Most of the churches authors Kesha Hinton and Jennifer Price have attended have more female than male members, a fact that many single sisters find thoroughly irritating. They believe that because these ladies spend so much time together in the service of the Lord, they should be more loving and accepting of one another. Instead of unity and harmony, however, there is frequently strife, fighting, arguing, complaining, jealousy, envy, and impatience.
In Influential Spirits, Kesha and Jennifer take a comical yet serious look at the various spiritual personalities you may find among the women in any Christian church. Through hilarious and at times harrowing descriptions of each spirit, they discuss the spiritual attributes that uplift and those that tear down. They describe how these attributes are developed and maintained by women in the church, and they give suggestions of how to be transformed from a destructive spirit into a constructive spirit. Also included are scriptural references and prayers that you can use when faced with either challenges or joy. The Scriptures provide the critical information needed to rise above the negative influences in our lives.
Take a fun and insightful spiritual journey with Kesha and Jennifer into Influential Spirits.
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Read an Excerpt
Constructive and Destructive Spirits that influence the Christian Woman
By Kesha T. Hinton, Jennifer R. Price
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Kesha T. Hinton and Jennifer R. Price
All rights reserved.
Staffs are there when we're distressed, They help us through life's trials and tests. God sends her when we're feeling grim to remind us to place our trust in Him.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
I have had some extremely positive and life-changing experiences with staffs. These women saw that I was in pain when I was going through a difficult time. They immediately came to my rescue, threw me a lifeline, and didn't let me go. For this I am eternally grateful, and I strive to be just like them. They gave me the Word in due season, and I felt as though they put me in a hospital bed and nursed me back to spiritual health. The phone calls, the friendships, the retreats, and advice revived me, gave me breath, strengthened me, and taught me endurance. They fasted and prayed with me. They used humor to pull me from my despair. They did not judge me because of the situation I was in, and I received God's Word, not carnal counseling.
Even as I type these words, I happen to be in a bit of a trial. Today I feel encouraged and victorious, but sometimes, when I hit a moment of pain and get kind of sad, I have a staff in my corner. Amazingly enough, she's just as human as I am and also has times when things seem a little bothersome. God never allows both of us to get discouraged at the same time, so we never have those "woe is us, let's throw a pity party and feel sorry for ourselves" days. Remember: God does not show up at pity parties, but he will drop in on a praise party!
Staffs are used for guidance. These are women who will always be there for you, no matter the situation. The staff spirit offers biblical advice and lovingly guides you through each and every problem. She will pray for you when you need the prayer.
A staff is used for protection. She protects you from your own thoughts and actions by constantly feeding you scriptures and practical advice. She will be able to tell when something is bothering you because she has a discerning spirit. Nothing you disclose to her will be repeated to anyone else but God. (She will pray for you in secret, not in an open forum) It is in her nature to go to Jesus as your intercessor, and she will stay on her knees until your situation changes. God uses these staffs to whack she-wolves on the head in order to protect his sheep.
I was a bit upset at a family member who stole some money from me. I called my mother and told her that I would not visit or even speak with this person anymore. My mother told me that we are required to treat others as we would have them treat us. She also reminded me that the same measure that I compare others to, God would use on me: "Forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors." Lesson learned.—KB
Staffs are used for balance. They are great for helping you keep your perspective clear, so you can stay in the presence of God when your emotions would otherwise lead you astray. The staff is ole faithful, dependable, semper fi. She is the shoulder that you lean on; she is the staff that helps you walk upright. You will find yourself attempting to pattern yourself after her because she is centered and focused on the Word of God. The staff genuinely wants you to prosper, heal, grow and succeed in your life inside and outside of church. She is aware that we all wear different hats as mothers, wives, sisters, employees, praise leaders etc., so she prays that you don't overextend yourself, and she teaches you ways to multitask effectively.
