others that have had the same experience, sometimes sins, flaws, shortcomings from the past are the things that are used against you, even after you have already repented and attempted to move on with your life. There is a lie that Satan wants you to believe, especially if you have experienced being rejected, overlooked, isolated, or persecuted after receiving Salvation. This lie is: “My sin only affects me – it doesn’t hurt or impact anyone else.” For me personally, this lie always showed up in regards to sexual sin. After I rededicated my life to Christ in my twenties, I still continued to sin and became very “backslidden” in my walk with God. Yes, I was going to church – even attending Bible study, but in my other “free” time I was engaging in inappropriate relationships in an attempt to find romantic love (something I still haven’t found LOL). As I grew in my relationship with God and desired to serve in ministry I became increasingly convicted about the sin in my life. I fasted, prayed, confessed that I would not sin, and cut relationships off that were not healthy for me and it worked… for a while. Somehow, in a moment of boredom or loneliness I would find myself back in a tempting situation. Sometimes I willingly put myself in situations that I knew might lead to sin, convinced in my own ability to resist the sin and “prove” that I had overcome it. Guess what happened??? Yup, failed and fell many times. Sometimes after months or even years of not engaging in that sin. I eventually learned, and still practice, that it is best to not even go into a situation that may lead you to sin, especially if this is an area where you have struggled. For some people it is not sex, it could be drugs, or violent rage, etc. But the point is, while you are working out your salvation and seeking to be delivered from the sin in your life, people are watching how you do things. I lived by myself at the time and did not know any of my neighbors, but I was still being watched and monitored. If I wasn’t being physically watched, people were tuned in to my conversations, and it did not help that my friends often would tell the “recap” of our nights out at the club or bar, in places where people knew that I was presenting myself as a Christian. I have had my cell phone, computers, and other devices hacked so that the hack could monitor my web activity – looking for dirt. I have been followed while driving and had random people take pictures of me. All of this spying and monitoring for what? To attempt to prove accusations and false accusations made against me. I went to a deliverance minister one time, once I realized that some of this was happening and asked that the spirit of “conspiracy” be broken off of my life. I was told that (paraphrasing) I had not done anything significant enough for there to be a conspiracy against me. Ultimately that prayer for deliverance was not prayed. My point in sharing that is to say that if you are a person who intercedes for your loved ones and strangers, are growing in your relationship with God, and will share the Gospel with others that is significant enough for conspiracies and opposition from hell to come against you. Satan hates a person who worships God in every circumstance, who prays for the freedom and liberation of others, who cares about people who are disadvantaged and suffering. He hates when a believer starts exercising spiritual authority against him and his demonic agents and will try to destroy you.You do not have to be a famous preacher or a high-level person in society for the enemy to target you. So yes, your sin does matter, it can affect people around you, and more importantly in the hands of the workers of iniquity – your sin can be weaponized against you, even when you have repented and no longer engage in it.

The other experience I have had regarding spying involves being “set up” to fall to sin. I was in a situation where I had repented of my sins, was actively getting involved in ministry and thought that my life was on “the right track”. Apparently that made Satan and some people who did not like me mad. I am going to go into detail at a later date as to what exactly happened, however the point is that I was manipulated into a situation where I was put in a compromising situation. The fallout from that situation has led many people to hold this “fail” over my head and use it as a reason to say that I am a bad person or someone who is not a Christian, etc. I still get harassed by people who know of this incident and want to shame me or just be cruel to me. I think that it is interesting that people seem to want some type of confession or admission of sin, not to redeem or restore me, but to shame me further and have me agree not to pursue ministry. Now most people have probably not been through anything like this, but I am sharing because sometimes, we as believers willingly overlook “signs” or “red flags” in certain relationships and environments and sincerely believe that it could never happen to us. Well, I am a living witness, that people can be that evil and cruel towards you when you ignorantly believe that you are immune from harm because you are trying to “live right”. Even when you have overcome an area of sin, you have to intentionally be on guard and not be afraid to shut down scenarios that would lead you into sin. It is true we are carried away by our own lusts (James 1:14) so we have to know what we are prone to be lured by and know that when you are delivered the enemy seeks to come back to to even greater damage than the 1st time that you sinned, if he finds your “house” empty and cleaned (Matthew 12:43-45). This is important because if you fall after testifying that you have overcome, the accuser will say that you are a hypocrite, liar, deceiver, etc. and will attempt to exert legal right to destroy your life. Also, whether this “fall” is known to your friends or family or not, it becomes something that whoever knows about it – probably the person(s) that were sinning with you, want to “expose” to bring you down.

I have been in a situation where I was accused of something by the friends of a mutual friend, and no one ever directly asked me what happened specifically. They just kept manipulating situations to insinuate that their suspicions about me were true. I am actually currently dealing with a situation like that, but instead of it being friends, it’s mainly people that I do not know and they are spying and monitoring to try and prove their suspicions or back up the slander and gossip that they have already spoken. I used to wonder why people don’t just directly confront the person that they have an issue with instead of gossiping or creating so much drama. Many times they are fearful of the truth or claim that they do not trust that the person that they want to confront will tell the truth. All of this enables them to be puppets of satan, stirring up strife and mayhem over petty and insignificant issues. 

One of the worst gossip situations to be in is when it involves gossip at church. When gossip is rampant in a church it even starts coming out in the sermons preached and the messages taught. Ministry leaders are human too, and gossip may pass by their ears as they socialize, however a best practice is to “guard our gates” (to guard our sensory gates – eyes, ears, speech, touch, taste, smell). I have no idea why with so much teaching on the prophetic that I almost never hear anyone teaching that Prophets have to especially be careful about the information that they take in because wrong information can pervert the message that God wants to deliver to His people. Hearing gossip and finding a scripture to address is not inherently wrong, but it does add fuel to the gossip fire that probably is already raging at that church. Why not address the gossiper and the target of the gossip privately so that they can work out their issues instead of adding to it. The Holy Spirit reveals many things, some even private or personal to other people, but we can not use the Holy Spirit as an excuse to spread and perpetuate gossip amongst believers. The Bible says that we should gently restore people if they are caught in sin and bear with them their burdens, meaning not publicly shaming them but helping them to repent and get back into a right relationship with God. (Galatians 6:1-2).

What I do not understand the most is why no one challenges the gossiper, but readily accepts their version of the information that they are presenting? Why does gossip and scandal get people so emotionally and socially involved in matters that largely have nothing to do with them? We form our opinions and judgements about people based on some “tea” that some gossiper can’t wait to “spill”. While not realizing that participating in gossip not only damages the target(s) of the gossip, it damages or even kills relationships, and it can be weaponized to oppose the work of God in someone’s life. There are many times that when I realize that gossip is going on about me, that emotionally I am ok, but feel the grief of the Holy Spirit on the inside. That gossip is quenching work and desires of the Holy Spirit, not just damaging the target. Especially when it is shared with people who may be on the verge of making a decision to commit their lives to God, return to church, or give up a sin – the message is: “Why try to be good/ live for God because if you mess up this is what people are going to say about you or do to you.” 

As Christians we have to take inventory on our “fleshly appetites” and this has nothing to do with food. It has to do with what we tolerate in our personal space and relationships that can cause us or others around us to sin. For me personally, I can not watch certain types of media, I tried to stretch myself but it always ends up feeling like the wrong thing to do. My limits are probably different from yours, but we can make conscious decisions on what we will include in our appetites. In 2015, I made a decision to change the way that I communicate, and what types of conversations that I will engage in. I now will decline to comment or co-sign when a person brings gossip to me, that I discern as gossip. Does that mean that I never discuss anything about anyone who is not present, of course not – that is not realistic. It does mean that if someone starts sharing information that I do not need to know about someone, or seems personal and has nothing to do with me, I will let them know that I do not need to know anymore and will exit the conversation. If saying something like that is too awkward, I will just remove myself from the conversation. This helps to keep me out of participating in gossip and potentially harming someone unintentionally. It is a good personal strategy but is not going to end gossip, unless everyone does the same.

What is the solution? For many of us, especially those of us that seem to always end up as “hot topics” , patience and long suffering is required. Retaliation is usually ineffective, because it will just add to or generate more confusion and strife. Another strategy is to become secure in the truth. I was wounded and very hurt for years because of gossip regarding my identity and assumptions or lies that were told concerning my lifestyle. It really can have a serious impact for people who cannot handle being shown to the public in a negative light. I wonder how many suicides and actual murders are connected to gossip and accusations being spread or threat of being exposed or portrayed in a shameful manner has taken people out. I wonder how many marriages and friendships have ended because someone told a one sided story about another person. I can’t even imagine how many churches and families that were divided and destroyed because of some “secret” or past failure being brought to light. Many people believe whether it is an actual crime being reported or not that the harshest penalty should be imposed on the target, and only that would constitute justice, I do not agree. We need to get our hearts right if we delight in shaming and tearing down others. If seeing someone disgraced makes us feel superior or self righteous we need some time with Jesus at the Cross. I am all for the Father chastising His children so that they can grow and become more like Him. I am all for criminals paying their debt to society. I am not for pettiness and reckless destruction of people that God has imparted grace to. Jesus did not come to earth to condemn sin, He came to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8 AMP).

In conclusion, the spirit of gossip is linked with murder – it kills relationships, detroys reputations, and could even lead to physical consequences. If anyone believes that gossiping is not really a sin, they are deceiving themselves and lending their speech to the wiles of the devil. I have repented of my involvement in gossip circles and found a strategy to stay free. It is not easy, sometimes it is interesting or comical to find out something about another person, but there are so many scriptures that clearly speak against this type of behavior, I have linked a few articles I found regarding this below. I have been on both sides of this equation and it is not nice to be entangled in gossip at all. It does not bring glory to God, it can interfere in the things that He wants to do in a person’s life, and it actually makes the gossiper a tool in the hand of Satan.

P.S. – Be on the lookout for “gossip” that may ramp up after reading this and employ the appropriate strategy so that you do not become entangled. God bless.

Thank you for reading, if this has blessed you or you know someone who would like to read this type of content please share. 

Blessings Always,

Dionne Renae

Scriptures Against Gossip 

https://dwellcc.org/learning/essays/confidentiality-gossip-and-openness-body-christ#:~:text=Proverbs%2020%3A19%20%E2%80%93%20%E2%80%9CHe,about%20you%20not%20pass%20away.%E2%80%9D

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/

Christians with Christian Enemies – What’s Up With That?

As Christians we are constantly reminded about the role of the evil one against us in our quest to build and expand the Kingdom of God in the earth realm. We have catch phrases that signal to other discerning Christians when we believe that the enemy of our souls is at work in a situation. Some of us even take joy in boasting about how we (including God) “whooped demons” or “stomped satan’s head”, etc. when we perceive natural or spiritual victory on our behalf has occurred. A first account of something like this is when in Luke 10:17-19, seventy disciples returned to Christ boasting that the demons were subject to them in His name. We love testimonies on how prayer or faith actions ushered in a major breakthrough where many are blessed as a result. The danger is when personalities and personas of people whom Christians don’t like or disagree with become villainized and basically equated with representing demonic / satanic entities that require vanquishing. 

To be totally honest, this is a tough one – because when a Christian becomes aware of the impact of the unseen spiritual world on our natural environment, it is easy for everything and everyone to become spiritualized in that person’s perception. I think this is especially true for intercessors and those with prophetic giftings because we are so sensitive to the movements in the unseen spiritual realm. I can only draw from my own personal experiences so, if you don’t immediately relate please understand that what I am sharing can happen even if it has not been your experience. When I was in my mid twenties I really felt the call of God to grow and to seek to fulfill the destiny that God planned for my life. I became very interested in getting back on the right path because I knew that there had to be more than just going to church on Sunday, then doing what you want the rest of the week. I wanted a true relationship with God and was also attracted to the concept of living in the Glory. My actual life was pretty empty then although I tried hard to fill it with people and things, plus I always seemed to be unpopular which made things much more difficult. I realized that I was looking for love and that only God could provide unconditional and everlasting love, so that is what hooked me. Then I found out about deliverance and how stubborn problems may be results of spiritual activity. All of this intrigues me, along with increasing prayer, praise and worship, and reading the Bible, I also began reading deliverance and intercessory prayer books. I participated more at church and attempted to “give all” into serving. At the same time it seemed like there was always more strife and opposition against me at work and at church. The only place and people that didn’t seem to cause any problems for me were at home (by myself) or out in the nightclub / party atmosphere. Of course this created an imbalance in my life and holes in my relationship with God. I loved the presence of God and serving in church, but unfortunately I would unload all my burdens during prayer before the service, but would leave just as burdened after interacting with other church members by the time I left. The only place that I felt like I could have fun and just be without judgment were with people that did not seem to care much about God at all. I did not give up, I persevered through that time and was able to give up all of the things that I enjoyed but led to a sinful life. I willingly gave them up when prompted by the Holy Spirit, and yet one thing did not change in my life – opposition and strife from people who desired harm against me for some reason. I must have offended them, or not honored them properly. Maybe I was just a convenient target or there was some vendetta that unbeknownst to me needed to be settled. In all honesty, I had so many issues with depression, anxiety, being unpopular, being the person that could not hide my pain and sadness and on top of that the place where I am supposed to find peace (the church) I am finding strife instead. I was doing the right things in the wrong place and probably with the wrong people. However, if you have read any of my other articles you could probably see the trend forming about being labeled and blacklisted in a way where it makes participating in ministry very difficult for someone like me. The point of me sharing this is that I was not seeking to make enemies at any of the places that I found them – at work, at church, and with people that I tried to participate with on various projects. 

When things became worse in my life the more spiritualized my perception of the situation became. I called a lot of arbitrary things and even people evil or concluding that they had a demon of some sort. What I was saying was not necessarily wrong, but it did not have to be said at all, especially since most of the time other people did not agree with me, Relating spiritual things to everyday situations probably made people around me uncomfortable, and believing every word that I was saying, at the time I didn’t really notice. I was also pretty passive when it came to standing up for myself. My feelings would be hurt, especially while serving, but the attitude around me was not fostering an atmosphere of care or concern. So it was easy to be convinced that the people that were opposing me must have some type of demon or are involved in some sort of evil practice. That seemed to be the only answer, so I leaned into my deliverance and warfare prayers. Sometimes this is a valid strategy – we are not supposed to let the enemy run all over us. However, there can be an imbalance even with this. When in a person’s perception they equate a person with an actual demon and begin to address the person as if they are only this evil entity that you perceive that is dangerous. 2 Corinthians 10:4 teaches us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal or worldly. We are supposed to be tearing down strongholds – not people. Even Jesus explains that He did not come as the Messiah to condemn and punish humankind, His primary goal was to destroy the works of the Evil One. 

