What’s Up? November 2019 Edition by Ken David Stewart
As a Christian one thing is very apparent to me. When you really start pressing in or basically step up your game for Jesus, the devil will retaliate. This form of retribution appears to be in direct proportion to the degree one attempts to know Jesus intimately and tries to follow his example and teachings. If you are active to any degree in a ministry, it’s like Satan has put a target on your back. The key is not to let him defeat you. If one gets serious about his walk with Jesus expect backlash.
For the last few years my life has followed a pattern that I want to break. My life has been a series of extreme mountains and valleys. From August to the beginning of November 2019, I felt greatly blessed and highly favoured. I just recovered from a two month period of being so depressed that I could barely function. I was not quite bedridden, but I was definitely couch ridden. About the only time I vacated the couch was to go upstairs to use the bathroom. Now that’s what you call clinical depression. During June and July all I could do was watch television. For the Christian who suffers from depression the battle is also one of intense spiritual nature. The devil loves using major affective disorder or clinical depression as of mighty and effective tool in his arsenal. He wants to keep the Christian down. Once he has you functionally out of commission, you can no longer do him any damage. When I am stranded on the couch, my spiritual life dies. I no longer read the Word, spend time with Jesus, pray for myself, my family and others. In other words, my ministry and spiritual life has been halted dead in its tracks.
Looking back on it, I think I may know part of the reason I fell into such miserable state. But what I’m not sure of is what brought me back to the land of the living once again. Certainly it was nothing that I did because I wasn’t capable of doing much of anything. One day I simply woke up and started to feel a bit better. Within a couple of days, I could feel my depression start to break and I actually felt like doing a few small things. Within a week or two, I was finally back on my feet. What I was not expecting were such great compassion from the Lord. I’m a part-time substitute teacher and I experienced the best season I had ever had up until the beginning of November 2019. I was being very well received by the students and was asked by several teachers if they could request me to substitute in their classrooms. Although I’m still experiencing some pain in my left knee it was manageable and allowed me to keep working.
After many years I found a church that I enjoyed attending. This was quite an experience for me as most of my life I didn’t like attending church. I would only go to a church service on rare occasions.
Overall, I was enjoying every day of my life during this three month period of God’s extreme favour. During this whole time, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was feeling uncomfortable. This felt too good to last much longer. I almost felt high every day for three months.
During this season I was really pressing in with my spiritual life. I started to pray for people in the church that I was now attending.
Aout the second week of November I felt that my overall mood was starting to decline and even get a bit low. I was very afraid that I was starting to go down into another depressive cycle. During this time, I caught a bacterial infection that was very severe. As of this writing, I’m still not fully recovered from it. To make matters worse, the pain in my left leg and the was becoming intense. It seemed that every time I got up and moved around, even a little bit, the pain would start to escalate. How was I going to go to work when I was in constant pain?
During this time I continued to keep up with writing my blogs, and working on my fiction writing and podcasts. During periods of clinical depression,I am usually unable to write all. My writing was going very well for a while until I started running into many technical challenges. My computer was on its last legs and was not functioning properly. I purchased some new video equipment as I was interested in starting up a YouTube video series again. Whatever I tried, I couldn’t seem to get my new camcorder working.
I am now fully aware that I was under spiritual attack. I decided to take some actions. I told myself that I was not going to sink into another severe depression this time. The vicious cycle would need to be broken, once and for all. I began to decree this in Jesus name. I started to read my God’s promises books on my Samsung tablet. I also started listening to my God’s promises audiobooks. I have started to speak the promises out loud and include them in my podcasts. I put God in remembrance of his promises. I made a decision to remain optimistic during this time of spiritual attack.
This audio reading focuses on the topic of sufficiency.
On Monday afternoon Whisper was browsing on Harold’s computer when she found Harold’s Spotify playlists. She noticed that one of the playlists was titled as gospel. On Sunday evening Whisper located Harold’s iTunes audiobook downloads. She was cognizant of how many of Harold’s downloads were of different versions of the Bible.
Shortly after Harold returned with the bags of groceries that he had just purchased at Sobeys.
“Let me carry those bags in the house for you, Harold,” Whisper offered.
Whisper noticed how many pain medications Harold was prescribed when she discreetly went through Harold’s medicine bag.