The staff is ole faithful, dependable, semper fi
She has a sweet look on her face and speaks life every time you see her. She is dressed modestly. This is because she knows that dressing provocatively is distracting and will hinder her witness. (Think about it: if she comes to offer advice and she is scantily clad, will you accept her advice?) Their lives may not be perfect, but they are content and constantly striving to be like Christ. (Philippians 4:11)
If you want to be left alone and are a person who does not want godly advice, you will not need a staff. Remember, staffs want you spiritually and emotionally well so you can get back on the battlefield. Please don't be disrespectful or indifferent to a woman who possesses this spirit, because she is a gift from God. There are spirits who are able to simulate sincerity, but only for a time. If you have difficulty identifying others' spirits, take time to get to know them before you pour out your heart, as you don't want your issues to be broadcast at the beauty shop. Pray to God to send his mentor to you, and you will recognize the Spirit. John 14:17 KJV tells us, "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
Fill in the blanks
"__________ be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of __________, and the God of all __________; who comforteth us in __________ __________, that we may be able to __________ them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are __________ of God" (2 Corinthians 1:3–4 KJV).
1. What is our responsibility to one another? ______________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God" (Isaiah 40:1 KJV).
2. Do you consider comforting God's people to be a commandment? Why or why not? ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor, for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NIV).
3. Name one person who offers you godly comfort. ____________________________________________________________
4. Can that same person depend on you for godly comfort? Why or why not? _______________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10 KJV).
5. Do you feel that "good" would benefit a person who doesn't believe in God? Why? __________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
6. Why does God instruct us to do good "especially to people who are of the household of faith"? _______________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up" (Romans 15:1–2 NIV).
7. Do you feel that it is unfair to be asked to "bear the infirmities of the weak"? _____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
8. Meditate. Then answer this question: why are we who are strong required to bear the failings of the weak? __________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
9. Write about a time when you were "weak." What happened? Who gave you strength? _________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
10. List the names and phone numbers of three staffs, and keep them close to your heart; you are going to need them. Pray for them. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
Clubs refuse to accept our mission to share that Christ's blood was remission for sin. She teaches "our righteousness" can earn our reprieve, But, Salvation is gifted to those who believe!
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." Based on Colossians 2:8 NIV
I have a friend who told me her marriage may have ended because when she and her husband prayed together, she quoted Bible scriptures that applied only to his problems and deficiencies. She believed that he felt unworthy of God's love because she constantly measured him by and beat him with the Word. We call this club behavior.
Here is another example: A lady in our church who was going through a difficult time started participating in support groups, and had testified how her mood had been improving. Well, a sister who was privy to this information, was giving a short talk for Women's Day and mentioned that the joy of the Lord is our strength and that joy should be all that we need; support groups are unnecessary (the young lady was in the audience). Needless to say that the sister to whom she was referring felt attacked and unsupported.
Once I was sitting in the sanctuary, waiting for service to start. I was watching and waving at people as they entered, when all of a sudden, a certain lady came up to me, shoved a safety pin in my face, and loudly announced, with no apparent regard to my feelings, "You need to cover yo body!" My skirt had a side slit in it that she apparently found troubling. As she walked away with her nose held high, I checked the slit, saw that there was no need for concern, and tucked the pin into my purse.
Had I been immature, I could have been deeply wounded by this incident. At that moment I was simply being social; exposing my leg for attention was the furthest thing from my mind. Remember, ladies, there's a difference between boldness and rudeness. When there is a legitimate—the key word being legitimate, not assumed or presumed—need to rebuke a person, it should be done with a spirit of love and meekness. Think about how you might feel in the same situation, because at some point you will need correction yourself. We all appreciate basic dignity and respect, even when we are being corrected.
In ancient times, clubs were used as weapons, and that is exactly how the devil uses this type of woman—as a weapon. Clubs know most of the scriptures that apply to righteous living, and they can't wait to tell you about your shortcomings. Clubs use the Word to try to convince others to live to the letter of the Law of Moses. Her intent is to make you feel guilty enough to change your behavior. The club constantly reminds you that the wages of sin are death, but doesn't give any advice scriptural references, for that matter, on how to resist temptation and avoid sin. Clubs don't communicate that it is God's grace and mercy working internally that draw believers close to Him.