A lot of arguments that Christians use to “justify” why they are opposing (actively working against them – like an enemy would) usually involve some sort of judgment or accusation against the person(s) that are being targeted. It could be character flaws, past or present sin, an account of something the person said or did, or for the extreme a whole campaign detailing everything that someone does not like about that person. Spiritual people will list the attributes and equate them to demons detected – which is only helpful when you are praying for deliverance for that person not against them… Recalling some sort of disrespect or conspiracy theory on how that person is to blame for something horrible. Basically gossiping about and monitoring the person for “new info” like they are literally using military tactics to take down a terrorist. God does not require this of us. If we have an issue with someone we can always go to God and the Word for counsel. We can pray for clarity and God’s desired outcome for the situation. We can ask for understanding and wisdom on how to relate better with those who are different from us and how to conduct ourselves in difficult situations. So you heard about something someone did, you are shown pictures of why this is supposed to be a bad person – are you their enemy now? Is it your responsibility to take action against someone based on gossip? Are you being led by God when participating in harming someone or causing undue hurt and pain for someone? Where in the Bible did Jesus set this example? Yes we know that He rebuked Pharisees and whipped at money changers, he also spoke strongly to his disciples (whom he was in relationship with and had authority as their Rabbi), But you never see Jesus involved with gossip, He even instructed people on certain occasions not to speak of Him healing them to others. He was attempting to keep a “low profile” and exhibited humility in its purest form. Jesus is never sitting around with the disciples tearing down a Pharisee with His words, complaining about how the Pharisees and Saduccees don’t like him and how He would like to make them pay. To the contrary, when a Pharisee named Nicodemus (John 3) went to see Jesus, He welcomed him and answered his questions.

The true Enemy loves when Christians attack each other, especially publically. This is where he can cause so many people to become distracted from working on their own relationships with God while instead they get entangled in the conflict and begin to pick sides. This is what happened many times with doctrines and new denominations being formed, and in modern times politicizing Christianity when it is convenient to create laws that reflect particular moral and ethical ideals. Our current society loves to scandalize things, placing more importance on trivial things while remaining indifferent on things that should be actual concerns. None of us are perfect, and in today’s cancel culture there is no grace to make mistakes, or to withstand the scrutiny and disdain that others may feel regarding any person who gets targeted. The Apostle Paul would not have a chance in today’s cancel culture. If the Apostle Paul had to carry out his mission today, the whole time he would be trying to spread the Gospel and establish new churches people would be calling for him to be canceled because he used to oppose followers of Christ ferociously. There are plenty of “bad actors” and opportunities to embarrass, “expose”, and tear down anyone that we believe “deserves” it, and there are many tools that could be used to accomplish this. Just remember that you have a choice on whether to be an enemy or an ally. Everytime that you respond to the enemy to fight back in your own strength, you are letting him manipulate your time, energy, and emotions – all of which could be surrendered to God for His purposes. Plus, what if the person that everyone hates today becomes the hero tomorrow? What if the view that a person expresses today are renounced after that person has a new experience? What if someone’s bad actions are actually a cry for help not a declaration of war? What if God wants you to stay focused on what He wants to communicate to you instead of getting emotionally involved in a matter that does not concern you. What gets your attention more: opportunities to help or opportunities to harm? 

What about “Friendly Fire”? Many of you may know this term as a military expression when a soldier or squadron from an army (or other military unit) fires on (attacks) another soldier or squadron from the same army. In warfare battles this can happen, especially where confusion, poor communication, and distraction is present. In Sunday school we are taught lessons on becoming part of God’s Army, hymns and worship songs are sung with this idea that we are on the battlefield participating on God’s side. Satan always loses and the victory always belongs to God – except when Christians start shooting down other Christians. This is not about repressing differences of opinion, or honoring what is disrespectful. This is about choosing to dismiss the brotherhood/shared fellowship with another Christian in order to actively destroy that person or ministry for whatever reason that person finds. If a Christian decides that another Christian’s work is the work of the evil one should that person actively work at destroying the other Christian? For some Christians the answer is yes, for others the answer is no, for me personally the answer is “it depends”. Historically, there have been plenty of people that presented themselves as Christians that had other agendas and ideas on what to teach and establish as a ministry. Cults and other groups that led people away from Christ have risen and fallen since the 1st church was ever established. But when does it become a personal responsibility to attack with the intent to harm or destroy another Christian come into play? Maybe I will get the opportunity in the future to explore that question in a blog post in the future – however, please do not wait for me to begin that conversation. For many Christians it comes down to sin, setting poor examples, teaching things that do not reflect the Bible, and practices that put people in danger. For me, personally in most cases I can choose not to participate with a Christian that I do not agree with and share the biblical point of view that I do agree with. I used to try to answer back attacks with teaching and highlighting scripture with the expectation that finding out the truth would change those who were against my point of view. Trust me, many times that is not going to work and just make people more upset or vocal about why they are against you. Answering or attacking back just drives confusion and strife and may cause other unintended casualties. So someone decided to be my enemy, I don’t have to be theirs. I do not have to spend my time working against and plotting evil against those who are doing the same to me. I do not have to concern myself with what they are doing because my main concern is what God is doing. I do not have to clap back or mock, or even show disdain or disappointment when an enemy is revealed. I am human and it does hurt my feelings sometimes when a person that I am not expecting harm from does something evil against me, but that is that person’s choice and I have no control over that. There is no glory in being the victim, there is also no glory in being the accuser, so if someone comes against you there is only glory in letting God fight for you. God gets all the glory and we can experience it in the midst of the battle when we let Him fight for us. If you can’t tell, I like to be able to express myself, however when under attack silence is a great weapon. If you express anything at all, take your cues from Jehosephat’s army and violently praise, violently worship, and strategically pray and let the Glory of God be unleashed as your victory is won!

Are You Any Enemy or an Ally?

13 Do not be surprised, believers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into Life, because we love the brothers and sisters. He who does not love remains in [spiritual] death. 15 Everyone who hates (works against) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer [by God’s standards]; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know [and have come to understand the depth and essence of His precious] love: that He [willingly] laid down His life for us [because He loved us]. And we ought to lay down our lives for the believers. 17 But whoever has the [c]world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him? 18 Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words]. 19 By this we will know [without any doubt] that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart and quiet our conscience before Him

-John 3:13-19 (AMP)

This is the part article that some may call “woke” because they aren’t going to like it. The culture in the United States and many other “Westernized” countries are very individualistic. People only want to be concerned about themselves or who they take interest in. They do not want anyone telling them that they should care about “irresponsible” people or those in extreme poverty. However according to John 3:17 we don’t even have the love of Christ if we are ok with watching people suffer – going without what they need, when we have the resources to help them. We aren’t supposed to be just extending “Community” to other people that look, think, and talk like us or who makes us “comfortable”. This message is not about ignoring sin and compromising to evil or calling good evil and evil good. This is about living by what the Word of God actually says instead of echoing rhetoric and philosophies that turn Christians into enemies instead of allies. We are commanded to give to the poor – so providing assistance to the houseless, and asylum for refugees should not be a problem for Christians – we are supposed to be the experts at this. We are supposed to have the strategies, solutions, and “know how” to address these issues as Kingdom Ambassadors.Yes I know that there are many “charitable causes” that end up being scams, and that people need to take responsibility for their own lives/choices etc. However, that does not let us off the hook to provide care, and assistance for them while they are “figuring things out”. This is the type of love that stretches us and conforms our image to be more like Christ’s. Even if you are not at a point of wanting to or being able to give to those in need, why carry hatred and contempt in your heart towards people that are already in a bad situation? Why try to prevent those people from being helped, while if you were in the same situation you would gladly receive the help and call it a blessing from heaven. If you do not have the resources to help physically, prayer is always a help. Let’s make a commitment to include those who may not know how to pray for themselves in our prayers.

On a personal note, before I shared this, I had to let God work some things out in me. I had to repent for things that I did, said and / or attitudes that I held in the past that did not reflect Christ. I had to agree with God that the people that set themselves against me are not the enemy, even if they indicate what the enemy desires for my life. I had to acknowledge that there are people that find pleasure when harm or bad things happen against me and they are choosing to be my enemy, while I can choose not to be theirs. What comes against me does come through the works of people in many instances, however those people belong to God and He is the one who will hold them accountable. So I do not have to become an enemy to those that want to oppose and resist the plan of God for my life. They are fighting against God, not me. You can take the same posture as well if it seems like enemies seem to find you or there is a lot of strife and discord in your life. I know that I share a lot about my own experiences and maybe you do not relate to this, but if you know someone who seems to always speak about people being against them, share this blog post with them and pray with and for them. Opposition in any form is a real thing and detracts from the greater good that could be accomplished if we were on one accord. In this 5783 year of Breakthrough can we put unity and working together as Christians regardless of denomination and other differences on the agenda please? It’s bad enough that there is an actual enemy that seeks after our souls, let’s agree not to push others down when we could be helping them up. Maybe you are actually right about a situation and those that are coming against you are wrong, is fighting back in your own strength worth the confusion, stress, distraction, strife, and never ending return attacks and casualties? This is what happens in gang violence – it should have no place amongst Christians.

In conclusion, the main point is that As Christians we should not be acting as enemies to other Christians seeking to sabotage or destroy what God is doing in their life. One thing that I was told by a very wise person is that the Holy Spirit knows how to convict people of their sin. It is not our job to go around pointing out everything that we perceive as wrong. In many cases, especially if you are an intercessor, God may be showing you things about those people so that you can pray for them and He will supply the grace and direction for them to change or repent. Sometimes what we judge as evil may have other aspects that we are not aware of and seeking the Lord for discernment, wisdom, and understanding may be needed when an attack from another Christian occurs. I do not believe that we should not fight when the evil one shows up, I am suggesting that we be led by God and surrender the battle to Him, especially if it involves another Believer. When we do not agree on a matter, as believers we should always be able to agree to surrender the battle to God so that His plans will be established in the earth. Before you hit the “post” or “send” buttons to publicly attack someone just remember that there is no glory in that and that you are accountable for what you do before God. The final point is that unity, fellowship, honor, and true love for others comes from God and he is our source and motivation to treat others well. We can not resist becoming an enemy when we are not filled with God’s love and compassion. So let’s also make a point to allow the Holy Spirit to refill us and revive us. I was listening to a teaching on the Hebrew month of Chesvan and one point was about resting during this month. Take a rest from your striving – surrender the battle to God and let Him fight on your behalf!

4 The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 being ready to punish every act of disobedience, when your own obedience [as a church] is complete.

7 You are looking [only] at the outward appearance of things. If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, he should reflect and consider this, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we. 8 For even though I boast rather freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed [of the truth], 9 nor do I want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters;

  • 2 Corinthians 10:4-9

Blessings Always,

Dionne Renae

Loving God and People: Exploring Perception and Bias

Loving God and People: Exploring Perception and Bias

The heart of Christianity is about revealing the love of the Father to all of His children/ peoples of the world. Through this revealing of love an invitation is delivered to the hearts and souls of those who have received this love to reconnect with God the Father through His Son Yeshua the Christ. While this task, which has been given to all Christians, may seem simple and straightforward, it is far from an easy thing to accomplish according to human intellect. Add to this all of the filters and biases that cause each person to experience life uniquely regardless of geography, time period, or socioeconomic class, the simple task of loving God and people becomes a challenge, or maybe even a dare. Now for some people, it seems to come naturally especially to children when they are so innocent and unprogrammed. For many of us, we can remember a time when opening up and pouring our love out through service, relationships, and giving was not so difficult – we had our “tough moments” but usually would be able to press through. And then there are some of us, who know what it is like to be on the totally opposite end of that spectrum when skepticism and apathy have taken hold and giving love, or receiving it for that matter, all seems like a twisted joke.

Why is it so difficult for some people and much easier for others? In all honesty, there is really no real cut and dry answer to that question, however, for the sake of this blog post, we will be exploring and relating how perception biases and programming affect how people relate to each other, and how love these biases and programming can cause love to be expressed or withheld.

A quote from Maya Angelou that often used to encourage people to be kinder and more loving is: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” While this statement is true on many levels, it does remove the personal responsibility of the person who begins to “feel” a certain way – good or bad in relation to how they were treated. We all have preferences and dislikes, and even the expressed preferences of those who are in our sphere of influence and impact our perception and subsequent biases and errors when processing how being treated a certain way makes us feel. Before getting into the biases and the errors of perception caused by them, here is a very common example of this:

Labeling 

While labeling items for organization is a great strategy for a kitchen pantry or an office file cabinet, it can be catastrophically negative for human beings. Deep down, most people know this, yet do it anyway, why? More than likely because it is easy and effective. If a person is bad with names, it may be easier to refer to a person in association with what they do, or a quality or characteristic about them than to actually remember their name. It is also a way that people speak in code, so that they can reference a person without using their name. People label other people out of admiration or spite, while seemingly harmless this can add undue stressors in the lives of those who have been labeled, or rather mislabeled.The unfortunate thing about labeling is that, the person being labeled has the association with the label until they are either relabeled (external influence) or find a way to redefine themselves to others.

The Biblical example of this is naming children – In Genesis 35:18, Rachel names her final child with Jacob/Israel Benoni – which means Son of my Sorrow. However, Israel renames him Benjamin – which means Son of the right hand, which denotes a position of power and importance. This story was not added to the Bible just to fill up the page, in Judaism and many other cultures, a name is almost like a prophecy as to what the nature and life of the child being named will be. This is why the prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10), whose name means, “Because I bore him with pain” was so significant. Jabez asked God to bless him and expand his territory, one could only assume that this prayer was a prayer of desperation and urgency. The Bible does not go into detail, however it is possible that Jabez’s life had been in turmoil up to that point and he realized that God’s grace and mercy is what he needed most. Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10: 46-52), is another great example. He was a blind beggar and cried out to Jesus to heal him. As the story goes, Jesus responds and heals him and he follows Jesus. It’s amazing that even after Jesus heals him and it is documented that he received his sight that he is still referred to as Blind Bartimaeus to this day. His label outlived him! The label does not apply anymore, and yet that is how he is still being referred to and the greater miracle of Jesus healing him comes after. Bottomline – labels placed on humans, like names matter in the life of the people and those who interact with them.

Types of Personal Biases and Perception Errors

Positivity Bias 

Positivity Bias is when a person has an optimistic viewpoint for most situations. Even when unpleasant situations occur, a person who has this type of perception bias will find something positive to focus on or something to be grateful for. In Christianity, this is a desirable type of worldview to have, especially when the goodness of God is praised for the things in life that are often overlooked, uncounted, and unappreciated. While having this positive perspective in most situations is commendable, it can trigger people who are much more skeptical and pessimistic to not relate or trust them.

Negativity Bias 

Negativity bias is when a person has a tendency to have a negative, possibly even a dark outlook for most situations. Even when things are going well they are looking for the underlying unpleasantries or things that do not seem to fit. Worry, anxiety, and doubt are often expressed in connection to the future and regardless of the circumstance there will always be something to complain about. Of course in Chrisitanity and most other religions and cultures this perception bias is common, but not desirable. In some situations, like a post war or post recession era this type of bias may be regarded as practical, however in most cases it does not prove to be very useful in the long run. While it is natural to be pessimistic in some circumstances, Christians aim to be joyful and celebrate every victory regardless of how big or small.