“Why do you need to take so many pain pills, Harold? Whisper asked as a concerned expression crossed her face.
“For my arthritis, dear. I also suffer periodic bouts and flareups of fibromyalgia,” Harold answered.
“Have you ever considered managing your pain with medical marijuana? Whispered asked.
“I’ve thought about it. My sister, Jamie, has used cannabis for pain management for about two years now. She also has arthritis. I guess it runs in the family.”
“Has it helped her?” Whisper asked.
“It must. She keeps ordering it. Jamie even has a legal cannabis medical card that she obtained from her doctor,” Harold answered.
After Whisper carried Harold’s groceries out of the car and into the house she started placing them in Harold’s refrigerator.
“Hey Harold. Did you buy anything that you can actually cook? Whisper asked.
Harold laughed. “What would be the use? I can’t cook a thing.”
Harold’s grocery purchases consisted of pizza pops, yogurt, granola bars, block cheese, cereal and assorted other items that do not require actual culinary skills.
“I’ll teach you how to cook. I’ll start you off with easy things. We’ll start with the baby steps. In the meantime, I’ll do all the cooking for you for now,” Whisper explained.
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Harold responded.
“Let’s get back your pain management. I’ll start you off on one bowl of weed and we’re going to see how you respond,” Whisper said.
“Where are we going to get the marijuana?” Harold asked
“I have some in my backpack,” Whisper answered. Whisper reached into her paisley covered backpack and found the pocket that contained a plastic sandwich bag filled with pink bubba marijuana. She reached into another compartment in her backpack and pulled out a pipe with a pink and white swirly design. Whisper proceeded to place a tiny round screen in the bottom of the pipe and then loaded the bowl with a small amount of weed. Whisper passed the luminescent pot pipe to Harold along with her lighter that displayed a picture of a marijuana leaf.
“Just light up the pipe and take some small puffs. You don’t need to hold the smoke deep in your lungs to get the full effect,” Whisper instructed.
Harold complied and took a few hits off the pipe. Almost immediately he felt some positive sensations.
“I’ve got a question for you Harold. I want you to answer before you smoke anymore dope. I want you to be reasonably lucid and articulate when you respond to my question.”
“Now you got me curious. What’s your damn question anyway?” Harold asked now sitting near the front of his Lazy Boy chair.
“Do you believe in God, Harold?” Whisper asked.
“Why do you ask?” Harold reluctantly placed his pipe in a sudden ceramic ashtray.
“I’ve noticed all the Bible audiobooks you downloaded to your computer,” Whisper said as she took out a pack of Zigzag rolling papers and made a perfect joint. She seated herself comfortably on Harold’s couch, but positioned herself so that she could look directly into Harold’s eyes.
Harold slid back in his Lazy Boy chair. He let out a big sigh.
“You sure like to ask the heavy -duty questions, don’t you? “The simple answer is ‘Yes’. I have believed in God since I was a little child. My family didn’t go to church, but our public school teachers would read to us every morning from a book of Bible stories for children. The book contained modified, paraphrased accounts of famous Bible stories such as Noah and the ark and David and Goliath.
“As little children we lived near the Red River and hung out at the river bank. On a Friday or Saturday night we would often have a wiener roast and discuss the Bible stories that are teachers had read us during the past week. A recurring topic was the future of our own our eternal destinies. The kids in our little gang who gave their parents and teachers a lot of trouble surmised that their eternal fate was almost certainly to be tortured endlessly in hell. You also need to remember that in those days there was only one depiction of the abode of eternal damnation.”
“What was that representation?” Whisper asked.
“The fiery furnace. Your body would burn forever in a state of eternal torment. This, of course, had the predictable effect upon a child’s mind and emotions,” Harold answered.
“That sounds horrible, Harold. Were you given an alternative?” Whisper asked.
“Yes. If you were a model citizen and did everything your parents and teachers told you to do and didn’t say any bad swears, you’d likely end up in heaven with Jesus after you died,” Harold answered while looking longingly at the cannabis pipe sitting comfortably in the ceramic ashtray.
“When you were little boy did you believe this?” Whisper asked.
“Absolutely. Nobody told us anything different. Even if our parents didn’t attend church, they found this teaching to be an effective tool when it came to keeping their kids in line.”
“Now that you’re an adult you still don’t believe the same thing, do you, Harold?” Whisper asked as she reached over to pass the pipe to Harold.
