A Heart of Flesh

A Hard Day’s Work

Being mentally ill is a hard and dangerous journey.

I do not have the time to relate all that I have been up to this past day – or rather, I have much time but need to be resting and continuing my Bible study. At this present time I am having my stolen dinner 😉 and my borrowed chariot ( https://open.spotify.com/track/2jwQd3JoZk4obcyI18lMY9?si=jE1ylixPR92idPBMyeJp3Q ).

The journey this past day has been full of light and blessing. I received some hard discipline from dear brothers at church yesterday, both in the morning and evening. I am unsure if they realised how hard ot was or how fruitful it may prove to be. Who can truly know but God Himself? As for me I remember my prayer at the beginning of this journey: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Mental Illness and Fasting

Yet I suffer from a profound mental disorder. I began an Advent fast according in time to the Anglican calendar but according to strictness closer to a mix of Ethiopian Tewahedo and my own fleshly desires. According to the Eastern Orthodox teaching, the mentally ill are not only warned against the practice of fasting but are also usually precluded (forbidden) from doing so. During my period of Advent fast I spent much time in the psychiatric ward, and the resulting drunkeness on food, distressed souls I sought to help and the holiness of God within me caused great harm to those ill-equipped to cope. Yet my continuing hope, along with an intermittant faith and a love no-one really quite “gets” keeps me going. In short, I depend upon God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit and at times only brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends and allies are able to provide for my most basic and vital spiritual and bodily necessities.

The Struggle Within and the Struggle Without

What is your own struggle? Is it to maintain a faith amongst the righteous when you are a sinner? Is it to cope with a self-righteousness which only a brother can nail down rightly? Is it to cope with an indwelling sin or the sins which others have placed upon you? As the Apostle Paul says: “We have been crucified with Christ.”

In his book Slave by John MacArthur he writes:

Slaves of Christ are to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58), “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph 5:10), and ever seeking to understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17).

Slave by John MacArthur. Copyright 2010. Published by Thomas Nelson

The mentally disturbed can rightly be called slaves of Christ if they routinely confess their sins, seek to “fight the good fight of faith” and remain in fellowship with the brethren within the Church. Yet it is a battle. A huge battle.

Advice, Hope and Limitations Learnt

I was advised by a dear brother and sister yesterday about being careful about what I post online. I have now largely abandoned Twitter and abandoned YouTube, radio and television some time ago due to the temptations and false teachings they brought. Yet I know others can find comfort in those things. So who can truly judge? God, and He alone.

I spent some of the afternoon of Monday with some very ill people. There was a disabled person, some Down’s Syndrome people, some with learning disabilities and some I discerned were truly possessed by demons. Yet there were saints with me, in uniforms and out. Not all who belong to Christ confess Him openly. Some live in catacombs of the shadows. And that is the role of the mentally disturbed people of Christ.

Holiness and the Winding River of Mental Ill Health

We are, according to Jesus Christ Himself and the writings of many – though far from all – of the historical saints, called to live lives to holiness and undefiled purity. This is acheived through the Cross of Christ, yet, as a brother evangelist told me, sometimes this is an up then a down and sometimes a down then an up.

Sometimes for those with ceratin conditions the road is far more narrow and winding: a great river or a narrow stream; one which flows out into the Oceans of Faith rather than leading upstream to the pleasurable springs of pure refreshment. Remember that the rivers and streams and seas were not always as polluted as they are now and the rivers and oceans of the true Faith shall never be full of dead fish and bones but that even the sea shall give up her dead.

The ill, the demonic and the saints I had to leave be. I spoke words of confession to a friend and servant, words of comfort (I hope) to an employee and made and offer to give low paid casual labour in return for their kind shelter they have been and I hope shall continue to offer me.

And I met two true brothers this past day. One openly. One a beautiful surprise which prompted me to remember the poor I had been forced to pass by whilst in town earlier.

To Conclude

I end my day of work greatly blessed, still hungry, still drinking water, tea and coffee and still smoking tobacco (though less now that was the case yesterday). And so, with my confessions and, I hope and pray, my encouragements done, I shall now seek to continue my Bible study.

Spiritual Attack or Godly Discipline?