The Halo Effect  

The Halo Effect is in a sense a concentrated combination of the positivity and negativity biases. It can be regarded as a perception error in extreme cases. NNGroup describes the Halo Effect this way: 

The halo effect works both in both positive and negative directions:

  • If you like one aspect of something, you’ll have a positive predisposition toward everything about it.
  • If you dislike one aspect of something, you’ll have a negative predisposition toward everything about it.  

In the Book of Esther, we could describe King Ahasuerus’ divinely ordained favor for Esther as the Halo Effect as a mild example. Once King Ahasuerus met with Esther romantically, he decided that he liked her more than the other women that were prepared for him and decided to make her queen in Vashti’s place. The king favored Esther so much that when she broke the law by appearing before him in court without being summoned, which was punishable by death if the king disapproved, that he not only welcomed her to make any request, but he also offered her up to half of his kingdom! The other women that were added to the king’s harem were either kept as additional wives with no ruling power or position or kept as concubines. So there was a clear distinction of Esther from the other women and this helped to fulfill the purposes of God for His people. 

Another example of the Halo Effect and its negative consequence also comes from the Book of Esther. Haman was one of the king’s governors that had worked his way up to be close with the king. He actually became one of the king’s most trusted advisors. The problem was that he hated one of the court officials that served at the king’s court – Mordecai. He hated that Mordecai would not bow to him because of his Jewish faith that forbids him to do so. So Haman not only hated Mordecai, he decided that he also hated all Jews – to the point that he wrote a law to legally exterminate them from the kingdom. Have you noticed that when a person begins to strongly dislike, or even hate another person, everything that that person does is perceived negatively? For example (fictional), the matriarch of a family finds out that her son in law cheated on her daughter while she was away at a conference for work. She used to like him to the point where she just referred to him as her “son”, but now will not talk to him and only references him as “the cheater”. He and his wife reconcile and he really sharts to treat his wife better, but when his mother in law finds out that he recently got a promotion on his job that will free his wife/her daughter up to stay at home, her only response is “Who did he sleep with to get that?” Many of us have been on either side of the Halo Effect for both positive or negative reasons, but obviously the negative Halo Effect is the one that tends to manifest the easiest for a lot of people. As Christians we love to show favor and preferential treatment as well as receive it, however although we know to forgive and repent when necessary this can be difficult to walk out, especially when the negative Halo Effect is in play.This is when we have to depend on God to allow us to forgive or even repent out of the portion of love that He has already given for us through His Son Jesus Christ.

*Please Note – that a person can have more than one of these perception biases – more on that later.

Recency Bias  

A lot of people like following the latest trends, be it in fashion, technology, or the latest “buzz words” or slang a lot of people want to remain relevant. This is sort of how the Recency Bias works – the most recent encounter with a person, thing, subject matter, etc. is how that person relates to it or perceives it from that point on, or until a new new experience with it. While this can be great for a person who is seeking a second chance with a person that they have history with and gets it, for the other people who remember when and how badly that person messed up, they will often not understand or be supportive. This can also seem very unfair to a person who has always “towed the line” and just messed up one time and expressed sincere apology, yet is met with the harshest punishment or consequence. Unless this person has an influential advocate that can persuade the authority figure to show some grace, this person will be regarded by their failure, unless they find a way to have a positive experience with that person again. There is a saying that “Time heals all wounds”, while that is a nice sentiment, for many people that is not the case. It could have happened over 10 years ago, but if that was their most recent interaction with that person, they will more than likely not deviate from that perception.

An example of this once again is coming from the Book of Esther. The Book of Esther begins with King Ahasuerus summoning Queen Vashti to come to the king’s party/festival to display her beauty to everyone. There are several ways to interpret what is happening in this scene, however the scene is usually depicted in the late night early morning hours when the king has been partying for a while, and possibly intoxicated that he sends for Vashti. When Vashti sends back the response that she will not appear as requested, the king is enraged and humiliated and thus begins to despise her from that moment. This is so critical because there is no Biblical record of any good Queen Vashti may have done prior to upsetting the king. It is as if the only important information to remember about her is that she defied the king and lost her queenship because of it. Perhaps if the king had been able to remember the good qualities that made him like Vashti in the first place, he may not have been so harsh. Psalms 103 says, “Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all of His benefits.” Remembering the good qualities of people, even people who have disappointed us, is definitely something that we all can practice more. What if God treated us that way, only relating to us as evil when we mess up (and all of us mess up) negating the plans and destiny that He prepared for us? Thank goodness that He doesn’t do that! He created us and knows the good that He put in us. His plans are to prosper us and are not evil (Jeremiah 29:11).  

Gambler’s Fallacy 

According to Macro-Ops.com Gambler’s Fallacy is “the opposite of recency bias. It occurs when you start believing that because a certain result happened more frequently in the past, there’s a higher probability a different result will occur in the future. This is definitely not walking by faith and more like playing Russian Roulette blindfolded. We all take risks in life, some prove to be beneficial while others do not. This type of risk is truly the mentality of gambling at a slot machine – people sit at slot machines pouring money in all day and night hoping to “hit the jackpot”. They have unfavorable odds of winning, however because there are people who do win, they are willing to keep sitting there hoping the next spin will be the winner. Of course this is a negative example of this bias, because in some situations doing the same thing over and over can pay off. However in regards to faith and love, a lot of people do the same things over and over expecting a different result until they run out of chances. A Biblical example of this is Sampson – He had it all! Position, power, super strength and favor with God, yet he foolishly neglected his duties and disobeyed God and broke his Levitical vows to not intermingle with people who did not regard his God. He repeatedly took a gamble with trying to build a relationship with Delilah – a woman from the Philistine camp who was his enemy! She insisted that he tell her what the secret to his super strength was in order to be intimate with her, and every time he told her a false theory on why he was so strong she tested him as she was paid to do. He would wake up with his hands and feet bound or his hair tied up and avoided every trap she set for him, until the day he told her the truth. On that morning not only did he find out that he had been betrayed by his love, but that his super strength was gone as well. He not only was severely beaten by his enemies, but he was mocked and disgraced throughout the town. While it is easy for us to see Deliliah’s intentions, and can even argue that Sampson should have seen the signs and realized her games were of bad intentions, many of us have been in the same if not worse situations and suffered greatly for it. We have been shamed, disgraced, and regarded as stupid and foolish because we willing to take a gamble when we knew the odds were against us. Sampson did eventually redeem himself and save his people from the Philistines, however he paid with his life unnecessarily. Had he tended to his duties, and upheld his vows, or even repented when he realized Delilah was playing dangerous games with him, he could have avoided that. However, like many of us have done, we found out that taking a high risk gamble costs more than we can pay. Thank Jesus for the Blood of His sacrifice that paid the debt of our sin and risky decisions that we could never afford to repay. 

Experience Bias  

According to Neuroleadership.com, “We may be the stars of our own show, but other people see the world slightly differently than we do. Experience bias occurs when we fail to remember that fact. We assume our view of a given problem or situation constitutes the whole truth.” In many cases, this is the main perception bias that many of us have. While this could be either positive or negative perceptions, it could potentially stunt the growth of a person when their personal experiences are few, or not relevant to a similar but new situation that arises. How many times have you been so sure of something, a trivia question, or directions to a place you have been before, etc. just to realize that you were wrong? While most of us realize that this will happen from time to time and that we can not always be right, other people have a more difficult time with this. They may exhibit bad behavior, or sulk, and possibly even insist that they were at least partially correct in some way. Other people are vindictive when proven wrong, and will seek to undermine the person who they feel outsmarted them. On the flip side there are people that hold a wealth of experiential knowledge that has pulled us out of or helped us avoid bad situations. We all know people that like to give advice, whether it was asked for or not. I happen to be one of those people, not because I think I know it all, but because I genuinely would like to help or assist if I can. Over time, however, I have learned that I do not have to always provide an answer or theory in response to someone’s problem. My experiences could not possibly be enough to know how to deal with other’s problems, needless to say my own. There are some topics that I know that I should not speak on, except to offer prayer and encouragement, because my experience has not taken me on that journey yet. Overall God is the ultimate source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, and when we need assistance we should seek Him first. That being said, Experience Bias is something that we all do and experience from others. It could manifest as diligence on the job that leads to a promotion, or an outstanding performance that leads to a “big break’. It could be learning not to interact with that person before they have had their coffee in the morning, or understanding that a person’s mood may be off because of personal issues in that person’s life. We can have compassion and appreciation for people when we use our Experience Bias through the lens of God’s love.

There are several examples of Experience Bias in the Bible and most of them involve kings. The example of Joseph’s rise to power is a compound example because it was 1st his interpretation of the Pharaoh cupbearer’s dream in prison that opened up the opportunity for him to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream which would lead to his promotion to second in command. Of course all of this was ordained by God, however in this example, the positive experience that the cupbearer had with Joseph made it easy for him to recommend him to Pharaoh to interpret his dream. Other examples of this are Daniel interpreting the king’s dreams, David killing Goliath (he had experience killing bears and lions to protect his father’s sheep), Mordecai and the king’s Book of Remembrance, and Sheba and King Solomon. Negative examples of this are King Ahab and the prophet Elijah and King Ahab (again) and the prophet Macaiah. King Ahab did not have good experiences with the prophets of God because they called out his wrong doings and acknowledged God as the ultimate authority and King. He disliked Micaiah so much that when the prophet came to him with the Word of the Lord he put him in jail.

Similarity Bias  

Similarity Bias is when an authoritative figure or group prefers or denies a person based on how similar they are to them. This is openly practiced in corporate hiring and team formation. While it makes sense that the “selector” would be more drawn to someone that shares similar interests, worldviews, and values, this practice usually ends up reducing the diversity and creativity within the group or organization. While God does want His people to reflect His image in the earth, He also loves variety and diversity. Just researching all of the various species of the same animal that exists is really telling on how God does not expect everyone to be the same. Have you ever been rejected or left out because you were different? Or are you a type of person that usually fits in with the “in” crowd? Neither is wrong, however regardless of our position in life, we need to remember that God sees His people differently than we do. He not only sees the outer appearance, but knows our heart and intentions. 

A great example of Similarity Bias would be the story of how the prophet Samuel anointed David to be the future king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Samuel met each of Jesse’s sons and thought that any of them would be a good fit to be king. God had to remind him that He was not concerned with only the outer appearance, but was also taking into consideration the heart of the son who would be selected. Samuel went down the line and one by one each son that was presented was not chosen by God. When Samuel realizes that he has met each son that was in attendance, he asks Jesse if he had any more children that were not present. Only after Samuel’s questioning did Jesse send for David who was still out in the field tending sheep. David arrived unkept and worn from working with his flocks, but as soon as Samuel saw him, God confirmed that he was the one to be appointed Israel’s next king. Jesse, David’s father had a case of Similarity Bias when deciding which of his sons would be able to attend the sacrifice that Samuel had invited them to. Other factors like the fact that David was the child of his father’s concubine, and not his wife, or the fact that somebody needed to stay behind and care for the sheep all could be reasons why David was not initially invited. 

A group example of Similarity Bias would be the relationship that Joseph had with his brothers (Genesis 37). Joseph was different from his brothers, he was favored by their father Jacob/Israel because he was the first biological son of his favorite wife Rachel. Joseph was given a special robe that was very rich and colorful looking and was excused from many of the more labor intensive chores.His brothers noticed the difference of treatment and grew resentful against him. Because of Joseph’s better treatment and his dream to be a ruler, his brothers decided to eliminate Joseph from their lives by selling him to traveling merchants. We know how the story ends with everything working out in Joseph’s favor, but isn’t it interesting to know that his brother’s envy, resentment and bias against Joseph was what set it all into motion.Similarity Bias is not inherently wrong or evil, but it is a human tendency to be drawn to people that we most identify with, so we must take great care to find our identity in Christ and to be willing at times to look past the differences to find the point of agreement or understanding with people that are different from us.

Safety Bias  

The Safety Bias is the “tendency to avoid loss” as stated by NeuroLeadership.com. A sort of self preservation type of perception that analyzes the amount of risk, danger, comfort, and safety in every situation. This bias often works simultaneously with the Similarity and / or the Negativity biases. For example: A person notices a new colleague sitting alone in the meeting room but instead of introducing themself and asking to join him, this person decides to make a “bee line” directly to the group of coworkers that they always sit with during meetings. What are the risks of sitting with “the new guy” in a meeting? Maybe they would be distracted by the new person or have to explain meeting protocols or make small talk. Maybe they heard some damning gossip about the new person and do not want to be associated with him, or afraid that they will get stuck sitting with the new guy in every meeting so they just avoid it. Reasons like that could deter a person with Safety Bias, especially if they have other biases in play as mentioned earlier. Another reason a person may have Safety Bias is if they have suffered or witnessed some deep traumas in their life. This applies to most people, however some people seem to have really caught a lot of tough breaks in life that affects their perception of how safe any environment is, or what danger looks like to them. Extreme cases of this include Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Acute stress disorder (ASD). Less extreme examples, like the scenario from the example, show how Safety bias can affect judgment (especially of others), and decision making in various degrees. Whatever the person values or fears most is where this perception bias will pop up. If a person places high value on their time, they will avoid wasting time at all costs. If it is money that they value, or fear losing, they will closely guard it. Fears of rejection and abandonment will affect decision making in social, family, or romantic relationships.

Some people experience Safety Bias as being wise or practical, when it could just be a cover up for a fear or anxiety. It can cause someone to shrink back when it is time to be bold or take a chance. A Biblical example of this is in 2 Kings 13:14-24 when King Joash is visiting the prophet Elisha in his final days, and Elisha instructs Joash to strike the ground after declaring an upcoming victory. Joash strikes the ground with the arrows only 3 times. 

So the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Aram until you had destroyed it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times.” – 2 Kings 13:19

Elisha had just proclaimed a victory for the king and Joash responded by striking the ground only 3 times. What was holding Joash back? Why wasn’t confidence, celebration, and boldness unleashed at the Word of the Lord? The Bible does not say this, however, there is a possibility that King Joash was playing it safe. He was in an uncomfortable situation with a fraile and aging, but highly respected prophet who was leading him into prophetic acts that he did not fully understand. We may never know why he only struck the arrows 3 times, however the Bible clearly shows that he short changed himself and the possibility for complete victory because he held back in that moment. I think many of us can think of moments in our lives that are like this, we had the opportunity for something we wanted but did not “go for it”, or we knew success was possible but didn’t take the situation seriously or give our best effort. We may even know the regret of not seeing the fullness of certain promises fulfilled because we held back in a moment of uncertainty.This is why recognizing where and how Safety Bias operates in our lives is so important, walking by faith can seem risky at times, so we have to seek discernment from the Holy Spirit to know when to uphold or put our Safety biases aside. 