“I still believe in God, but I absolutely think that I was taught the wrong message about God’s character,” Harold answered while gratefully taking the pipe from Whisper.
“So that means you’re still a believer? Whisper asked.
“With all my heart,” Harold responded, “Despite what some of my Christian brothers and sisters may think about my present spiritual condition.”
“Why in the world would your Christian friends doubt your sincerity?” Whisper asked.
Harold hesitated for a few seconds while he picked up Whisper’s marijuana lighter, lit up the bowl of cannabis and took three deep puffs off the swirly ceramic pipe.
Open Heavens, Anointing, and God’s Favour.
This is episode three of the series that I’m currently working on called, A Christian With an Attitude. This is episode three. Warning: if you are not a believer, you could become one by reading my blogs and listening to my podcasts. This may not occur suddenly. It might take a few weeks, a few months or possibly even a few years, but I pray that the Holy Spirit will visit you in a prompt manner. This is up to God, not me. If you hate Christians and the church, perhaps you should read this to as there is a lot of bad press on the news and social media about the fellowship of Christian believers. Unfortunately, some of this criticism is justified In my articles and podcasts, my goal is that you come to know the real Jesus and not the fake Jesus that is so often portrayed in the news and on social media and sometimes by the church itself. What I’m saying is that I won’t take any responsibility or credit if you become a Christian. That is between you and God. If you are a discouraged Christian, I pray that I can bring you some hope, breakthrough and encouragement.
For approximately one month, I’ve been living under what I call an open heaven and have been blessed with a powerful anointing upon my life. This is also a time in which I am blessed with a special kind of favour from God. I’m not a theologian, nor do I pastor a church in the physical realm. I’m just your average garden-variety Christian. I have secular jobs such as working as a substitute teacher. I am also an author, a blogger and have my own podcast show. I’m not rich and famous yet, but if it’s God’s will, I will be someday. If I don’t become rich and famous I will continue my blogs and podcasts anyway as if even if only one human being on this planet is blessed, I will be grateful to God forever.
You may ask, faithful reader, what in the world is an open heaven? I don’t think I can theologically define the term, but I can share what it looks like to me. To begin with, I have not experienced an open heaven for a long time, until now. Just last month, God brought me out of a horrible clinical depression that probably lasted for two months. During this time, I could barely get out off my living room couch.
After my breakthrough, I began to progressively feel better on a day-to-day basis. Life gradually became a little more tolerable. I was able to accomplish at least a few simple tasks per day. After about three weeks I was back to my premorbid, baseline status. In other words, I was functional. I am now back in the saddle and am once again a productive member of society. I give God praise for this positive change and so does my wife. You can only imagine how difficult it is to be married to a man who is too depressed do anything but lie on the couch and watch television. I thank God that my wife is a godly woman and did not leave me. Many other women would have. I am greatly blessed.
When I am blessed by an open heaven, things rapidly start to improve for me. I begin to have hope, my energy level increases dramatically and I feel much more empowered to deal with the stresses of daily life. Stress in life is inevitable. It cannot be avoided. Whether or not stress will make you ill or even kill you is significantly based on your ability to cope with life’s major and minor crises. I don’t want to only be able to cope with stress. I want to thrive in stressful situations. I want to enjoy the stress. One fact that every Christian needs to know is if they stick out their neck for God and take risks, they will soon discover that they have an enemy.
The enemy’s name is Satan. And believe me he hates God and all Christians. In fact, he hates humanity in general. If one is mostly just a Sunday Christian who attends church regularly, and perhaps even attends a Wednesday evening Bible study, Satan will not likely hassle you too much because you are already saved and there’s nothing he can do about it. He doesn’t think that you pose much of a threat to his kingdom. If, on the other hand, you’re a radical Christian or as I call my podcast A Christian with an Attitude, the enemy will do everything and anything in his power, which is limited by God, to make your life miserable. As it says in the Bible, you must count the cost. My wife and I have both made the decision, to count the cost and pay the price.