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The Apostle Paul speaks in his letters about coming under spiritual attack. He speaks in Ephesians about taking on the whole armour of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit. (ref: Ephesians 6:13-17)

Sometimes our trials and tribulations come from this. And yes, we should do battle, not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual wickedness. At other times our distresses come from a discipline for our own sins or weaknesses which need correction, as the Apostle Peter relates in one of his own letters. (I was told on the journey back from evening fellowship/teaching/prayer that this is likely 2 Peter.)

How do we discern between the two? I suspect that the truth is that they both run alongside each other. Every rod of discipline can be taken too far and received beyond its intended measure. This is an attack from the enemy. Not from people – though the wicked shall love to persecute the believers, especially those who are weak and isolated.

If at all possible seek fellowship at these times. Face to face is by far best, though sometimes a phone call or text is sufficient. If worst comes to worst then online communication is still a recourse of action for those with internet access.

Seek out the brethren, seek God in prayer, however faltering your own prayer life may be, seek to read Scripture, even if you are far from an expert in theological matter and Bible study. It can be quite astounding where help coms from if we prayerfully wait for it and remember the words of Jesus and the saints, especially the words of the Apostles recorded in the New Testament.

(Written on the afternoon of the First Sunday of February, edited during the night the first day and the second day.)

Demons – Identification and Casting Out

The matter of demonic possession of persons is a dangerous topic. Even the mentioning of the possibility that someone is demon possessed can bring about judgementalism and condemnation from Christians and non-Christians alike. On the other hand, some parts of the Church revel in their “demon bashing parties” where they verbally and sometimes, though rarely in the UK, physically beat up the suffering and afflicted person so suspected of being possessed. Both approaches are grave errors.

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As previously stated, the mentally ill should be treated with compassion where at all possible. In addition, the Orthodox Church – the church branch most experienced and successful in treating the mentally unstable – suggest an extremely gentle approach when it comes to the casting out of demons.

The denial of demonic possession at all is in direct contradiction of the vast majority of the Four Gospels. Those who say demon possession doesn’t exist; that it’s merely a chemical imbalance or a physical disease, are in direct contradiction to the teachings and deeds of Jesus the Messiah.

Identification of Demonic Possession

Discerning if someone is possessed by a demon is fraught with danger. A mistaken identification can cause untold harm to the sufferer of some other condition, even to the destruction of their faith or of a church. 

A non-Christian, or a Christian with their own unresolved issues, might end up being badly beaten or even killed by the demon, which the legal system would them blame on the demon possessed victim rather than dark spiritual forces. Again, untold harm.

The primary thing to bear in mind is that spiritual matters are spiritually discerned. It is this same reason why some think the Bible is full of contradictions: the fleshly mind cannot comprehend the spiritual.

I can, however, point to some signs which may well indicate demonic possession rather than a physical cause or a more benign form of mental illness.

“Illuminati signs” from a person, if they clearly appear to be involuntary, are telling. Such signs are the “devils horns” (the two outside fingers raised with the two middle fingers folded.) The “AOK” or the “6” sign can also be telling if involuntary. The “pyramid” sign also is another as it indicates allegiance to the Evil Eye. 

Other manifestations may be guttural or childish voices (the “Simple” which some mental health professionals actually encourage vulnerable people to connect with!) especially if intermittent; twitches; rolling of the head, especially rolling the head to look with an evil eye and then rolling away again. 

All of these may indicate demonic possession. Certainty, however, can come form only two methods of which I am aware.

  • The Use of the Gift of Discerning of Spirits – A rare spiritual gift these days. Speaking in tongues and prophecy are well known, but the discerning of spirits often goes under the radar even of charismatic churches and is thus not encouraged nowadays, despite its great benefits to church and society.
  • The Testing of the Spirits – Simple tests. Ask the spirit who its Lord is. Ask it where it comes from. Ask it to say “Jesus is Lord.” This must be done with care. Remember, Satan is a deceiver. He is an expert at it and he can make you think he is a sheep when he is a wolf and he can make you think he is calling Jesus Lord when he is really denying him.

Gentleness in Deliverance

Compassion. That is our watchword. Another is gentleness. That is key to driving out demons because we are not only talking to a demon but talking to a suffering person at the same time or, more commonly, we are talking to a demon one moment and a suffering person the next, and then we are talking to a demon again, and so on.