Information Bias 

According to CatalogofBias.org “Information bias is any systematic difference from the truth that arises in the collection, recall, recording and handling of information in a study, including how missing data is dealt with. Major types of information bias are misclassification bias, observer bias, recall bias and reporting bias. It is a probable bias within observational studies, particularly in those with retrospective designs, but can also affect experimental studies” In other words, Information Bias is leveraging external information independent from the truth to support their perception of the truth. This is so relevant to the way that news is reported and received nowadays. If someone does not agree with facts that were reported, they call it fake news. If someone wants to have only certain phrases or “facts” remembered they find an external source to validate their “spin” on what the truth is. Idealistically, all people would be able to distinguish and agree on what is to be considered as “truth”. However, with all of the Experience, Similarity, and Safety biases going on (and other biases of course) there is no way that everybody is going to agree on one thing. Crowds of people all in the same place, witnessing the same event, yet each coming away with varying accounts of what actually happened… sound familiar? Information Bias is like an unconscious game of “telephone” that everyone is playing, but nobody knows it. Asking the simple question of “What is the truth?” will get you a barrage of answers ranging from rational to bizarre and impossible. 

Another way that Information Bias has been used since ancient times is to discredit someone’s intentions and / or integrity or block someone from a position or honor by revealing some awful but unrelated thing about them or from their past. This is the basis of “Cancel Culture”. While some people’s bad behavior may cause them to deserve to be canceled in many people’s eyes, the fact that other people who have done just as bad or even worse things join in the judging and “canceling” to remain hidden and unrevealed among their peers. Some people consider “canceling” a person or group as a type of justice, while in many cases it is just a highly veiled case of revenge manipulated by a jaded accuser. Not saying that those that do wrong should not face consequences for their actions, but this type of Information bias usually seeks to do more harm than just bringing a person to justice. The accuser wants to have the canceled person labeled as a bad person, untrustworthy, etc. forever. But the truth is all people sin, all people have lapses in good judgment and behavior at varying points in our lives. Some people have them more often and more types than others. If we only treat others based on the information that we know about them (which may not even be true regardless of whether the information is good or bad) we will fulfill the Kingdom mandated that we were placed on this earth in this era to accomplish. 

A Biblical example of Information Bias is when Jesus allowed Mary to wash His feet with her hair and tears (Luke 7:36-50). The Pharisee that invited Jesus saw what was happening and thought that Jesus should have known better than to let a woman who was a sinner to touch him if he was truly a prophet of God. In that moment, the Pharisee questioned Jesus’ authenticity as a Man of God because of the information that he had about Mary. He missed the beauty and holiness of the moment because his perception was filtered by erroneous and irrelevant information. There is also a cultural aspect in play as well, because Jews, especially Jewish Priests, were mandated from the law of Moses to not touch any unclean thing, or they would have to be treated as unclean for a certain period of time. So while the Pharisee did question Jesus’ integrity, he was basing it off of information that unbeknownst to him was no longer valid in the situation.This scenario also has hints of Labeling and Gossip in it because Mary was only regarded as a sinner to the Pharisee, not by her real name/identity. Unless the Pharisee had witnessed or participated in some sinful act with Mary personally, the only other way that we would know her as a sinner is through Gossip, While Jesus did not respond to Mary according to what was said about her or even acknowledging her past sin, many of us Christians who believe that it is righteous and even pleasing to God to shame and cancel people for their past sins are not following Christ’s example. Yes we are supposed to love what God loves and hate what God hates, but that never includes people because that is not the example that Jesus set for us, for He ONLY does what He sees the Father doing (John 5:19-20).Dear Christian guard your heart fiercely when new “tea” is being served, you never know when God will need you to be ready to witness to, pray for, charitably serve, or even receive a blessing from that person. 

What is it going to take to overcome all of the biases? 

  1. First we need to be aware of them but not afraid of them. Pray and ask God to reveal them to you. If you act first then question later, don’t beat yourself up, learn from it and put that bias on the “hit list”. 
  2. Use discernment when noticing it in others, not everyone will be ready for this type of calibration spiritually, emotionally, etc. so tread lightly. If you see it, but they do not, even after you tried to make them aware of it. Let it go, give it to God and let Him handle it. It is not our job to “fix” people or call out everything that we notice.
  3. Keep things in perspective, God’s Word is the final authority not our perceptions or biases. Learning about how we process our world around us is very intriguing, just don’t fall down a rabbit hole and get stuck there. If this information is overwhelmingly revealing more that you can handle, seek God and put it aside for a while. The main thing is to be aware that biases can work in the background of our decision making, so we should always invite God into our decision making processes regardless if they are big or small decisions. 
  4. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Realize that everyone is not going to like the changes that you are making, especially if it takes them out of their comfort level with you. Learn to be ok with that. Don’t be afraid to not join in with the crowd when you see them going down a destructive path. At the same time you cannot expect that same crowd not to mob you if you decide to tell them that their perceptions are wrong. If you need to point out a bias to someone, let the Lord lead you and cover you in that. 
  5. Perfection is not the goal, the goal is to live and love better, to continue developing the mind of Christ, and to fulfill our Kingdom mandates. 

Wow, thank you for reading to the end of this blog post! This post is packed with so much information, if you want to see where I got the definitions of the biases from or just learn more about them, there are some links below or you can google the names of each bias mentioned. If you know someone who would like this type of content please by all means share and repost. As always, thank you again for reading this, and God bless!

Blessings Always,

Dionne Renae ❣❣❣

Links to articles about other biases – from a business/organizational viewpoint

https://neuroleadership.com/your-brain-at-work/seeds-model-biases-affect-decision-making/#:~:text=Experience%20Bias%20%E2%80%94%20We%20take%20our,situation%20constitutes%20the%20whole%20truth.

https://neuroleadership.com/your-brain-at-work/seeds-model-biases-affect-decision-making/#:~:text=Experience%20Bias%20%E2%80%94%20We%20take%20our,situation%20constitutes%20the%20whole%20truth.

https://positivepsychology.com/pollyanna-principle/

https://catalogofbias.org/biases/information-bias/

The Season of Escape – Breakthrough 5783

At various times of the year Christians and Jews celebrate the annual feasts that were appointed by God as Holy Days. Some of those holidays are:

Pesach (The Passover) This is the foundational feast.

Unleavened Bread. This feast was to last for 7 days.

First Fruits. 

Shavuot (Pentecost or Feast of Weeks)

Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets) – Head of the Year / New Year 

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) 

Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) 

Purim

While this practice is debated in some Christian circles in regards to if celebrating these days are necessary or not – this is not the focus of this article/ blog post. A few weeks ago Rosh HaShanah was celebrated and an abundance of prophetic insights regarding the new year 5783 (according to the Jewish Calendar). I am not proclaiming this to be similar to that, just sharing the observation of a trend that may be forming and to pray for the momentum to accelerate in this season. Lately, especially since Rosh HaShanah there have been news stories about people who were abused escaping their abusers, and people narrowly escaping other circumstances like accidents, violent attacks, etc. Could it be that God is up to something? That this is the BREAKTHROUGH that many people around the world need? In my previous blog post, I exhorted everyone to be more aware of their surroundings and to be sensitive to the needs of others that need help or assistance. Could it be that we are called to be BREAKERS in this season? 

There are already Heavenly Forces that are appointed to be Breakers, and they assist us when we pray, declare, and decree the will of God to manifest in the earth. Even with all of Heaven in place and ready to assist, God still needs agents in the earth realm to co-labor or work alongside Him in breaking the influence of the evil one. I believe that this is a season for deliverance. The God that delivered the descendants of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob is still able to deliver His people from the grip of modern day Pharaohs. Whether it is people that need to be physically freed from the abductors, abusers, or violent/sexual attacks, or people that need to be freed from mental/emotional abuse, financial abuse, or spiritual strongholds that are keeping them chained in bondage – they all need deliverance! They all need the God of the Breakthrough to see about them. 

1 Samuel 19:11-12 (AMP)

11 Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch for him, so that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled and escaped.

While it would be a bit of a stretch to call Michal a Breaker, she definitely assisted David in his hour of need. If not for her insisting that he leave, we may have never heard of the great King David. So many biblical accounts are like this – Moses being saved from Pharaoh’s mass killing of babies, Rahab assisting the Israelite spies escape, and even Lot’s family’s escape from Sodom and Gomorrah, all show people (and Divine Messengers) assisting people to escape perilous situations so that the will of God could come to pass. How many lives are waiting in the balance that we are supposed to be assisting? How many children, teens, and adults are being cut off prematurely because no one is interceding for them or willing to assist? This does not have to be this way, it does not take a move of Congress to be positioned to work along with God in the season of Breakthrough. All we have to do is agree to spend some time in prayer, keep some helpful items on hand, and make our minds up that we will not “drop the ball” if a situation arises where we can be of assistance to someone in need. We do not need to go looking for trouble – unfortunately trouble is already here, but it does not have to win!   

I want to specifically speak to those who are called to pray and intercede. Please do not omit this from your prayer list. Please find some time to pray for your household, community, and scope of influence. Someone’s life may depend on it, someone’s freedom and safety depends on it. I am not asking you to interfere or put yourself in harm’s way, or to be meddling or nosy in the personal affairs of others either. But when you notice something that seems “off” , pray. When you get a prompting in your spirit – seek the Lord. When you have the opportunity, decree safety, protection, and deliverance over your sphere of influence. 

If you are like me, you are saddened and upset when you hear stories about the lives that were taken or destroyed by abusers, people angered in a moment of rage, or reckless endangerment. Let’s not just pray for the victims of abuse and attacks – Let’s agree to pray for the deliverance of those whom the enemy is using to do his bidding. Let’s pray for those who delight in torturing, attacking, and abusing those in their care or who they have access to. Let’s agree to pray for divine intervention for those who would take lives while throwing their own life away because of the pain and anger in their hearts to be delivered mightily in this season. Can we agree that there will be no more mass shootings, suicide packs, gang rapes, gang wars, petty retaliations, or reckless choices that take out our present and future generations in the name of Jesus. 

If you want to be a person that is ready to assist those in need who are escaping in this season, consider keeping these items on hand in your home and vehicle:

  • Blankets, sheets, and spare clothing/shoes to cover those who are fleeing without proper clothing.
  • Toiletries, toilet paper, tissue, hygiene products, wipes, combs / brushes, etc. 
  • Portioned and prepped meals and water to provide immediate sustenance to those who arrive hungry. Healthy snacks like granola bars or trail mix can be kept in a vehicle.
  • First Aid kit with antiseptic and other wound cleaning materials
  • Access to a phone to call for help
  • Seek the Lord for any other items that you may need to prepare to assist those in need.
  • It goes without saying that we should always be ready to give encouragement, empathy, and support to those in need.

There are people that God is specifically raising up to go into dangerous places to physically bring people out. Let’s agree to pray for God’s protection, grace, and provision be with them to assist them on their missions. Some professions send people in to dangerous places / situations as well, so let’s also lift up Rescue teams, EMT’s and Ambulance workers, Emergency Room staff, Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters, Social Workers, Street ministries, Border Enforcement / Refugee relief efforts, and front lines workers who deal with the public. 

I do believe that this is the season for Breakthrough, however I am not content to just receive a breakthrough for myself. I commit to be a Breaker – a person who will co-labor with God for others to also get their breakthrough. We can make a difference just by praying, being sensitive to the needs of others, and being willing to assist. Many of the stories that I read mention that neighbors to the person(s) escaping did not always respond or immediately open their doors. It’s easy to pass judgment on people who could have assisted the people who had been subjected to such abuse and torment. However these neighbors that did not respond, are just people who had not already decided to assist a person in need when they show up. The matter of whether or not to help a person who looks desperate and unclothed had not been settled for them, so they did nothing to help. You and I do not have to be like those unresponsive neighbors, we can be ready and able to assist, if that need ever arises. 

Maybe it is not someone else, but it is you that needs a way of escape. I can not pretend to know what you are going through, however I can tell you that someone is praying for you and expecting your deliverance to come soon. We are praying that whatever trouble that you are in is now over and you will find your way out. Be strong and if you have no strength left, lean on the Lord for strength. Help is on the way for this is your season of escape, deliverance, and breakthrough! Call on the name of Jesus, even if you have to whisper – He hears you and will respond. Do what you can do to escape – if you are afraid – do it afraid. Let the Holy Spirit lead you out in Jesus name! 

Maybe a wrong choice or an impaired decision has led you or someone you love to be in some type of bondage. Just know that you can repent- you can decide to change your direction and put aside whatever is pulling you away from what is good and what is right. Ask God to forgive you and ask His Holy Spirit to fill you, so that you can have the power to overcome the bad situation that you are in. Ask other Christians to walk with you, and if you can not find anyone to walk with – ask Jesus to walk with you. 

2 Corinthians 3:15-18 (KJV)

15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

Do Not Pass Me By – Responding to Silent Cries for Help

In our present culture the loudest, most abrasive people seem to get the most attention. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and while that in most cases is true. Another recent phenomenon of refusing the truth by denying and downplaying it also seems to be the way that people in positions of power / authority choose to handle situations that make them uncomfortable or do not reinforce their beliefs and values. What can you do when the truth is presented and it does not make the impact that it should? What can you do for people that are crying out for help only to be refused assistance because of bias and prejudice? This type of scenario happens on many levels, although the most obvious levels are racism, sexism, and classism. The most unfortunate thing about this is that it happens in the church as well. This is not an article/blog post to bash the church and the US political and law enforcement systems that are in place. This is a wake up call to the Body of Christ – especially intercessors. While I can only speak for myself, I know that I started out strong in prayer at the beginning of 2020, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, during all of the various controversies that arose that year and after somehow apathy and indifference began to set in. Personal peace became more important than praying about every woe and ill of society. Tiredness and exhaustion creeped in. and while rest was warranted, people like me did not really want to get back out onto the front lines again. So now we find ourselves here…. Needing Divine Intervention again.. (like we will ever not need it).

