Monday, July 9, 2012

We’ve all known someone who is manipulative and controlling. There’s a good chance you work for someone like that, are related to someone like that, or--perhaps--you are such a person yourself. Though there’s nothing wrong with a Type-A personality, there are times when such dominating characteristics are unhealthy, and become a monster of their own.
Enter Confronting Jezebel: Discerning and Defeating the Spirit of Control by Steve Sampson. This revised and expanded edition sets out to help readers understand how to recognize this type of person, how this person operates, and how to fight back spiritually.  

Mr. Sampson explains that the Jezebel spirit, coined after the wicked wife of King Ahab in I Kings, can operate through either a male or female. The controlling spirit is no respecter of persons--and usually the person themselves is no respecter of anyone but their ego.
The person that lusts for control uses a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. If they can create a little fan club of their own, they will use their minions to cause strife and division for them, while they can keep their hands clean and seem like a bystander in the fray. 
“A Jezebel never works alone; she is most effective with an Ahab at her side to enable the evil spirit to operate fully. ...the clear battle with the Jezebel principality is always over the dominion of people.” (pg. 21).
Sadly, this type of person doesn’t just operate in the world. In fact, the insidious spirit is all too willing to slip into a church and begin dismantling it. A Jezebel will appear very religious. In Revelation 2:20 the Lord describes her with these words, “she calls herself a prophetess.” 
I chose this book to review (offered in exchange for my honest opinion from Chosen Books) because I have a Jezebel in my life that I have to deal with. Unfortunately, this controlling type of personality is prolific. There is likely someone coming to mind while you are reading this review. 
Confronting Jezebel has helped to bring some clarity to the problem, as well as give solid instruction for those that have to interact with this type of spirit. Although Mr. Sampson falls more on the Charismatic side in some of his theology, it is still a good resource for anyone facing this issue. 

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.