I quoted from Mother Melania in my previous post. Here I quote again:

“The Fathers in general pitied the mentally ill and possessed – and even at times admired them. St. Augustine speaks of the compassion of those who minister to “those whom they greatly love as if they were their children, or some very dear friends in sickness, or little children, or insane persons, at whose hands they often endure many things; and if their welfare demand it, they even show themselves ready to endure more …” (St. Augustine, 1980, p. 25). St. John Chrysostom says, “Physicians, when they are kicked, and shamefully handled by the insane, then most of all pity them, and take measures for their perfect cure, knowing that the insult comes of the extremity of their disease …. If we see persons possessed by devils, we weep for them; we do not seek to be ourselves also possessed” (St. John Chrysostom, 1978, p. 127).

“Chrysostom admires at least some of the possessed because “the demon makes men humble. … Great is the admiration it calls for, and many the praises, when struggling against such a spirit, they bear all thankfully …” (St. John Chrysostom, 1979a, p. 254).

“The Orthodox prayers of exorcism are remarkably gentle towards the possessed person. The prayers are directed to God, or they sternly command the demons; there are no harsh words for the demoniac. In one place, they even refer to the possessed as the Theotokos’s “faithful servant” (St. Tikhon’s Monastery 1999, p. 17).

“This is not to say that all the mentally ill were admirable. In various cases, the godless and the persecutors of the righteous became mentally ill as a result of their evil deeds. However, at least a few of them benefited from their mental illness. Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind because of his pride, but was restored to his senses and gave thanks to God. King Tiridates of Armenia became mentally ill as a result of persecuting martyrs, but later repented and became a saint (commemorated on November 29). In many other stories, though, the persecutors who became mentally ill never showed any repentance. In looking at these stories, though, we have to remember that they are from the “Lives” of saints; the writers were extolling the saints, not talking about mental illness.

“In short, the Fathers did not generally look on the mentally ill and possessed as the worst of sinners, but rather with compassion. At least some of these people seem to have developed great humility and thankfulness to God through their afflictions, and they are to be admired.”

Each case shall be unique. Every person is unique; every demon is a particular case. No single approach will work in every instance. In order to perform deliverance ministry one must be extremely in-tune with the Holy Spirit. Even the Twelve Apostles, all in unison, were unable to deliver one person from a demon and had to wait until Jesus came down from the mountain to do the work, for in that instance, “this kind comes out only through prayer and fasting.” 

Every instance will be a unique spiritual battle where compassion and gentleness are paramount. Few are those who are so equipped to do this in this present day. And if you attempt it blindly or foolishly you may destroy a person’s soul, his body, the church, yourself or those around you. Be warned!

Dealing with Paranoia

Paranoia is that strange thing: something which we can never really be sure if we have. Why is this?

What is Paranoia?

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Paranoia is when we think people are talking about us, or when we think people are watching us, or listening to us unawares.

Yet people talk about other people all the time, and often in earshot. “People watching” is a modern pastime. Eavesdropping has been going on for aeons. So, are we really being paranoid to think people are doing this to us?

In addition, in this modern age of mass surveillance we are constantly being recorded and bugged; on CCTV, by mobile phones; by numerous other devices dotted about the home and street. Police routinely use such techniques as covert surveillance, covert photography and listening, and “buzzing” which is when there is insufficient evidence to arrest someone yet the police want to “send a signal” so will make a special excursion on a patrol to deliberately cause a person to see them and get slightly paranoid.

So can anyone truly be unreasonably paranoid?

The Distress Paranoia Causes

Of course, paranoia causes distress. Even mild sensations of people listening can cause an uncomfortableness and when extremities are reached severe distress can be experienced. This can often act like a snowball effect; a slight twinge of thinking someone is talking about you can lead one to get carried away and then, suddenly it seems, the whole world is whispering behind your back! This can then cause serious distress which is often mistreated with dangerous chemical drugs when a change of thinking is all that is required.