So how did we become so desensitized to the needs of others? Why are we content to let those crying out for help to “figure it out” on their own? Why are some so willing to refuse the truth and take appropriate action? Just a few days ago a news story broke about a Pastor who reported that women were being abducted from a certain street in Kansas City. The local authorities disregarded it, and said that it could not be possible and that it was a hoax. It seems like they never attempted to investigate the claims of the Pastor and just ignored it all together. Then the unthinkable happened… A young woman escaped from the house of her captor with a metal dog collar around her neck, knocking on several doors until someone in that neighborhood finally assisted her by calling the police. The young woman said that the other women that had been captured by the same man did not make it. How many lives could have been saved if the reports of abduction had been taken seriously from the beginning? If you want to follow this news story, you can check it out here: https://www.the-sun.com/news/6418818/malnourished-woman-escapes-kidnappers-home-padlock-collar-duct-tape/

What if Jesus did not respond to the cries of Blind Bartimaeus? (Mark 10:46-52) What if Jesus ignored the woman with the issue of blood? (Luke 18:43-48) What is the point of having the gift of discernment if it is only used when it is convenient or agrees with a preconceived idea/ jugement about a situation? The example of Jesus is to serve all. He healed them ALL (Luke 4:38-41). He fed them ALL Matthew 14:13-21). Jesus did not pick and choose who He was going to help, heal, or LOVE. He loved them ALL. He gave His life for the whole world, not just a particular demographic or social class (2 Corinthians 5:15). I know that you may not like seeing homeless people living in public spaces, or immigrants who illegally enter the country to seek refuge, the sexworkers who solicit in the “bad” part of town, or the countless other types of scenarios where people made unwise choices and needed help. Stating the obvious regarding how a person ends up needing assistance is basically victim shaming and is not helpful to anyone. The drug addict knows that their choice to take drugs led them to addiction, what that person needs is someone that can help them find their way out. If a person is not ready to change, we can still pray for them, and agree with heaven who rejoices when only one soul is saved. Let’s also pay attention to the silent cries or “off” scenarios that may indicate that a person is in an unsafe situation. Not all people (especially children) are in situations where they are able to communicate that they need help, so let’s allow the Holy Spirit to highlight people to us whether we are in a position to help directly, or indirectly. 

It is true that repentance is necessary to be rightly aligned with God, however we are called to point people to Christ, share the gospel, and serve where there is a need. Putting pressure on people to change as a condition to offer assistance often will push them away and further into the grip of satan. This message is not about condoning sin or coddling people who won’t take responsibility. This is not about agreeing with political, moral, or ethical views that are against what the Bible teaches. This is certainly not about tolerating a compromised demonstration of faith either. This is about not ignoring people when they need help. We can assist physically by providing food, clothes, money, shelter assistance or other tangible ways that God leads. The easiest way to help is to pray and intercede for others, it’s free and can be part of your daily walk with God. We can also help by being emotionally available to listen, counsel (if qualified), and empathize with those who are hurting. Some people have the faith for healing and/or deliverance. Others are great encouragers – which is needed when depression, anxiety, and suicide is on the rise. We can help by doing what is just and right by other people – especially people in positions of power and authority. Even Jesus had assistance on his journey to the cross from Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26), so why should we be ok with sitting idly by watching people suffering?

I recently listened to Bill Weiss’ 23 Minutes in Hell testimony again, and it really reminded me of why we intercede in prayer for people who don’t even seem to care about “living right”. His sentiment was that Hell is real and he would never want anyone to go there. His testimony used to play 24/7 in my 1st apartment, and honestly I needed to hear it. It may have been the catalyst that made me take serving in ministry more seriously. The reason that I intercede for those that will never know that I prayed for them, is not so I can get some type of “Holy” award or to gain the approval of men. It is because intercession provides the “work orders” for Kingdom building. Intercession is a selfless act that can make a difference for someone in need. 

The Fall and Winter holiday season is when a lot of people seem to enter depression, domestic violence increases, and suicide rates go up – let’s change that this year. Be sensitive to the needs of others and intercede, give words of encouragement, exhortation, and hope. Let’s use our resources to help those in need and our influence to usher justice in where there is none. For a few moments each day, let’s put our wants, needs, and desires on the shelf and go to war for those who are too weak to fight, for those who do no know that they are in danger, and for those that society has cast away and forgotten. Let’s follow Jesus’ example and intercede for ALL.  ***I wonder how much closer we would be in our relationships with God (and each other) if we put our views, beliefs, biases, and prejudices down and just fixed our gaze upon Him….. if there is something that is bothering you, let’s choose to pray about it instead of complaining. I have complained, I have pointed out the evils that people seem to miss or ignore and I cannot say that it really has helped me in my personal situation. However, what I cannot achieve on my own, God can do above and beyond my expectations. Let’s agree to bombard heaven with sincere requests to bring divine intervention to earth. Let’s truly colabor with Christ and the heavenly hosts by using our heightened sensitivity and discernment to decree and declare as it is in Heaven so it is in earth. Let’s continue to cover our family and all that is important to us, but also “check in” with God about what is important to Him and how to cooperate with His plans. Let’s not make excuses or continue the same way, let’s impact this world in the way God designed us to. Maybe your gift or anointing is not for prayer, no worries – do what God has equipped you to do!

Before this blog website was started, I used to send weekly prayers out to email subscribers, and posted them on social media. God was moving in my life, in a way that I didn’t quite understand the importance of it at the time. Every week was exciting to find out what God was directing prayer for and in some small way I got to be a part of that. The point is that willingness to pray and intercede for who and what is on God’s heart is always in His will. If you are like me and need to realign with God from time to time, to get rid of distractions and start interceding again please do it, Do not procrastinate or hesitate – it could just be the breakthrough that someone else needs. 

It’s been a while since we ended a blog post in prayer, and since this post is about intercession it is only fitting that we conclude with a prayer.

Lord, thank you for this time of communication with you. We come before You lord acknowledging that there are times when we just were not interested in praying about the things that are happening in the world and just wanted to rest in You. We come before you asking to be revived, refreshed, and renewed in strength, hope, and zeal for promises to come to pass and for Kingdom Expansion. Lord, we acknowledge that hell is real and we do not want anyone to go there, so we stand in the gap for those that may not even realize that they are on the pathway to destruction. Lord, we know that all choices have consequences and that You are a just and righteous judge that has the final say, and we believe that Your heart favors redemption, restoration, and repentance of those that are making reckless decisions above eternal judgment. Lord you are so long-suffering that You continue to wait for the return of those that strayed away, and even those who were drawn away by their own lusts. Lord show us how to contend for the lost so that Jesus’ sacrifice will not be in vain for this generation and/or generations to come. Lord please realign us with You in our thoughts, perceptions, opinions, and in every area of our lives so that we can be ready weapons in Your hands. Lord let us not become content with how things are or complacent when presented with truth and cries for help. Lord God You preserved us during a pandemic, natural disasters, and all sorts of trouble – please order our steps for such a time as this. Lord let us be vessels of Your glory, healing, and justice – caring for those who are left out and discarded. Lord, we do not want to condone bad behavior or reward recklessness so help us use discretion and wisdom when seeking to help those in need. For those that we realize we are not equipped to assist we turn them over to You – knowing that You know how to intervene at just the right time. Lord deliver our speaking from complaining, condemning, and combativeness in the natural realm. We recognize that our enemies are not other human beings, but are spiritual forces that we have authority over through the name and blood of Jesus. Lord God, You know what we have need of, and we place those needs before You, however help us to also lift up those around up as well. Bless us to be blessings to those in need, to those you are sending us to, and to those that can never repay the favor. Let us follow Jesus’ example as led by the Holy Spirit and not call good evil and evil good. Help us to put aside any un-useful mindset, habit, or bias so that we can hear and respond to Your promptings. Lord, we thank you for this opportunity to be a part of what you are doing and we ask that You cover us and stand with us when we stand in the gap for others. Lord thank you for shifting this season to be a season of joy, love, revival, and Kingdom Expansion and we ask for all of this in Jesus’ name Amen!

I Apologize – An Open Letter

Dear Christian Leaders From My Past: I Apologize – An Open Letter

Disclaimer: I know that most people would prefer a personal apology specifically addressed to them. However, I personally have no way of knowing if any of the Christian leaders from my past are actually expecting or desiring an apology from me, so this apology is based on the assumption that any of them would like an apology. Secondly, this goes out to all for whom it applies, if it does not minister to you then please disregard. Also, I understand that for some people this apology will not be enough (for them) to mend the breach in the relationship and I am not necessarily trying to come back or reestablish participation in any particular ministry through this apology. This is an attempt to communicate that I wish them and their ministries, etc. well and hope that they do not harbor ill feelings from this point forward.

During my mid 20’s and 30’s I experienced explosive growth in my relationship with God. I became more active in serving at the ministries that I attended and pursued spiritual growth with fervor and intention. However, regardless of my spiritual growth at the time, I was still young and undisciplined in applying the Word to my life, plus still also pursuing fleshly desires. I do not dispute the fact that I thought that I was more spiritually mature than I actually was at the time. I also acknowledge that I really needed more friends (my age and older) that could have been a support and godly influence in my life. I really did not seem to have a place anywhere. I did not feel truly loved and accepted at the churches that I attended, and I was having worse rejection in the world as well and my emotional and spiritual character did not handle the rejection well. Most of the time I was bouncing between feeling good about God in my life to feeling doomed and depressed because of the realization that much of my lifestyle at the time would have to change and I feared having to be without anything or anyone. My emotional state was very melancholy and down at times:

I apologize for being gloomy. – I felt so much joy serving, and felt purpose for my life while pouring into whatever ministry that I was a part of, however I was also truly in emotional pain. I am not excusing myself for this, and am apologizing for the impact of my emotional state on your ministry.

I apologize for compromising. – I was growing spiritually, however temptation in my life was also at an all time high. It’s true, I could have resisted, I could have stood on the Word and declared “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Truth is: I actually tried that – and I still fell. I tried really hard at times, and I prayed a lot about my wanting to live right before the Lord and other times I just did not believe that my choices were that big of a deal, because I really did not see anyone else giving up their “worldly desires” There was a time that I believed that most ministers were still indulging in drinking alcohol, or promiscuity / affairs, and other things worse than that. So by my (perceived) minimal sins, I really did not believe that anything that I was doing was so wrong. Once again, not an excuse – just an explanation of my mindset at the time. I believed the lie that my sins were “covered” because I had the heart to repent and knew that I would not always live that way. Well my sins were not covered in the sense that there would not be repercussions for them in my life and I have come to terms with God for that and have repented. What I would like to do now is apologize for how that affected you and your ministry. Not taking in account the sacrifices that you made to build it and were enduring for the sake of the flock/members was unfair. I acknowledge that my neglecting to make similar personal sacrifices caused problems in our (potential) relationship and relationship with other members. I also acknowledge that added to my down emotional state as discussed earlier. I really felt like I should have been prayed for and ministered to at times, because of what I was going through with the intentions to serve the Lord and live right. However now, I just take full responsibility for my actions (and inaction in some cases) and apologize for bringing that into the ministry. 

At some ministries that I participated with I just learned as much as I could and tried to just be a “good” member through attendance. At other ministries, I had the privilege to serve and / or participate in leadership in some capacity. I just want you to know that regardless of my shortcomings at the time, serving in the ministry really made me evaluate my life and the compromises that I had made in my relationship with God. I quit drinking alcohol (although I did have a drink since then – but do not regularly drink like I once did), and ended inappropriate relationships that were causing a divide in my devotion to the Lord. As far as my personal life goes, while I was serving I felt (and still really feel) like it was my business and not the concern of the church. As a person who voluntarily served and wanted to contribute to your ministry, I really hoped to have support and people to walk with when I did decide to share problems from my personal life when seeking help from the ministry. Most of the time, that was not the case and I became really disappointed, hurt, disillusioned, and skeptical. I confess that during my experience serving at a ministry I felt the least love and confidence in humankind. I felt like men are just out to degrade a woman if she does not perfectly submit to them and that I was being “gaslit” (I didn’t have that terminology at the time, I previously would have said manipulated) to display negative emotion because of the rejection, dog whistle shaming, and gossip that I encountered at church. I did not see God in any of that experience, except for the opportunity to serve and be a part of a ministry. I had previous wounds from serving elsewhere so that did not help either and I just felt wronged. My attitude was bad, because I felt bad, I was hurt and no one cared at all. I wasn’t seeking attention, but it would have been nice if I had a place to cast my cares while in the support of other people. I did not have that so, I drew my own conclusions. I apologize for not having all of those things worked out before arriving at church to minister. A lot of times just driving up to the building caused anxiety because I had no idea of what kind of reception I would get when I entered. I apologize for not activating the joy of the Lord, and lifting the atmosphere when I was not worshiping and for being critical of the sermons that were preached. I confess that I did scrutinize the sermons, because I felt like I was being scrutinized, so it was an exercise to not feel oppressed by the opposition that I faced. Not saying that it was right, just was my defense mechanism at the time. I apologize for judging and criticizing in response to feeling judged and criticized. I felt like I knew at the time, but now acknowledge that I did not know the heart of anyone that was at that ministry and that it could be that they did not mean harm. Regardless of what anyone else did, I apologize for my reaction. I could have extended more grace and continued to pray, however my wounds and pain would not let me sit by. So I also apologize for leaving without exhausting every possible reconciliation. I thought that I left on good terms, but if I did not I apologize for that. 

Finally I apologize for any bad report I have given about your ministry directly or indirectly. I used to openly criticize various “TV” ministers or have pointed conversations with friends about various ministers (not very often) but I did express negativity about certain things before. I have not openly called out specific ministers, although I have addressed particular Chrisitan leaders from my past directly – that usually resulted in a negative outcome. Even in the counseling sessions that I have had on my own journey towards healing I have not mentioned the names of specific leaders. So regardless if the bad report was direct or indirect, I realize that this does not help the body of Christ. I believe that the truth should be told, but also to consider people who are weak or new in their spiritual development – as not to lead them astray. I apologize for any thing that I have said or communicated that would lead people astray or from participating with your ministry. I apologize for any opinion expressed that would hurt your feelings or cause a negative impact in the ministry. I can not be sure if anything I have expressed has directly or indirectly affected you, but I want you to know that if there was a disagreement, or misunderstanding regarding anything that I communicated I apologize and pray for your restoration.

I also apologize for the anger, resentment, fault finding, and blame that was in my heart towards the poor outcome of some of my interactions with you. I don’t believe that all Christian leaders are bad, nor do I seek to be critical and fault finding of them. However, bad experiences can shape a person’s perception, so I apologize for allowing any perception based on bad experiences to direct my interactions with you. I have been unfair at times not acknowledging the commitment and sacrifice that it takes to be integral, competent, and effective as a Chrisitan leader and I apologize for that. No one is perfect, I certainly am not, and for me to expect you to be perfect is ridiculous. There is a high standard placed on ministry leaders, and for many there is no place for a “learning curve” – but in real life the learning curve for any vocation is real and who you were then is more than likely not who you are now.. Since I have grown and moved on past my mistakes and shortcomings, it is wonderful to be able to extend that same grace to those who are not asking for it, but deserve it just the same. You never thought the day would come when I would apologize, well it arrived and I sincerely mean it. 

Blessings Always,

Dionne Renae

Conversation Starter Series #1

Busting Myths on Why People Stop Attending Church

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a “Non-Traditional Christian” – The views and opinions reflected in this blog are from a person who has served in various roles in ministry, but has not held the role of Pastor or (the top leadership role in a church / ministry). 