Satan’s attacks are very predictable, but may show up in a variety of forms. If you usually have a harmonious relationship between yourself and your significant other, you may suddenly realize that now you are now bickering constantly. Your car may break down and you may be burdened with an expensive repair bill. You may think that you have a good relationship with your supervisor at your job and now feel that he or she is finding fault with your every move, even if none of this criticism is justified. I believe you get the idea. Satan will do anything that he can to destroy your ministry. If you are a believer, you have a ministry. You don’t need to be an ordained minister to have a ministry. If you help the needy and disenfranchised people in our society, you have a ministry. You can justifiably call yourselves lay ministers. My wife and I don’t get paid a cent for our extracurricular service to God. We don’t worry about this because God will be a debtor to no man or woman.
On an informal basis, my wife and I minister to the poor, needy, disenfranchised, mentally ill, youth at risk and to those suffering from the terrible disease of addiction. We both love our ministries both as a couple and as individuals, but believe this, it can be very draining on both our finances and physical and emotional energy. May God bless, prosper you, heal you and give you good success. In Jesus name, Amen.
Episode Three of the Ken David Stewart Show
Christianity with an Attitude.
I got saved when I was 27 years old. The only reason that I said the prayer of salvation was that I wanted fire insurance or in other words, I did not want to go to hell. Following my salvation experience my walk with the Lord has been very problematic to say the least. In my case, I cannot honestly state that it was a walk. It can be more accurately described as a stumble with many returns to my pre-Christian way of life. During my life I have fallen into the depths of depression and spiritual darkness. At times in my life, I felt like I have been submerged in the pit of hell.
I have often struggled with affection or any kind of liking towards my fellow man. I admit that on numerous occasions I had a strong distaste for people, both believers and unbelievers. I’ve attended many churches, this was most of the time due to the influence of my wife, Martha. She is a very strong Christian woman.
Over my life. I’ve especially had a difficult time with the Bible, the church and other Christians. All three have failed to meet my expectations on many occasions. There have been long periods of time when I have adamantly refused to attend any Christian services or Christian events. I selfishly disregarded the pain, disappointment and frustration that I caused my wife. In a very cavalier manner, I thought that I could not tolerate the hypocrisy that was being demonstrated by my fellow believers and the church.
As I am blessed to have a great deal of insight about myself, I also fully recognize that I am a hypocrite too. I thought that by avoiding contact with the church and other believers, I was at the very least, saving God’s Kingdom from one more hypocrite, namely, myself. There were times that I was either physically or emotionally too impaired to attend church. Perhaps, at these times, I had some excuse.
I have very mixed feelings about the first Baptist Church that I attended. I respected and appreciated the zeal and moral integrity of my first pastor. He would visit our home quite frequently. The Baptist pastor and I had some very serious discussions about the Christian life. The pastor and I got into many a heated argument. At the time I was employed at a job that I utterly detested and was suffering with extreme issues of low self-esteem. I told the pastor that I wanted to quit my job for the sake of my own health and sanity. The pastor sternly rebuked me for wanting to take away the financial security and economic welfare of my wife and family. I was very hurt by this rebuke.
I was quickly drafted into the role of being a leader in the 20% of any congregation that takes charge and gets things done. This is the same principle, whether in the secular world or the Christian world. 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
In this capacity I attended weekly Bible studies, served as an advisor to the Sunday school faculty and went along on local missionary drives. I was highly regarded for my abilities as both a student and as a teacher. My pastor respected my intellectual acuity and my sincere desire to play a significant role in the growth of the church.
Unfortunately, my honeymoon with the Baptist Church did not last very long. My personal lifestyle and attitudes showed little change after I became a Christian. To tell you the truth, they demonstrated no change at all. I continued to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol and listen to my favourite band, the Rolling Stones.
There were other issues as well. My family and I lived in a mobile home. We seemed to constantly be having problems with our plumbing, furnace and appliances. As I had absolutely zero aptitude for any skill set beyond the intellectual and educational, a small team of church goers volunteered or were appointed to give me some handyman assistance. I was not in the financial position to have any professionals repair my home. After a while, one of my church helpers told me that from now on I should learn how to do my own household repairs. This was well before the days of You Tube, so it was very difficult to learn any handyman skills on my own. After all, no one had taught me. I started to be infested by a strong spirit of resentment toward my fellow Christians at my first Baptist Church.