How to Deal with Paranoia

I have tried a number of methods of dealing with paranoia:

  • Listening intently – the worst of the methods. It can be very tempting when slightly overhearing something which may be about you is to try and listen more keenly to be sure whether to dismiss it or not. Yet you hear what you hear. You cannot “rehear” something you did not and you cannot increase your hearing of a past event. Such increase in intensity of attention can actually heighten the paranoia rather than diminish it.
  • Dismiss every overheard word – this can work, sometimes. Saying to yourself “they have more important things to talk about than me” has helped me enormously in the past. The danger comes when you overhear people actually talking about you. This can cause the house of cards built through denial to come tumbling down around your ears and cause you to question every past dismissal. Thus the distress can end up only being delayed.
  • The Scriptural approach – King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived, said in Eccesiastes:

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.” 

 –   Eccesiastes 7:20-22 (KJV, Emphasis mine.)

This advice acknowledges that people do curse us. And yet it does not say “close your ears” but rather “take no heed to all words that are spoken.” (Heed means to “take to heart.”) In other words, avoid their words, don’t listen more intently, and accept that “talkers will talk, haters will hate.” Really, if another wants to spread rumours or otherwise spite us they will, and we can’t stop it. Just let them get on with it and sometime God will bring justice to us if we wait for Him patiently.

My Christmas

Christmas was very difficult for me.

I travelled down to Dorset on Christmas Eve with my Nan and uncle (who was driving) to visit my brother and family. An intense time of trial ensued, culminating in my freaking out during the evening of Christmas Day. I am not proud of that, and I now owe my brother a new door as I headbutted it intending to release my pain through self-harm (sadly the door was cheap and broke rather than giving me the desired bruising.)

The Blessings

There were many blessings, including a game of Ludo on Christmas Eve which we agreed was the best game of Ludo EVER! (I had a huge giggle fit thanks to my niece which required the first of two “halftimes” in the epic game.)

Gift giving was also a huge blessing, especially being able to bless my niece with a beautiful painting I had bought.

The Devil Was Present

I explored the garden and surrounding area a little and it is a dark place.

My brother’s rented property has a hideous graven image of the Devil by the back door. It didn’t disturb me too much but explains well the haunting my brother and his wife told me about in the house. Spiritual warfare ensued most fiercely.

In Summation

I intend on visiting my brother again, mainly because I want to have Christian input into my niece. She suffers from mental health issues including demonic oppression.

I do not think, however, that I can celebrate Christmas with my family anymore. The majority of them pay either no regard or are openly hostile towards Christ.




Testimonies – My Testimony

“For we know in part.”

I am not yet fully awake, yet I start writing this testimony of testimonies now. It may take me some time to finish it and I want to edit it minimally, so will now write only a few thoughts.

We all know a part of our friends and family. In fact, we only remember a part of our own journeys. The mind edits and only remembers parts, and of that of our friends we see things but cannot be fully sure that our testimony of them is one hundred percent true.

I have shared things on this blog and my Twitter feed about myself and others. It has been shared with sincerity and faith, hope and love. Yet who can say for sure if it is true? God knows, as the old saying goes, and that saying is true: God does know!

My own testimony is true. That of others is through knowledge and observation. My testimony is true, unless I indeed be a liar and a deceiver.

Life on a Mental Ward for a True Believer

A mental ward is like hell for a believer. On my ward there are two true believers of faith: myself and a Muslim man from Egypt. We both struggle enormously. We are both coping well, despite the intense persecution we face there.

On a mental health ward such as mine the Gospel is forbidden to be preached openly. I have shared the Gospel as I am able. I have told, gently but firmly, a homosexual that sodomy is sinful. I have been severely rebuked for that with implicit threats that this may lengthen my incarceration.

There is a man, going by the name of Paul, who deceives the patients. He shares a “gospel” based on “science” and a hypnotic methodology. So I knocked over his coffee and stubbed a cigarette out on his tweed jacket, for few see him as he truly is: a wolf in sheep’s clothing who has abandoned his wife to deceive patients and others through his recording and playback devices. He returned my acts with acts of violence, including a punch to the head. I responded by quietly walking off.

Preaching the Gospel and Fulfilling the Roles

On my mental health ward few Christians visit. There is no visit from a Christian chaplain. No apostles come – except for one of the Apostolic Succession who occasionally and graciously visits me. No prophets true come. No evangelists come. There are no true teachers and pastors.

I have attempted to fulfil all these roles whilst at the ward. I have had no other option.