I am a Christian… who does not regularly attend church services in person or online virtual services at this point in my journey with Christ. For many people this fact alone will make you question if I am even “saved” at all – since I am not attending a service every week. I hate to break it to you, but you were programmed to have this negative opinion of people who do not attend church habitually. While in the past I did attend church regularly in person, virtually/online, or listening to replays, I have often heard the ministry leader (Pastor, Bishop, Prophet, etc.) express a particular disdain for people who profess to be followers of Christ, but do not attend Church. They lump everyone from former church members, regular visitors, and those who have actually fallen away into the same general categories. They are labeled as disloyal, opportunists, unfaithful, troublemakers, heathens, backsliders, unrepentant, lazy, ignorant, undisciplined, and overall failures. The notion is that such people are actually enemies who deserve to get “what is coming to them,” because they are not protected under the covering of the church or ministry that they left anymore. Instead of reaching out to a person who leaves, even under stressed and undesirable circumstances, an attitude of a holy “good riddance” is given instead.

Now the truth is sometimes when a person stops participating with a church or ministry, it is for the best, the best for that person and the fellowship that they are leaving. The problem is that, most of the time the reason for why the person has left is not expressed by the person leaving to the congregation, which leaves room for gossip, conspiracy theory, and misinformation to take root regarding the situation. A person who does not like the person who left will be all too happy to explain and share all of their negative perspectives on the separation. And if that church or ministry is prone to “Pastor Worship”, the person who leaves will almost always be depicted as some type of villain, possibly possessed or a witch/wizard/warlock. Blame for any ministry problems and failures during the time of that person’s attendance can freely be put on the person that leaves, using him or her as a convenient scapegoat. (For more on this, check out the book Charismatic Control by Steven Lambert, ThD)

Of course, what has been described are the extreme cases and there are some people who leave that are not missed – no one notices that they are gone. However, the negative stereotype is broadcast through many sermons, teaching messages, as a warning of what can happen to a person who does not attend. Many Modern western churches are built around the model of fellowship being the anchoring element, upon which the foundation of the ministry is built. There is nothing wrong with that, except, when the goal becomes to keep people in that one location as long as possible. After learning about the Kingdom of God and how that was part of Jesus’ mission on earth – to expand and spread the “Good News” regarding it, I realized that church assemblies are supposed to equip and build up people to engage and expand the Kingdom of God beyond that church location. So why is it so confusing and perceived so negatively if a person moves on, away, or fellowships with believers in a different assembly?

Let’s discuss this! Feel free to repost this on your social media page and start a conversation with your family, friends, and contacts.Whether you agree or disagree with what has been expressed in this blog, this conversation needs to happen.

There are scriptures that are used to “teach” why not participating with a church is bad/ undesirable.The one that I remember being referenced the most is stated as, “Forsake not the assembling of the saints…” When the scripture from Hebrews 10:24-25 actually says: 

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Which other scriptures have you heard in regards to church attendance? 

There are some churches/ ministries that pronounce judgements or curses on the people that leave by declaring things like: They will not find success, or the protection/favor of God will not be with those who leave, or declaring that they will be handed over to Satan – implying that the person renounced their confession of Christ as Savior and is no longer saved.

Have you ever heard something like this being preached or declared in a church service?

A person may decide to end fellowship and participation with a church/ministry for all sorts of reasons. Below is a list of reasons why a person may stop attending, please share other reasons that are not listed and/or discuss with your network.

  1. The church/ministry was not a good fit for them – anything from the time of service, worship/teaching style/ location or expectation from the church to the members could be incompatible with a person’s ability or desire to attend.
  2. There is another church/ministry that the person wants to attend.
  3. The person does not agree with the doctrine or practices of the church
  4. Personal or corporate conflict – a disagreement with a church member or leadership that distracts that person’s focus away from worshiping God.
  5. Church hurt – a person was hurt by a person, or people (sometimes leadership) to the point that church attendance (at that location) causes trauma and becomes too painful to attend.
  6. A person moves away to another city/state/country
  7. A person is not growing, has no opportunity to serve, or feels like they are regressing (going backwards) in their faith. 
  8. God/Holy Spirit told them it was time to move on -to another church, to step out on faith, or whatever personal directive from God.
  9. The person is not well received by the people of that church. Usually for religious reasons: the way that the person dresses, the zeal and enthusiasm of the person, or a host of other reasons
  10. The person is condemned and gossiped about at the church, and it is no longer a safe place for them to be.
  11. The person is overwhelmed by the surmounting issues at the church: disorganization, quarreling amongst members and ministry leaders, scandals, power plays, and etc.

People who have bad experiences at church as children/teens/young adults often leave and never come back. Even people who are older but are “babes in Christ” or “unChurched” have a window of time that if they have really bad experiences at church they might leave and not come back – at least not back to that church. What are your thoughts on this? What can be done to encourage children, teens, young adults, and new Christians to not just attend church but to develop their own personal relationship with Jesus? What has worked? What has not been tried yet?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that broke out globally in 2020 – although prior to the pandemic many churches were adopting the technology to have virtual church meetings, online broadcast of services, and even virtual church campuses – the overall tone towards virtual or online members seemed to be negative – like these people are too lazy or undisciplined to attend church in person. This discounts the fact that there are many reasons why a person may choose to participate online rather than in person. At the end of the day,since this technology has become available it has done more good for churches and spreading the “good news” of Christ than harm, in my opinion. Instead of a sermon being preached in a local church and only the members in attendance at that time being the ones to hear and receive from it, that same message can broadcast in real time globally. This is no different from radio broadcasting, tapes, videos, CDs, or DVDs of the messages going out from a local church. So why is there an underlying negativity about it? What would happen to the global Church if these technological options were no longer available?

Below is a list of reasons why a person may choose to attend a service virtually instead of in person. Feel free to discuss and add to the list in the comments section or on your social media page.

  1. Location – The person may not live close enough to the church that they would like to attend to fellowship in person.
  2. Transportation – The person may not have means of transportation to attend in person
  3. There can be times, especially when a person is growing in hearing the voice of God, that in person services/meetings can be distracting – this way the person can stay in the presence of God and not be distracted by church politics, or whatever else that may be going on.
  4. Wanting to “visit’ with a church before becoming a member. A person used to have to physically visit church after church in person before deciding/being led to join one.
  5. Hunger for the Word of God – when a person is growing they may hear ministers with various teaching/ministering styles that they are drawn to. Participating online means that they do not have to choose one service over another, they can attend more than one if they desire.
  6. A person may be in a place where they are seeking guidance from God on whether to leave or stay at a particular church and watching online gives them a broader perspective regarding that decision
  7. Everyone does not have Sunday off from work, some people choose to watch/listen to the service while they work so that they do not fall behind in the teaching and to stay as much in fellowship as possible with their church. 
  8. Not everyone is comfortable in crowds of people that they do not know. Introverts may need time to build up motivation to attend in person, because a lot of services are designed for extroverted people: Go hi-five 3 of your neighbors, Hug 5 neighbors sitting next to you and tell them…, Tell the person sitting next to you…Now everybody hold hands while we pray….
  9. Not all churches are the same: Some churches have loud and wild praise and worship, while other churches are more dignified. Some churches heavily lean on audience participation, while others are quiet and respectful during preaching. Some churches have activities and meals after service, while others send everyone on their way by 12 noon. Online attendance gives a person the opportunity to witness the culture of the church without awkward situations if they do not “fit’ in that culture.

Before getting to the place where I now no longer attend weekly services, I was a faithful church attender. I didn’t just attend, I served in various roles, because I wanted to not be a hearer only, but also be a doer (James 1:22-25). In that time of serving, I found out what goes on behind the scenes in some (not all) churches and it changed the way that I viewed Church as an institution. In some ways it helped mature me, to adjust my expectations and remove the mysticism regarding the building, practices, and administration. It did also have negative effects on me, as I was deeply hurt, multiple times, in various situations. Regardless of the bad experiences that I had, I also had many of the best encounters with God there. I saw first hand the movement of the Holy Spirit, I learned to recognize the Presence of the Lord and the flow of the anointing. I am a witness to seeing people get healed, set free, and delivered. I know that the Power of God can fall to a degree that everyone is touched, and this is the reason why I also believe that the same Power can not be contained in a building, in a service, at a specific time. That same Power can move through a broadcast over the radio or online. It can move with the same strength and momentum through a tape, CD, DVD, or replay. Why try to limit God to an in person meeting? If we believe that He really is God, then we know that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM!

I personally believe that I have grown the most while not attending church on a weekly basis because I had to learn how to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit, read the Bible for my own edification, and apply the revelation that I was receiving to my own life. My hunger for the Word increased, and my prayer time was unhindered. No other person was involved with “measuring” where I was at in my walk with God, and He also began showing me how to walk with Him instead of waiting until a crisis was at hand. I am not perfect at this, I still have times when it would be helpful to have a community of like minded Believers in Christ that I could go to for help, however God has kept me – even without having that. This is not the ideal situation for any believer- please do not think that I am glorifying not participating with a Church. However, it is not necessarily a bad place to be depending on the things that are happening in your life. I wanted to start this conversation with you because it’s time. It is time to remove this “territorialism” and “Pastor worship” from the Body of Christ. The rivalries and discord amongst local churches, between denominations, and regarding doctrinal differences must end if we are really going to expand the Kingdom of God and fulfill the “Great Commission.” 

Attending services or online are options that are available to all believers and one option may be better for one type of person than for another. For a secular example – I attended college courses both in person and online. I had successes and unique experiences with both, when I wasn’t doing well – had failures and challenges in both. So there is no magic bullet – no perfect answer. What is working now for a person may not be ideal later on or in a different circumstances. A person is not “more Christian” if they attend in person, or a person that should be looked down on if they attend online or have taken a break from attending weekly. What matters is that however a believer is continuing their Journey with Christ is that we are all in the Family of God, One Body with many parts. Instead of trying to discount and disqualify people from salvation, let’s trust God that through the in person services and online, and other technological formats that His messages of love, peace, salvation, acceptance, freedom, and grace are reaching those whom He desires to reach – Christ desired ALL to be saved – and that the seeds being planted through all ministry will produce the harvest of Revival that many of us have been longing for. 

Thank you for reading this, especially for getting this far in the blog post. Please do not let this be the end of your interest in this topic. Please have conversations about this with other believers and post, or make reference to this blog on your social media to keep this conversation going.  

Bonus Question: What would happen if all Christians/Believers/Followers of Christ utilized all of the resources that are available: services, books, radio, CDs, DVDs, MP3s, replays, blogs,websites, and podcasts to build themselves up (Jude 1:20) and to advance the Kingdom?

Blessings Always,

Dionne Renae 💜💜💜

Spiritual Warfare vs. Occultism

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Can you tell the difference between Christian Spiritual Warfare Strategies and Occultic operations of witches, warlock, and workers of iniquity? Have you ever been deceived into participating in evil works against someone out of judgement, dislike and / or offense at the person? Have you ever committed to a wrong approach or strategy in a group setting even though it went against your core beliefs? If you answered yes to any of these questions or are not sure keep reading… This is a conversation that has been needed for a while, but has not really been discussed as directly or openly in recent years.

In the United States of America we are approaching the one year anniversary (if you can call it that) of the January 6th Insurrection of the US Capitol building in Washington DC. This attempted coup from the former US president not only shook the nation, but it sent a strong signal around the world concerning the moral and ethical decline of the political system in the United States. It was something that had never been done to the level, scale and fierceness in our nation’s history. The amount of disrespect, violent threat, and pure insanity that took place leading up to and on that day is something that I hope this nation never experiences again. So what does this have to do with Spiritual Warfare vs. Occultism? Where is there a connection? Well, let’s first look at who participated in this “Insurrection” and “attempted coup”. It was people on various levels of political leadership – including the former president, and all other types of people. Wealthy people, who could afford to travel across the nation to attend the rallys and the storming of the US Capitol Building, militia groups that believed that they were “defending” the country from Joe Biden, from communist, from liberals, from whoever else they deemed a threat.And there were curious people who just wanted to show support for the former president…. This is actually the most dangerous group because they did not necessarily have premeditated plans to participate in an illegal breach of the US Capitol building and yet in the heat of the moment they joined in. With all of the fallout from the destructive activities on that day many people who participated, still maintain that they did nothing wrong and that they are in fact heroes for doing what they did. This article is not about the motivations and intentions behind the January 6th Insurrection, but it uses that event to show an extreme outcome when people become indoctrinated into occult agendas with the pretext being something that sounds good or just. 

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

As Christians in Westernized modern churches, there is a lot of power, influence, and flexibility that is displayed and practiced as part of a social norm. When one of the world’s “superpowers” is a Christian nation the opportunity to show the world what “One nation under God” looks and operates like is tremendous. However in recent times can we really say that the reign and rule of God is really being expressed in our nation? The people who seem to portray themselves as doing God’s work seem the most combative, willfully ignorant, and stubbornly committed to strategies that do not work for all, only those in their group. This raises the questions: Are we really adhering to the principles of the Bible? Is love truly the motivating factor moving things behind the scenes? Is this the way that Jesus would actually handle things? Has Christianty become a political movement – making the same mistake as the children of Israel? Wanting a natural King/President to fight our battles instead of our Heavenly Father? Can people tell the difference between right and wrong anymore? 

In the last ten to 15 years there has been a mass exodus of people leaving the Church (not necessarily Christianity) that very few have been willing to address. It may be that regardless of the increased focus on creating relationships and trying to get people to stay connected with study groups and service ministries that the love that attracted them is now waning. The truth is that many practices in local and international churches are not scriptural and end up wounding, discouraging, and even turning people off from even wanting to be a Christian. There is misplaced passion and enthusiam that would allow a person to in religious righteousness fiercely oppose abortion rights to the point of not being able to love or accept a woman who has made that choice at some point in her life into the body of Christ. Can a person who stands for such morally just causes love and accept a person who has fallen short or has differing views on those topics? It’s what Jesus would have done, so why is the Church having a hard time with this?…  

Photo by Amanda Klamrowski on Pexels.com

Rejection and Shaming as a “Spiritual Warfare” tactic?

In every church congregation, local or international, there is going to be a time when a member falls short, backslides, or commits an abominable sin. In some cases, it may not be that the member is actively committing sin, but it was a part of their past that has come to light. How is the church supposed to respond? Should everyone gossip about the person, but act like they don’t know anything when they encounter the person? Should the sermon be about the sin that this person is accused of to show the congregation that this church will not tolerate that type of sinfulness and to put pressure on that person to come forward in repentance? Should the person who is now known by their sin (and not much else) be given a code name so that they can be reviled publicly without censorship? Should the atmosphere of that assembly become so hostile toward the person that has fallen that they see no other recourse but to leave— and in most cases never come back? Oftentimes using these ungodly tactics to “deal” with a church member’s sin (actual, perceived, or accused) is seemingly justified by the scripture 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 in which ends by encouraging the church at Corinth to “ Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” This is the scripture that makes it seem like it is the “right thing to do” when dealing with a church member’s sin. What most people seem to miss is the context of this scripture. This scripture is talking about people who are unrepentant and flagrantly expressing their sinful lifestyle among other believers, possibly becoming a stumbling block for them. This person that needs to be removed has no intention of following God’s plan for holiness and consecration. It is possible that the person has already been confronted (in love) about their sin and they have no desire to change. At this point it makes no sense to keep fellowship with someone who has clearly shown that they are not in agreement. The point of that scripture is to

cut ties with an unrepentant sinner. While the scripture does say that, it also says that before taking such measures that the person in question should first be lovingly confronted privately by a church leader, giving that person an opportunity to acknowledge, explain, and repent for any transgression. 