How I Was Able to be Delivered From My Hatred of the Church and Christians
Yesterday evening, my wife, Martha received a long- awaited breakthrough. Her husband, Ken David Stewart agreed to attend the spiritual gifts training session at a wonderful church in Winnipeg. I don’t feel comfortable naming the church right now because I don’t have permission from the pastor. This occasion was a powerful breakthrough for both me and my wife. Her prayers regarding my refusal to go to any Christian functions had finally been resolved.
Why did it take six years? Actually, it was more than six years of living in Egypt or in the wilderness. I suffer from long periods of clinical depression. During these painful times of my life, I sink deeper and deeper into spiritual darkness and often wish that I were dead. I go into my cave. I don’t want to be bothered by anyone. My whole life appears hopeless. I fall back into my numerous addictions while I’m in this dark spiritual state. The country singer Hank Williams wrote a classic gospel song called I Saw the Light. Hank later admitted that his problem was that he did not see the light. Mr. Williams had quite accurately assessed my spiritual state while in the darkness and bondage to demonic oppression.
While many people don’t understand my journeys into oblivion, my wife does. She knows that this pitiful horrible state is not where I want to be. During these times, I find it difficult just to get off the couch. These times, in the spiritual wilderness and darkness may last from one month to four months. Physical challenges are usually not far behind. I will often contract a bronchial infection or an exacerbation of my COPD. During my time on my white sofa, I usually do nothing more than watch true crime stories on TV, especially the programs dealing with serial killers such as Charles Manson, Ed Gein. John Wayne Gacey, Aileen Wournos and Ted Bundy. God can redeem this time in the future by giving me a prison ministry.
I’m presently 67 years old and I really don’t want to pass on anytime soon. Some may say that sounds like a horrible thing to say. Sure, I’d rather be with Jesus but right now I’m, enjoying myself. Life is just too good now since my recent breakthrough. The Lord has revived me enough to start engaging in lay community ministry. My left knee is still hampering me from leaving my house on many occasions. A recent x-ray has confirmed that I have severe arthritis in my left knee. I can now only walk a short distance without the assistance with the assistance of an off -loader knee brace and a cane. I will be consulting with my surgeon, Dr. Balageorge, in order to explore my treatment options.
In the meantime, I will continue to praise Jesus. Thank you Jesus for healing my knee 2000 years ago. As I struggle upstairs using my arms and hands for leverage, I keep repeating, aloud, I am healed. There is nothing wrong with my knee, by His stripes I am healed. In His own time, the Lord will give me the manifestation of my healing. I do not doubt this.
My apologies for going down another rabbit hole. This is my tendency when I am writing my blog or doing a podcast.
As my clinical episode of depression gradually faded away, I slowly began to enjoy a few things in life. How do I get out of this horrible debilitating depression? I don’t know. It was nothing that I did or didn’t do. My theory is that I had some very strong prayer warriors out there took my case to the courts of heaven. Jesus declared me not guilty and told me that I was once again a free man.
On Thursday, September 19, 2019. Martha and I attended training session on using the spiritual gifts. The training was led by a very anointed pastor. As the pastor was trying to start the evening’s program, the church’s audio system was having serious sound issues. I, and three other people volunteered to see what we can do to solve the audio system problem. We all tried different fixes without success. I then decided to ask the Holy Spirit to help. Within a minute or two, one of the volunteers found a way to get the sound system functioning. I often use this technique at home. If I tried fixing something and have exhausted my supply of practical knowledge, I will ask the Holy Spirit to solve the problem and He usually comes through. We watched a video by Shawn Boltz. After a short break, the pastor broke us up into small groups. During our first session, a lady gave me a powerful word of knowledge concerning how I am perceived by strangers. It was a hard word, but I told her that the word was very accurate. This lady was saying that I showed a very hard exterior to most people. She also said that I did not appear to like people. I told her that this was very true. My small group then prayed for me. As I was walking towards the foyer of the church, a different lady offered to pray for me. She prayed for my arthritic knee. Her prayer was much appreciated.
Next I looked towards the back of the sanctuary and saw the pastor and another lady having a conversation. I was led to ask for a powerful Holy Spirit prayer. Fortunately for me they agreed. I disclosed to them not only my obvious arthritic pain, but also for a change of attitude. A real attitude adjustment towards the church and other brothers and sisters took place. The irony is that I am a believer, myself. I am saved, spirit filled, talk in tongues, receive words of knowledge and visions from the Lord. The whole nine yards.