A club will cite scriptures to reinforce her actions or decisions; mostly, she will twist the Word of God to combat anyone who disagrees with her. After all, who would argue with God? A prime example is the woman who reworks John 8:32, which states that the truth will make you free. This verse refers to obedience to Jesus' teachings, but the club sees it as giving her permission to say whatever comes to her mind without taking another person's feelings into consideration. She doesn't wait for God to lead and direct her steps; she marches to the beat of Satan's drum, all in the name of "truth." She uses God's Word as an offensive attack to keep everyone in line.
Clubs are not willing to listen to problems and will attack people for wavering in their faith or for being discouraged. For example, if someone is talking about an issue, a club will interrupt with "everything happens for a reason," and begin reciting "fruit of the Spirit" attributes or making "we wrestle not against flesh and blood" speeches. Oh and please don't say, "But ..." You can't say butter, button, or butler without clubs interjecting, "But God." They fail to realize that when a person is pouring out her heart, a listening ear is all too important.
I know a person who is extremely self-righteous. She is always talking about how others need to be dedicated, faithful, and focused on God, but she has a bad attitude and runs people from the church with her behavior. When guests come in the church—and she knows they are struggling with their commitment to Christ—she stands and begins testifying that everybody needs to "get right." She has no clue that leading others to Christ is not all about words; it is about lovingly guiding people back to God. She also gives carnal advice and doesn't apply the scriptures correctly.—TH
Clubs usually were saved at a young age and, at least in their opinion, haven't strayed very far from church. For instance, a club will boast about how she never frequented bars or drank alcohol, but doesn't acknowledge that she has a haughty spirit, which God hates. Her iniquity and sin cannot be readily seen, which has made her extremely self-righteous. Clubs are more interested in a semblance of righteousness, visible from the outside, than a change from the inside out. They will condemn anything that is not about church. They believe that if you attend a social gathering instead of a midweek service, you are not fulfilling your responsibility to God and, therefore, you are not worthy of God's attention or love. A club is not interested in a Christ-filled heart. The club wants a full church, a full Bible study, and a full choir because this shows that people love God. But, God looks on the heart of man, and he sees if our actions are genuine.
You could look past these faults to see her needs. But then again you can't, because she has no needs—at least, not in her eyes. She does, however, have the cure to all your ills. She is totally blind to her own faults. She conveniently ignores her unrighteous behavior, past or present. But sister, she is always willing to put your business on Front Street, all under the guise of Christian boldness.
The woman who is influenced by this destructive spirit needs to recognize that club behavior renders Christians useless for God's service. God doesn't condemn us; rather, he convicts our hearts in order for us to repent and return to our first love, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we sat and thought about all of the wrong that we have done, how could we spread the Good News about his love and mercy? Our past sins are a testament to how worthy we are through him.
A club is not interested in a Christ-filled heart
Clubs can be any age; anyone can allow herself to become self-righteous. Clubs are Sunday school teachers; wives of pastors, ministers, or deacons; ministers themselves; or faithful church members. You will find them about people's level of commitment to the church rather than focusing on ways to spread the Gospel to nonbelievers.
This spirit requires admiration and feels that she is entitled to favorable treatment. She places herself above everyone else, and she will not want you in her presence if she doesn't feel your devotion. Her self-professed discernment and knowledge causes her to offer advice without knowing the entire situation. If you don't take her advice, she will interpret this to mean that you don't respect her and therefore will decide you are not worthy of her attention.
Excerpted from Influential Spirits by Kesha T. Hinton, Jennifer R. Price. Copyright © 2013 Kesha T. Hinton and Jennifer R. Price. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Your Introduction to Influential Spirits.................... xi
Alley Cats.................... 43
Masked Women.................... 51
Spider Monkeys.................... 57
Sewer Rats.................... 75
House Mice.................... 91
About the Authors.................... 101