Matthew 18:15-18

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector

This is an important step because depending on where that person is in there relationship with Christ they may not know that what they have done or are doing is sinful, they may know they are wrong but need support to change, or they may have already repented and had no idea that their past sin was publicly being held against them. It would also show that person that they are cared for beyond their performance as Christian in that fellowship. This approach seems like it is rarely done, although it is entirely scriptural. The same ministers who do not feel comfortable confronting someone about their “personal business” are often the same ones who will publicly “dog whistle” to shame, blame, and put pressure on a person without having to name them. Doing things like that is an occult practice. Occult in the most basic definition means hidden. It is not OK to not be willing to directly address a person about something that pertains to them, and yet publicly speak on that issue – covertly referring to that person specifically, all under the guise of warning, teaching, or any other virtuous cause. Matthew 18:15-18 says that only after the person has been privately confronted, then addressing them with a few witnesses, after that then publicly – again with the intent to lead the person to repentance and ultimately reconciliation. If that person publicly refuses to repent, only then are they supposed to be asked not to participate any more, until they are ready to repent. Even if things were to get to this point, there is nowhere mentioned at all that shaming, and mistreating that person out of judgement would be OK for church leadership or the other congregation members to do. More likely the congregation would be spurred on by their leaders to intercede for their lost member and to prepare a warm welcome for that person’s return. 

Why would this be the model that the church is supposed to follow? It is because none of us, despite our best effort, is infallible. It is primary that the love of Christ is clearly shown and known by all involved. It is to defeat Satan’s attempt to cause one of God’s chosen to be led out of the Body of Christ and into his camp. All people have certain vices and temptations that cause them to fall, people also have varying tolerance of rejection and rebuke. Many of the people who get treated with shame and rejection at church not only leave that particular church, but may also end up leaving Christianity as well. In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul advises that a father should not provoke his child to sin/wrath. 

Ephesians 6:4 (NLT)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

This is such an interesting statement because most of western culture highlights submission and respect to authority figures and leaders but neglect to teach leaders to care for and deal justly with their subordinates. This requires an amount of mercy that most of us are not used to see being expressed between father and son, or leader and subordinate.

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Refusing to welcome in a “known” sinner into the fellowship as a spiritual warfare tactic?

There are people who are dangerous and there are people who are scared. There are people who are not easily read, and people who do not like uncertainty. There are people who are “wild cards” and people who play it safe. What usually happens is that a person who is cautious and sticks to what historically has worked in the past is promoted to a place of influence. Their reputation for consistency and keeping traditions attributes to that person wisdom and discernment, when actually they are only working at keeping things the same with little to no growth.This trusted leader now is threatened by anyone who makes waves, desires change, or is flowing with vibrancy and freshness. Instead of trying something new, the tradition is exalted and made an idol – daring anyone to defy it, Or the change is half-heartedly attempted, sabotaged, and caused to miserably fail, only to have everyone agree that the old way is better.

Anyone who is different, expresses desire to improve or change things, or has an untested approach is now a target, an enemy, someone not to be trusted in the leaderships’ eyes. Most people are not finding anything wrong with that person and are finding the new ideas refreshing. So now the “target / enemy” must be exposed as someone not to trust. This strategy keeps the current leadership looking flawless and infallible in their subordinates eyes, while doing irreparable damage to the target’s reputation, credibility, trustworthiness, and public acceptance. No one wants to listen to a sinner’s ideas about holiness, ministry, following Christ, etc.. How dare they… this sinner who did (whatever sin that is being held against them – actual, perceived, or accused) have the nerve to try to tell me how to follow Jesus…. etc. After this strategy is employed the previous strategy of rejection and shaming can ensue further ending the chance of that person’s ideas for change, growth, revival, etc. to ever see the light of day. 

How does Jesus engage with “known” sinners? When Jesus encountered Zacheus, a tax collector who was reviled by his local community because of his cheating, stealing,and immoral financial dealings, He called out to him and asked to come to his house (Luke 19). Zacheus had over taxed the people to boost his income and build his own wealth at the expense of people who were already financially oppressed. The people had a good reason for not liking or trusting Zacheus, his bad character and unscrupulous dealings were known. Yet when Jesus saw him up in the tree, He called out to him to host Him at his home. Out of all of the people who were present, most of whom were not as poorly regarded as Zacheus, Jesus invited Himself to a known sinner’s house for dinner. Jesus did not go to Zacheus’ house with intent to spy and gather damning information about him to present to the people that already despised him. Jesus did not get to Zacheus house and start lecturing him on what he needed to change and why he wasn’t measuring up. Jesus did not seek to capitalize off of Zacheus’ wealth and indulge by taking all of the luxurious goods He and the disciples could carry. No, He went so that he could get to know Zacheus, and more importantly Zacheus could know Him. Jesus chose to intimately fellowship with someone that no one wanted associations with. As a result, Zacheus, under no pressure or obligation from Jesus, repented and changed his whole life. He gave away his expensive possessions, and gave money back to those he overcharged. He did this all in response to the love that Jesus showed him. It made the old way he was living not worth it anymore. The void that he attempted to fill with ill gotten possessions and wealth was now filled with the love of God. 

When Jesus encountered a person who’s faith believed that a miracle could be achieved in a way that Jesus had not operated before, He was amazed! In Luke 7:1-9, an account of a Centurion who sought Jesus to heal his servant is told. Jesus and the disciples began to make the journey to the Centurion’s home, however they were stopped by the Centurion because he did not feel that his home was worthy for Jesus to enter. Instead, he asked Jesus to try something new and instead of going in person to heal the servant, but instead to simply speak a word concerning healing the servant and it would be done. Jesus did not challenge the man by asking him how he was sure it would work. He did not warn the Centurion that doing something different would be a great risk. Jesus did not even mention that going in person was the way that He usually healed people. Jesus’ response was amazement. He marveled at the man’s faith, trust, and respect in His ability to heal. The Centurion also revealed that his military training gave him insight to the way that the spiritual realm operates as well. Not only was Jesus blown away by this man’s idea, He not only liked it, He executed it immediately! In the Modern Church it could be a bit unrealistic to use this scripture as a comparison, however it still provides the model of how Jesus did not let tradition or comfort zones cause him to miss out on an opportunity to heal a person by doing something that He had not done before. Jesus was open to fresh, new, and slightly challenging ideas. He was not threatened by another person’s suggestion on how He conducted ministry. This story is a great example of true freedom in trying something new. There is absolutely no fear or anxiety expressed in this story at all, apart from the Centurion’ humility towards Jesus.

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Humiliation and Embarrassment as a Spiritual Warfare tactic?

If it hasn’t happened to you so far you are blessed, but if you live long enough it will happen, there will be something that you did, experienced, or was a part of your life that will embarrass you. It could be a funny picture from your childhood or a story of an experience that would love to forget ever happened, etc. In many cases, regardless of the way it makes us feel, it’s pretty harmless, right? You know that whoever is bringing up those embarrassing moments is just playfully teasing, not intending to harm you right?…Or are they? What if someone who opposes you decided to silence you through humiliation and embarrassment? Regardless of the severity of the embarrassment, the effect is always the same. People draw back, do not want to be publically humiliated, become withdrawn, and in many cases feel attacked. Even if it is a playful gesture, the pressure of it all seems surreal in that moment. Depending on what it is, some people can laugh it off, make an explanation for it, or shrug it off, downplaying it like it is no big deal. Amongst family and friends, these are the types of responses that would be expected. However if the campaign to embarrass you comes from someone you formerly trusted, confided in, or has shown themselves to be an enemy, it is no laughing matter.

Why do people share embarrassing things about other people? It could just be immaturity and lack of discretion. It could be for shock value, to gain popularity by doing or sharing something that breaks the boundaries of all that is decent. It could be that the person sharing just thinks it is funny and wants others to be in on the joke (at your expense). Or the worst possible scenario, that person is desiring to destroy the reputation, credibility, access to opportunity, and any chance of success for that person,

In some families, friendships, and even cultures privacy is not a thing. Everybody knows everybody’s business and that is how they like it. The open and transparent policy may work for some, but will probably not work for most, even those who say they agree with it, It is not abnormal to have parts of your life that is not for public access, however with increased technology to spy, gather information, monitor, and track people without their consent or knowledge it is very difficult to maintain privacy nowadays. Socially the attitude towards privacy has shifted and people now feel that they have the right to know about the private life of leaders, entertainers, and basically anyone who does anything publicly. Smear campaigns used to be only reserved for high profile politicians and entertainment elite, now it could happen to anyone. On the flip side, what is equally disturbing is the people who will only show and acknowledge  the positive attributes and qualities of the person they are loyal to. This has to be mentioned because this extreme may actually be more dangerous than smearing a person who is disliked. Ignoring the character flaws while only acknowledging positive traits of leadership is part of the failure that led to the Insurrection of January 6th. 

Let’s be honest – humor, even the type that humiliates people, is something that most of us indulge in from time to time. There is communication of other ideas and relevant points that remind us of what we believe in, even as we laugh. There are whole comedy shows that consistently challenge the social and political justice issues of our time and I do not believe that these are inherently evil. However when the strategy is to “make an open show of’ someone to prove a point – Jesus is not in any of that. The Bible says that Jesus made an open show of Satan and his legions – not a human person. This “open show” took place in the spiritual realm and was expressed to us to be a testimony of the glory and power of Jesus Christ. It was not a scripture that gave permission for us to mistreat, abuse, or actively humiliate another human being – even one we don’t like or perceived as evil. Yes, Jesus did this to Satan, however He did not – despite all of the opportunities He had – ever do this to a fellow human being. 

When the Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus (John 8:1-11) – in a place publicly before a group where Jesus was teaching. They not only exposed her sinful act, they more than likely exposed her nakedness as well because she was “caught in the act”, and made a death threat over her life in an attempt to expose Jesus as not following the ten commandments. This group of men were spiritual and community leaders who set themselves before the people as examples of holiness and godliness. Yet when Jesus made His response: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” not one of those men had a rock or even a pebble to throw.

How did Jesus respond to the woman that the Pharisees used to humiliate, embarrass, accuse, and “make an open show” of? He gently addressed the woman and admonished her to essentially repent – to not sin anymore. Jesus’ response was so simple, so pure, and so full of love. Even this woman who was caught in a sinful covenant breaking sexual sin was not treated harshly by Jesus. He not only cared for her, He cared for her soul and offered her the opportunity to repent and reclaim her right standing with God. The Pharisees attempted to make her sin and the law the issue, however if sin was truly the focus of this scripture wouldn’t the writer have given us a follow up on whether or not the lady stopped sinning? The focus of the passage is the Christ-like way to respond to those who have fallen and to acknowledge that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If you think about it, even Jesus’ response to the Pharisees was loving. He didn’t drag all of their skeletons out of their closets and publicly humiliate them, the way that they desired to harm that woman. He could have cut each one down to size and been completely justified to do so, but He chose love and to have each Pharisee measure their own godliness by the same standard that they placed on the adultress. 

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Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, and the examples He gave to us are what we should follow. It is easy to get caught up in Groupthink, or following secular approaches, however, the Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a path that seems right but ends in destruction (death). I don;t know about you, but I pray to God in Jesus name that I do not find myself in hell after following a path labeled righteousness. Yes, we are supposed to hate what God hates, and love what God loves, however that is not with exclusivity to a certain group or ideology, This means that even when we believe that we are hating what God hates, we may find opposing arguments that believe the same – they are hating what God hates. We can not use that argument to mistreat, abuse, hate, or hold the opposers in contempt. We are to follow Jesus’ example and if there is no specific scenario in the Bible that addresses what we are facing, we seek the Lord for direction, not assuming that what was historically done in the past is the correct recourse. For every situation Jesus is always going to choose love, acceptance (of people to give the opportunity to repent), and reconciliation. This is the reason that He gave His life, to bring us all into right standing with God hoping that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

Thank you for reading to this point. If you still have doubts about being led into occultism – ungodly hidden agendas, when you are actually seeking righteousness and holiness, take some time to study what Jesus is like from the accounts of His works in the New Testament. There are other resources that teach about Jesus and Christian principles as well, however keep the Bible as your foundational reference and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the heart of Father God and the ways of Jesus Christ.

P.S.- A former sinner who repented and was saved by Jesus’ grace wrote this.

Blessings with Love,

Dionne Renae

Sources

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Excommunication https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/1-Corinthians/5/13

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Excommunication

The Holy Bible

Jezebel & The Big Lie

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Ecclesiastes 1:8-10

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

8 All things are weary with toil and all words are feeble; man cannot utter it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

9 The thing that has been—it is what will be again, and that which has been done is that which will be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there a thing of which it may be said, See, this is new? It has already been, in the vast ages of time [recorded or unrecorded] which were before us.

There is nothing new under the sun… this is usually said concerning the irony of a circumstance or cynically as a reminder of an ongoing and continuous situation that has not been resolved yet. So many examples of strategic political maneuvers that seem shockingly new to many of us are usually just a reverberation that echoes the actions of political leaders of the past. Indeed there is nothing new under the sun… 

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A while back I wrote a blog post that encouraged all who read it to “Take a Moment” to reflect upon the goodness of the Lord working in our lives that can be overshadowed by the persistent and problemsome challenges that we may be currently facing. This is to acknowledge the goodness of God and to express our gratefulness and thanks to Him. This is also to fulfill the biblical mandate to acknowledge Him in all our ways. Putting to practice the example that Joshua set by keeping the Lord in our remembrance, not forgetting the previous times of rescue and deliverance, blessing and provision, and His presence that never leaves nor forsakes us. Historically, keeping in mind the significant things that occurred in our lifetime and generations before will help us learn and grow from those lessons. This is not the same as harassing and shaming a person, people group, or even those in influential positions to enact a false justice and punishment scenario, this is to empower those who have access to power and influence to make righteous and Godly decisions that will bless all and give room for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (AMP) states: Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

This requires us to keep our gaze upon the Heavenly Father and be attentive to what He is doing more than focusing on the evil and wickedness that seems to be taking center stage lately.

