This message was written years ago before I realized that “The Church” was not a building, and a title was of no importance. Enemies can be more than people but also dogmas. Many of these thoughts have been ingrained in our minds by priest or pastors. I hope this devotion changes the way you think about others and causes you to realize they are not our enemies. Self-Righteousness disgusts me. The religious spirit in us can be quite repulsive, and many times we are not even aware it exists.
One afternoon I went to a nursing facility with some friends. We originally came to check on a few friends who lived there, but I became drawn to the many hollow drug-induced eyes of the mentally ill. I also felt such sorrow for the older lonely people I saw staring at the white walls of their rooms. I heard no music or laughter. Joy needed to be injected into these people. They were isolated, bored, and had too much time on their hands. That’s something most of us don’t have enough of today, “time” or “joy.”
One man stood out to me, more than most. His name was Frank, and quite honestly, when I met Frank, I did a well thought out search of his outward appearance. But my heavenly Father, He only looks at his heart.
Frank had coal black hair, and he had painted his fingernails just as black. His piercing blue eyes shifted back and forth as he studied me. He had a book on ghost, spirits, and hauntings in Kentucky lying beside him, and he was intently writing words that made no sense in a notebook. I asked him if he was a writer and Frank said, “Yes, I am trying to get my creative juices flowing.” I smiled, thinking about how Frank and I had something in common, “words.”
I don’t know how I knew this, but I knew Frank had schizophrenia. I took it upon my religious self to just assume that he was into satanic dabblings by his gothic appearance and the book beside him. I smiled and talked to him about writing and some other things and then invited him to “my church.” He said, “Oh I already go to such and such “Baptist church,” and immediately I judged ole Frank for that because I already knew he went to a dead church where no one could help him. Yes, my religious spirit kicked in and took over, telling me that a Baptist would not have the anointing to pray over a person such as Frank.
Those Baptist, well you know, they probably don’t even lay hands on the sick. Father have mercy on my soul. The truth is, I do know some influential Baptist, and one of them is a close friend of mine. But the majority probably aren’t “full gospel churches.” Does that sound familiar? I’m so sick of denominations, name tags, titles, and typecasting churches because of what we have been taught their form of worship is. God have mercy on the body of Yeshua-Jesus. Help us become one and see your Torah light when no one joins a ‘church’ or divides the Body into buildings where men rule instead of You.
Back to Frank:
Frank proceeded to share with me about his many talents, and how he sings in the choir at church, and how he feels like God has gifted him with an ability to preach the gospel. Again, my sickening brain thought, “You will never preach the gospel.” You probably are so far gone it’s not even funny!” Yes, and so was a man who had a legion of demons and lived in a graveyard, but he preached the gospel (Good News) after Jesus-Yeshua prayed for him. Couldn’t Frank do the same?
I then went and mingled with some of the others. Many were quite young, like Frank, and others were aged with worn creases. The aged lines ran upon their hands, and along their lips that curled up to meet me. Eventually, I had a gathering of several around a large table, and we were doing Bible study.
My friend from our assembly, June, joined us. June suffers from mental health and hears voices at times. She had just recently taken shears and shaved her head. She looked like a man ready for boot camp instead of the attractive lady she once was. June has a hard time with the Bible. As I was reading out of the first chapter of Luke, I would stop periodically and ask questions like, “What’s the name of Elisabeth’s and Zechariah’s baby? What was the name of the angel that appeared to Mary?” “How are Mary and Elisabeth related?”
June sat there, just seconds after I had read, confused and shrugging her shoulders, but each time I asked a question, Frank would blurt out the correct answer. Not only did he have the responses, but he also had the full story, and he knew where to find numerous scriptures. As time went by I began to realize that Frank had more biblical knowledge than many in the “church” today. As I pondered where to find a verse I was looking for, Frank went to his room and came back with a huge concordance. His bible was filled with notes and special papers he’d received at “his church.” I asked him why he was there at the nursing home. As I waited for his response, I studied his age. Frank looked to be about thirty or thirty-five years old. He said, “I have paranoid schizophrenia.” I said, “Yeah.” He began to talk about how they had diagnosed him with schizoaffective disorder first and then changed it later on. Before all, you religious people start screaming, “Don’t speak it, and don’t claim it” I was just getting to know my new friend a little better.
He wanted to read a verse from the book of Psalms, and as he did the Holy Wind showed up. Yes, the Breath of Yah showed up to teach me that I could learn so much from this man named Frank. This man who many would have deemed demon possessed and quite possibly he is, but my Father separated the demon possessed from the lunatics in the following verse.
“And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:24 KJB).
Frank turned to Psalm 89, and he read something I would never have noticed. It said, “Maschil (This word means to ponder and have insight and to understand with wisdom) I had to look it up in the dictionary…“Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite” Now I have read “A Psalm of David…unto the chief “blah, blah” no blasphemy intended. To me, it was just a title to a chapter in a book called Psalms. But then Frank got so excited, and he looked at me, and he said, “I have to find out who this Ethan guy is?” He grabbed his concordance, and he said, “Here we go, look up (1 Kings 4:29-31 NLT)
“And here is what it said. “God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite.”
Bam! There it was! Ethan the Ezrahite was so wise, only Solomon seems to be deemed more significant. Why hadn’t I ever noticed reading this before? I have been studying the bible since I was a small girl. It took a man named Frank to teach me some things that day.
My Father loves me even though I have wrong thoughts, and I am at times not wise, not wise as wise as Ethan, or even Frank for that matter. My stinking religion had judged a man with black fingernails who went to a Baptist church. Have I ever had black fingernail polish on? Yes, I have. Have I ever been to a Baptist church? Yes indeed. So why did I judge him? Someone planted that thought in my brain. Someone planted a judgmental seed in my thought bank.
Many ministers teach that most people with mental illness have demons and that they may have been involved in the occult. But little children who Yeshua loved were tormented by them in several biblical stories. Yeshua even asked a father when the demons came into his son and the man answered, “As a child.”
I judged Frank like I judge everybody else I meet, and they in return judge me. They judge my attitude, or my make-up, my habits, the success or dysfunction of my family, my children, or my past. Others may judge my lack of education or my even greater lack of money. They say things that get back to me, just like the things that I say probably get back to them, and we, in turn, have everyone figured out…just like Frank. Yes, we’ve got their number down. As a matter of fact, we can look at someone and say, “I’ll tell you what their problem is, they are selfish, they won’t submit to authority, they have a greedy spirit, an unthankful spirit, a Jezebel spirit, a prideful spirit, a spirit of lust, addiction, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah!” And then we look in a glass mirror and forget what we look like. Oh God have mercy on us! Father forgive us for searching on the outside of this outer shell that you don’t look on.
Suddenly, I looked at Frank, and I asked him if I could lay hands on him and pray for him, and he said, “YES.” I asked him if he believed God could heal him. He nodded and said, “OH, YES!” Frank had faith! Frank had paranoid schizophrenia, a term and a label a doctor placed upon him. A label many preachers would say, “Don’t speak it.” “Don’t say you have that disease. Don’t you know life and death are in the power of the tongue?” Yes I do, but on Saturday I learned about a whole other death we in ministry speak over the body of Yeshua. Frank is part of Jesus-Yeshua’s Body. He studies his Words and sings to him at his ‘church.’
“Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread” 1st Corinthians 10:17 NASB.