The resources section has ideas/links for left behind packages

November 5, 2014

I'd like to share a dream with you about a creature that is very stealthy, very insidious, evil and has far reaching effects in our personal lives and in our ministries. Even in our walk with the Lord. This is a dream that I had 35 years ago. It was a warning dream that the Lord gave me when I became a Christian.

Just to give you a bit of background, my mother was a makeup artist and my father was a very well known designer in Chicago. I was a professional nature photographer. I was a lover of beauty. I loved all the things that are in nature that God created. I wasn't a Christian then but I would seek out beauty and I enjoyed it as a career for me.

One night I had a dream that I was swimming in a lake and the water was warm, wonderful, and inviting. All of a sudden this black panther emerged out of the water and viciously grabbed hold of me and pushed me under the water in an attempt to drown me. This creature was immensely powerful. I was out of my league. I fought it with all that I had. I pushed myself back up and I pushed it down. I forced it down under the water and I could only hold it down for a short amount of time. Then it got control of me again and held me down. I thought I was going to die. I couldn't fight free from this black panther. I came back up out of the water and I pushed it back down. This went on for a long time in my dream. Finally, I had pushed this creature down and I was completely exhausted and I couldn't see it anywhere. There was no guarantee that this creature was dead. I woke up from this dream in that state. I pushed it under water but I didn't know if it was really dead.

It was many years before I understood the true meaning of that dream. As I struggled as a Christian, I was very much into clothing, looking nice, dressing my family nicely, hair and makeup...all of that. I came in to being a Christian from a more earthy, natural background but because of the way the people dressed in church I thought, 'Well, since I'm going to be a Christian, I'll dress like them, too.' And I really went out of my way to fit in as far as fashion goes with my clothing, my house décor, my children, my husband, and everything. It soon became obvious that I was spending a lot of time on that and it was taking a lot of my attention and resources. It was taking attention away from my prayer life, from my relationship with the Lord, my children, and my husband. There was this driving force in me to have beautiful things and to be well dressed.

Finally, I made a break from this thing. Through God's Grace I made a tremendous victory over this. I totally left the world behind. I left everything behind and took on a very simple, pure life which brought me so much closer to the Lord and my children. Then the Lord called me back into the world to do a few other things. We had lived on the mountains in a cabin in a very remote area. He called me back into the world, so to speak, with a new freedom. I had a freedom to not be so into bondage with all of these things like how you look, how you dress, and so on but it started to seep in again. This is when I realized the black panther was this lust for beautiful things. This creature I thought I had killed came up again and I had to deal with it again and kill it again, again, and again.

It would surface in little ways. I became fascinated in working with some of my precious gemstones and bracelets. I became fascinated with spinning wool and weaving. Here is the diabolic nature of this drive: let's say I get everything under control, then I would get an urge to start cooking and to make better meals. Almost gourmet meals, you could say. The Lord would instruct me and I would get a hold of myself. I would think, 'Oh boy, that's another side track.' Then I would get into physical fitness and then that would take me over. What it really boils down to is a lust for the things of this world.

It doesn't matter what form these things take. As long as they take you away from Jesus and the really important things in your life, like your family and your ministry. Guys, you're not exempt either. It could be hunting, fishing, working on cars and in your shop, or taking up body building. As long as it takes you away from the things that are important and dominates your schedule. All of us are prone to these evictions. That's the black panther.

For many of us, the only way to conquer this strong force in our lives is by the Grace of God - we recognize it for what it is. All that Satan is concerned about is that you're taken off track and you don't fulfill your destiny. So, he'll find a million different ways to appeal to your fleshly nature and get you so deeply involved in these obscure things. And they'll have nothing to do with the Lord, or at least it will put the Lord in a little box. You'll spend time with the Lord on your spare time, instead of Him being the central core of your life and existence. The devils know that a good person can't be drawn off into doing bad things that easily, but they can be drawn off doing things that look good and seem beneficial - but are still off course. That could even apply to church ministry. If the Lord didn't ordain it and didn't call you to it, Satan is using it to pull you off track and keep you from your true destiny.