I have preached the Gospel, even to a seagull for we are told in the last chapter of Mark to “preach this gospel to every creature.” I have preached the Gospel as I am able to a person held in solitary in 136 (let the mental health patients understand.) I have encouraged JH, rebuked Ragi, warned many, comforted some, helped an old lady to the door, tried to wean women off cigarettes. I have told unrepentant sinners they are not welcome near me.

I am in many respects like King Arthur according to an Irish legend: the man who burnt his cakes. Yet I am not King Arthur. I have come as a thief in the night, yet I am not Jesus. I have judged to extreme, yet I am not God.

What shall my reward be? Punishment eternal? Or life most blesséd? Only God can judge, but see this post on my rebellion against the mental health system before you yourselves make judgement upon me.

Why I am at the Mental Health Ward

I went to the ward voluntarily. I asked to be admitted. The community team sent me to the crisis team. I kept my appointments. I once waited in the hospital grounds overnight to ensure I kept an appointment. I reported to A&E. I was beaten, bruised and had my clothes torn. I was told to leave. I left.

Later I was asked politely to to accompany some police officers to a mental ward in Hastings, I went, peacefully and quietly. They would have refused to take me if there was any danger of me being placed on Section under the Mental Health Act. They did their job well. And as soon as they had left I was placed on Section 2 of the Mental Health Act and violently and forcibly injected with a strange chemical.

I feel my rebellion is justified in the sight of God. And now, as I write on overnight leave, I want to cry.

Thank you for reading. Please pray.

Time Under the Ward – Overnight Leaves

Last night I had my first overnight leave since the beginning of my third 2018 time under the ward. It has been a blessing and I am now having my second overnight leave.

Adjusting takes time, even when the “insanity” which the doctors have prescribed has not been taken by the patient.

Last night I listened to Saga by Adrian Von Ziegler – a heavy and dark album of Norse lore. It troubled me yet it enabled me to take my meal of pork and vegetables well with much thanksgiving; the first dinner I have had at home since the detention under the unjust mental health detention system in place.

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Sleep went well, one of the earliest nights I have had. I had also listened to the Carols from a recording from King’s College, Cambridge and read the evening’s Song of Degrees.

The morning brought much joy with a time of praise unto my God with an African Children’s Choir as the backing to my offering of praise.

My Return to the Ward

I was required to return to the ward, which I did. I was blessed there with a coffee with my brother JH and the lady he is courting. For the purposes of this blog I will refer to her as Jessie James. Please pray for them: they will need much prayer and hopefully I can provide support, teaching and love after discharge.

I also was blessed by a hug, kiss and cup of tea from the one I have chosen to wife in a spiritual sense without any carnal knowledge being involved.

Thanks be to God this Advent of 2018!

My Third 2018 Time Under the Ward

At this present time my mission field is the Department of Psychiatry at the hospital. I am rebelling against modern medicine and am being medicated against my will.

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I am also a judgemental person and I am judging whether people are worthy to receive the message I bring or not. I have brothers and sisters, I have my family according to the flesh and according to love, I have friends and I have allies. I also have many enemies.

I want to tell you a little of those I still hold out hope for. I will endeavour to do so in this post over the course of this evening of writing.

JH.

JH is my main love amongst the men here who are patients. He has met with me twice in the spiritual room in which we shared a little of our spiritual journeys and I shared two Scripture passages with – first Psalm 5 and second 1 Corinthians 13.

He has rejected me since as a “loony” and a madman. I still hold out hope. Tonight I advised him to read Psalm 23.

Please pray.

L.

A man with anger in his heart and one who gives me far more honour than I’m due. Yet a man of honour and respect. He has done me a great kindness in defending me against a false prophet who was attacking me physically.

He needs prayer, as do I, for He tries to give honour to men rather than to the Lord.

Ragi.

A Muslim. Please pray for him. He is an honourable, physically sick man of faith held in detention where very few understand his faith in God, the One he names as Allah.

He struggles with anger. Please pray that the Lord will have great mercy.

Dean.

A young man. Fearful to approach me and one I feared to approach.

He was fearful he was beyond salvation due to his failed attempts to follow Christ in the past.

I spoke to him tonight. He confessed to God and cried for mercy. I said Amen.

Please pray especially for him, brothers and sisters.

I will attempt to tell a little of the stories of the women shortly, yet the night is not a good time for me to relate about them.