What does any of this have to do with “The Big Lie”? As mentioned earlier in this post, there truly is nothing new under the sun. For anyone who has somehow avoided watching the news or are not familiar with current US politics, The Big Lie refers to the ongoing attempt to reinstate the former US president back into office under the false pretense that election fraud, ultimately a cheating scheme, has occured to cause him to lose the last US Presidential election. This lie has wasted taxpayers money on unnecessary investigations, election audits and recounts, and baseless lawsuits tying up the time, energy, resources and attention away from critical issues that need to be addressed like helping the country overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment, the housing crisis, climate change, and decaying infrastructure that is vital for so many systems that we depend on to work. One thing that has been abused and manipulated during the fall out of The Big Lie is our attention, aka media coverage. Have you ever watched a news clip or read a news article and feel like you were assaulted or attacked? Not because the content was in opposition to what you believe or stand for, but because of the graphic and explicit images or descriptions of what was being covered? This is not a complaint about modern journalism per se, it is more of a diagnosis of underlying issues that arise from it. The main issue – especially in the context of The Big Lie- is the strategy of misdirection. 

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Misdirection is sometimes defined “as the intentional deflection of attention for the purpose of disguise” (Sharpe, 1988, p. … 6), More precisely, successful misdirection might manipulate not only people’s perceptions, but their memory for what happened, or their reasoning about how the effect was done. Dec 9, 2014 from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01392/full

Just to clarify, misdirection like many strategic maneuvers is not inherently evil or wrong to use, there are times when even misdirection can be helpful or useful in a positive way. For example, distracting a child with a favorite toy or funny song when he/she is getting a shot at a doctor’s office, or taking a friend out to a comedy show to help him/her cope with a breakup or some other crisis… Nothing is wrong with that, because the intent is to benefit the person who is being misdirected. In most cases, however, the use of misdirection is not quite as innocent and well meaning. It actually is one of core practices in magic, the occult, witchcraft, cheating, pick pocketing/theft, etc. so I am by no means saying that misdirection should be practiced by Christians, or anyone really, but rather explaining that misdirection in itself is not explicitly good or evil, it is the intent of the person/organization/political party who is using it that determines its ethical and moral value in that application. In regards to The Big Lie, misdirection was at play, especially after the election and during the very publicized election recounts that delayed President Biden from accepting his win of the 2020 US Presidential Election and transitioning into his presidential duties in a timely and orderly manner. In fact, one could argue that the misdirection was the main factor that allowed the organizers of the January 6th 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol Building to be organized and executed covertly in the weeks that led up to that horrible event. Misdirection, regardless of the intent driving it, is an act of manipulation, control, and deception. The person misdirecting is influencing and affecting the outcome of a situation for their own purposes, thus creating an unfair advantage over those being misdirected. This is because those being misdirected, in most cases – think the child at the doctor’s office, do not seem to be aware that they are being misdirected or distracted away from anything at all. The person who was pickpocketed, usually doesn’t realize until much later, at an especially inconvenient time, that the item they are looking for has been stolen from them. In movies, a person realizes right away and screams and points after the thief, sometimes actually recovering their stolen wallet, money, cell phone, etc.. In real life it usually does not happen that way, that person may not even realize that their item was stolen. They might think that they misplaced it or that it is in a different location. And of course the thief gets away with it… Even if someone realizes the moment and even narrows down the suspects to the person who did it, it is very difficult to track down the person and recover the item. Indeed, misdirection is dangerous.

What does The Big Lie have to do with the evil queen Jezebel from the Bible? With all of the teachings and materials written about Jezebel, the evil queen married to ancient Israel’s king Ahab, and the corresponding “spirit of Jezebel”, recognizing when and who this spirit is working through still seems to be a problem for many people. Many teachings characterize the spirit of Jezebel as a spirit that manifests through women. While it is true that the person Jezebel was a woman, the suite of spirits attributed to her have no gender preference. They seek people of influence and power (to use them – not attack them), therefore many people can come under the manipulation of this evil spirit. The other issue is that while some ministers love to teach and preach on Jezebel, they rarely or briefly mention Ahab. Without Ahab, Jezebel would have never gotten to the height of power that she reached. Ahab is characterized as an enabler to Jezebel, however he was very much the king of Israel and was wicked regardless of being married to the idol worshipping priestess Jezebel. More biblical accounts in 1 Kings mention Ahab rather than Jezebel, however she is the one that seems to be focused on the most because of her encounter with the Prophet Elijah. Spiritually Jezebel and Ahab could be spirits working independently of each other in separate people, or both can use one person at the same time, which makes this so diabolical in regards to The Big Lie.

The whole 21st chapter of 1 Kings (for those who like prophetic numbers note the 21st chapter and 2021 the year of The Big Lie) recounts a story involving none other than Ahab and Jezebel misbehaving. It all starts with Ahab noticing a vineyard that belongs to Naboth the Jezreelite that he desires to use as a garden. This desire that Ahab has to obtain to create a garden is not evil, it is actually interesting that he was even wanting to do something like that (in my opinion). However Naboth really was not interested in turning the land over to Ahab at any price because the land had been in his family for generations and therefore it was priceless to his family and future generations. Ahab drove a hard bargain, he offered Naboth a higher price or even a different piece of land, but Naboth would not sell out. Leaving this situation without getting what he wanted, Ahab returns home deflated and sullen. When his wife Jezebel notices how Ahab is not in a happy mood, she inquires about what is bringing him down. When she learns of Naboth refusing to sell his vineyard to Ahab, she devises a plan to get the vineyard for her husband. She calls for a fast and advises the elders to bring Naboth before the people. She also hires two “Sons of Belial,” – satan worshippers, to publicly accuse Naboth of the crime of cursing and renouncing God and the king of Israel (Ahab). When all of the people fast, and gather with the elders bringing Naboth before them (a false trial), the two hired by Jezebel raise up accusations against Naboth. The charges brought against Naboth carried the penalty of death. The people/mob decided that Naboth was guilty and they swiftly carried him out of the city limits and stoned him to death. When the word came back to Jezebel that the “deed” was done, she told Ahab and he quickly went to claim the vineyard. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2021&version=KJV,AMPC

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SimilaritiesJezebel and Ahab 1 Kings 21The Big Lie 2021
Conspiracy to obtain what was not lawfully theirsNaboth’s VineyardUS Presidency – political power
False TrialThe elders gathered the people for a fastMultiple false trials to attempt to overturn the election results
Hired criminals to obstruct justiceTwo sons of BelialMultiple firings of high government officials replaced with hirlings in agreement with the conspiracy
Inciting violenceThe false trial caused the nation to sin by stoning innocent Naboth to deathJanuary 6th Insurrection & attacks on state capitals
Misdirection to cover true intentions to steal what they wantCalled for an unnecessary trial & raised accusations against someone they did not likeMocking and accusing any potential threat or person who publicly opposes The Big Lie
Causing the death of innocent personNabothThe officers that died or were injured protecting the US Capital
Using the faithfulness of the people to carry out evil plansThe elders and the people of Israel were incited to become a mob that killed NabothCalling out national extremist groups with “dog whistles” and direct calls for action
Being ok with taking something that is not rightfully theirsAhab rushing to claim Naboth’s family vineyardContinuous claims that the former president actually won the election and calls for reinstatement.
Similarities between Jezebel & The Big Lie

Obviously, this table could go on and on with similarities between what is occurring in our lifetime in US politics versus the ancient reign of Ahab and Jezebel. This table was created to clearly correlate how the spirits of Jezebel and Ahab work in real life. So many times these spirits are referenced to mock, shame, and belittle people that do not actually exhibit the characteristics or manifest the workings of these spirits. Of course the main reason is to help us all be aware of the evil operating in the highest political positions of power in our nation. Intercessors, this can be used as a supplement to your prayer list also prophets and apostles, this can be used to inform the people of God and to train and equip leaders. 

As I conclude this post, I realized that regardless of how clearly this information was presented there are going to be people who do not agree or question my intent for posting it. Let me be crystal clear: I have absolutely nothing to gain by posting this other than sharing a prophetic perspective on The Big Lie. I am not getting any money or compensation from this, and no one put me up to writing this. Posting this in many ways might not help me personally at all, yet it needs to be shared. AND if no one at all reads it, I am satisfied with expressing the perspective on this topic and that will be enough for me.

If you did actually read to this point in the post, please pray as led by the Lord concerning this and share it with those who would be interested in this perspective. Thank you for reading, praying & sharing!

Blessings Always ♥♥♥,

Dionne Renae

Such a Time as This

We now live in a time where it is becoming legal for oppression of African Americans, and really all people of color, in the United States of America. The hate and vitriol behind this political movement has been brewing and fermenting in the darkness of the right wing political ideology for decades, but is now frantically making power plays in the wake of recent political defeat. When laws are changed to disadvantage and criminalize a group of people based on racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural differences, it becomes clear that equality in justice and liberty does not appeal to those making the laws. Laws that make it more difficult to vote, laws that make protesting a criminal offense, and laws that target minority groups who are underrepresented and underserved are desperate attempts for elitists and white supremacists to cling to or (in their minds) possibly increase their power and privilege in the USA. 

This tactic to create laws that make it possible to disadvantage minority groups and even legalize causing them harm is not new at all. In fact it is one of the most ancient forms of oppression that has ever existed. Even the Holy Bible has examples of this  being done against the Children of Promise, the nation of Israel. In the book of Esther, a plot to wipe out all Israelites out of the Persian Empire was signed into law by King Ahasuerus at the conniving of one of his most trusted servants Haman. Haman decided that he did not like Israelites because Modecai, who worked for the king as well, did not bow to him or feed into his illusions of grandeur. Mordecai placed his God as the highest authority and did not become intimidated by self important Haman. Mordecai must not have been the only Isarelite practicing their faith, because the Israelites were distinguish throughout the Persian empire for a similar level of devotion to God.This irritated Haman to the point of devising a murderous scheme to rid himself of this consecrated remnant once and for all. This is similar to what is happening today not just in the USA, but all over the world. Haman is rising – showing his true agenda to keep privilege and power above those he sees as less than. He holds this as more important than honor, truth, love, and democracy. He believes in freedom of speech, for those that express his views and sentiments only. He believes that freedom should be for his kind, and is not worried about people who are not like him. In fact, he actually hates those “others” and is not shying away anymore from saying and showing so. Haman is a racist. Haman is a hater. And if allowed Haman would have been a Murderer. In fact, according to Jesus’ teaching Haman had already committed murder in his heart by even wanting to see another human suffer and die. 

One thing that was never made clear in the Book of Esther is why King Ahasuerus had not realized what a creep Haman was before he was exposed by Queen Esther. This always was bothersome, knowing that someone that spineless was thriving in a position of power next to the king.Unfortunately, a lot of people who say that they are “down with the King” don’t seem to recognize Haman’s work and influence. They actually tend to sympathize with him and offer to share his burden. It is possible that they can not recognize Haman as an enemy, because Haman is “one of the boys” – just like them. How many politicians’ and law enforcement officers’ true colors are being revealed in this day and time? How many more are hiding out behind their titles and duties, before coming forward with a power play of destruction against the very people that they are in office to serve? When will Mordecai stop being targeted? When will Queen Esther take her place for such a time as this? The question of who Queen Esther really is in our day and time needs to be asked. It seems obvious to me that the Bride of Christ, the Church should represent the character of Queen Esther in our time. She was cautious yet courageous, tactful yet truthful, venerable yet virtuous, meek yet mighty – this is what the Body of Christ should be! Unfortunately, some from Haman’s camp have intermingled with the Bride and have corrupted and defiled her with the illusion of prestige and entitlement. 

A look to the past- Before slavery was abolished in the United States, there was a great controversy amongst free white men. At the time they were the only ones granted the right to vote and organize government (which explains a lot of things). Most of these men proclaimed to be Christian in faith, yet a majority of them were also slave holders. A Christian denomination called the Quakers (who believed in adhering to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus), began to examine slavery in light of what the Christian Bible teaches. What they found, was that slavery did not hold up as a Christian practice and the brutality of how it was conducted in America was in no way justified by what the Bible teaches. These Quakers, both men and women, decided to denounce slavery, repent, and began assisting slaves and even free African Americans leave the slavery of the south and start new lives in the Northern states and eventually Canada as well. The Quakers, like Queen Esther, realized that they were in a “such a time as this” moment and took action. They did not make excuses, cling to privilege, wealth, or advantage/protection under the law to give themselves a reason to not do anything. They were not satisfied with having all that they needed and wanted, while knowing that another HUMAN BEING was being oppressed, mistreated, regarded as less, and in some cases mutilated, tortured, and lynched. They did not hide away, ignoring what was happening and just praising God for “me and mine.” They made a difference in the lives of those who escaped and those who attempted to escape, sometimes paying for it with their own safety and reputation. This is not to diminish the awesome and inspiring impossible feats that were accomplished by African Americans of that time who also played key roles in liberating the enslaved. The point is that regardless of skin color, privilege, and power the Bride of Christ does not tolerate Haman’s manipulation of justice and liberty. The Bride does not sit around complaining about the disturbance that is caused by protest, and speaking out against injustice. The Bride of Christ, like Queen Esther, does not have to threaten, intimidate, wield weapons, scheme or conive to accomplish her goal to protect and liberate her people. 

Happy Ending? Spoiler Alert: The conclusion of the Book of Esther describes how the tables were turned and that wicked Haman was hanged on the very gallows he prepared for Mordecai. The Israelites were able to defend themselves, and began to prosper in the Persian Empire. Queen Esther no longer had to hide her faith in God from the king, and for the most part they lived happily ever after. How is it going to end for Haman in the USA? In North Korea? In Belarus? In the Republic of China? How is Haman going to be overthrown in Africa, Brazil, India and Australia? Where is the Bride? Is she too consumed with looking the part for the Groom King Jesus or is she really ready to be His eternal partner? Is the Bride of Christ out shopping for a wedding gown instead of recognizing that she is in a “such a time as this moment”? Has the Bride become smitten with Haman and is having an affair with him? What’s up with the Global Church? Of course COVID 19 is still a distraction, and some of the interpretations of what was going to happen ;last political season has gotten her off her game, but come on now… Hopefully, better yet, Prayerfully she will not miss her moment to take down Haman and all of his wicked murderous schemes. 

I decided not to make a historical list of people who acted in a similar fashion as Haman from the Book of Esther, that would be distracting from the main point of this blog post.The point is that there is a way to execute justice as Christians without misrepresenting the God we serve and the principles that we believe in. This also is to show that a person with a title is not running the show. No matter what laws are signed in or manipulative measures to obstruct equality and justice for all are put in place, as long Esther recognizes that she needs to take action, Haman will always be overthrown! Esther received wise counsel from Mordecai, prayed/ interceded for the nation, fasted, and courageously approached the king knowing it may cost her life. What passion and humility she displayed. My prayer is that we will show up the same way and recognise these times for what they are, take action as led by God, and not become Haman’s victims this time around.

Blessings Always,

Dionne Renae