Little did I know that the Lord had called me to be a minister and a musician. He gave me a prophetic gift as well. I didn't have time for that, because I was so taken up with other things. As I matured, He revealed to me in my late 50's that I was to sing, compose, write music, to play the piano, and to minister to the Body. He showed me that my heart was in helping other people in ministering in the Body. I had to put all these other loves to death and let go of them; never to pick them up again. The beautiful gift He gave me... I can't even begin to tell you what a wonder and a joy it is to be given music from Heaven and be able to execute it! So much prayer has gone into that, because I wasn't skilled in that at all. These were totally new gifts that brought so much satisfaction and deep fulfillment into the true calling of my life. But they were blocked before by a lust for superficial things. Even after all the experience I had had renouncing these things, they still came back up in my life. I still had a very strong attraction to them.

The reason I'm sharing this with you is that I see this very much in the church, in the ways that she emulates the world in clothing, building projects, and décor. There's so much competition, just when you walk in the door of the church; everyone is all dressed up, their hair is done, their makeup is perfect, and their children are perfect. It's like plastic cut-out Barbie's walking into church. A lot of time goes into perfecting that look. And houses that are just to the nines with beautiful drapes and furnishings, skylights, stain glass windows, art on the walls, and on and on. This is seen as an accomplishment and something that is to be applauded in the Christian body.

Compare that to the early days of the church when people were being martyred and their houses and everything they owned was being confiscated because they loved the Lord. They were willing to give their things up. It wasn't important to them, because their relationship with the Lord was everything. I believe that is one of the reasons the Lord is allowing in this country the deterioration of the financial system and eventually the Mark of the Beast; it's going to be either you have the mark and subscribe to the religious system or you don't get the mark and you can't have anything. You can't buy, sell, or own anything. That's really going to separate the ones that really love the Lord from the ones who love the world.

I believe we should start now detaching ourselves from the world, because it's coming, and not only that I don't believe we're going to be raptured if we are into the world's system on that level. These things will be happening to get us back to the Lord and what the Lord is all about and where our joy really comes from.

I also wanted to share this dream with you because this whole black panther is sleek, powerful, stealthy, and anything but stupid. These demons that cause us to buy into the world and to lust after the things of the world and the status the world has to offer are stealthy and cleaver. They know how to wrestle us down under the water to where we are smothered. Their life is smothered by their involvement in the world. People remain unsaved and ministries go unbirthed because a person has gotten involved in worldly things.

I have nothing against beauty. I know that in Heaven everything is going to be beautiful. But God has called us to be Holy and pure, not of the world, but in the world and to be an example. The last thing that we want to do is be in the grips of the black panther and lust, social status, pride, and the pride of life. This is a powerful force, and it can really destroy everything that God has put inside of you. Everything He has called you to do.

It has taken be 30 years to be totally free of it. I'm not going to claim that I'm totally free of it, because I could walk out of the door tomorrow and get hit with it. The Lord's grace, I believe, has distanced this from me to the point where I know better and I don't have a desire for these things. Every once in a while, something will come up, and I have to pray about it and ask the Lord to give me the grace. I don't want that. I want what you want and He will give me the grace and will deliver me from it.

I'm asking you, in a way, to please examine your life. Are you wasting your time on empty things? On beauty that can never satisfy? Feathering your nest or impressing people? There's nothing wrong with being simple and looking nice, but when you make an occupation and a lifestyle out of it, it eats you alive. It eats your time alive. What beautiful gifts for the Kingdom of God has the Lord placed inside of you that are not coming into fruition, because your time is tied in knots around all of this?

There's one other thing I want to say on this note and that's our lives have been very unusual. The Lord has made a straight way with crooked lines. The way He goes about doing things is pretty unique.

Sometime I'd like to share with you some of the methods of discernment that we use to determine if something is really the Lord's or if it's a distraction. I know most of you, if not all, have your own special ways of discerning, but you know it can get pretty tough sometimes. People around you can discourage you and throw you off course. We have to be connected to the Lord, have intimacy, and to be connected to the Holy Spirit and have wisdom in choosing the path of life that the Lord has laid out for us. Otherwise we can end up going in the wrong direction.

May the Lord be with you and shine His light on your path and protect you all of your days.

God bless you.