Nearly all my life I have been battling PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder. I always knew I was different from the normal person, but I never knew why. I finally learned why in 2004 when a friend talked me into going to the VA for my medical needs. During an interview when I was first accepted into the VA system, the nurse giving the interview suggested that I not only sign up for a primary doctor but, due to life experiences I had shared with her, I should also see a psychologist. I said yes to the primary doctor and no to a psychologist. Several months later a gentleman from the DAV suggested the same thing and I finally agreed to do it.
It didn’t take the psychologist long to diagnose me with PTSD; a psychiatrist also diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder, as well. The PTSD stemmed from my childhood and the military. One psychologist (I ended up seeing two) told me that it was a miracle I was still alive. He said that most people who had been through things similar to what I had been through usually end up dead or in the penitentiary. I was moved to tears when he said this because I knew the Lord had been with me through it all. The VA found that the PTSD alone rendered me unemployable and rated me at 100% disability. (The longest I had ever held a job was four years; all the rest ranged from a few months to one or two years; there were many stretches when I didn’t have a job).
The symptoms of PTSD are many and one of the least devastating was being in a crowd. I would get agitated and uneasy, and want to run and hide nearly every time I was in a crowd. Even the smallest of crowds were a problem. Because of this I never felt comfortable in church. I had many problems stemming from the PTSD and I tried again and again to conquer them, but to no avail. (I share these things about myself now because I want nothing to be hidden; I don’t want to leave room for the devil to gain an advantage.) Through all this, the Lord dealt with me. Even in my darkest moments God would speak; He would reveal things to me. (Only those who have experienced PTSD and Major Depression will have an idea of what I mean by my darkest moments.) Had He not done this, I believe I would have been gone decades ago.
Since the mid 2000’s I’ve been on medication for PTSD and depression and it has worked very well. I no longer experience those dark times. Not only that, but things the Lord has shown me over the years have been coming together and forming a lovely tapestry of divine delicacies. In addition to this, I now see my purpose more clearly; I now know why Jesus was present at both my physical birth, and my spiritual birth; I now know why He ordained me Himself, with His own hands; I now know why He told me to quit Bible College after one semester; I now know that He has been separating me unto Himself the whole time; teaching me to rely on Him and learn from Him. I now know He has led me down a path of truths, one after another, and the truths He has shown me will never be shaken.
One of the things the Lord made clear to me during those years was that the devil is extremely cunning, extremely crafty, and extremely good at finding ways to appeal to the human psyche, ways to entice us to bypass the Word, and feel like we’re fulfilling the Word. He showed me how necessary it is to guard against the opinions and doctrines of man. To this day, false doctrines and man-made formulas are floating around everywhere. People just naturally want to bypass the struggling, the pleading, and the agonies of prayer. By virtue of being a part of the human race, they inherently dodge the process of learning patience through suffering, and run from tribulation. They haven’t submitted completely to God and are thereby particularly susceptible to the deceitfulness of the devil. Because they still rely on their own understanding, they are prime prey for the deceiver.
As I write, people are being misled, hurt, and abused by those who have subverted the Word of God, and claim authority they don’t have; false prophets in sheep’s clothing, enticing souls to leave their Shepherd and follow them to a world where everyone is a mini-god, where everyone has all authority and can throw the name of Jesus around and get what they want, when they want. And just as Pharaoh’s magicians turned their staffs into serpents, so these also can work miracles. However, although they preach the name of Jesus, they don’t honor the name of Jesus. These are the ones who will one day find themselves standing before Jesus and telling Him, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?,” only to hear Him say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness,” Matthew 7:22-23.
We, as human beings, are inherently programmed to look for the easiest, or fastest, way to get from one place to another. And in an effort to please God and help those in need, even the sincerest of Christians take passages of Scripture and add their own thoughts to it until they come up with an easy way to bypass any waiting, any struggling. Faith is tested by fire and no one likes fire, thus all the concepts and formulas that appear to make it easy to accomplish God’s work and bypass the fire. We must never run from the fire. We must always submit to our Father and endure the fire.
Dear friends, the Lord tells me now that soon His chosen ones will forsake the doctrines of men and look to the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus, who endured the cross, despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Soon every chosen one will walk by the Spirit; there will be no more speaking this or that over people; no more speaking to one’s problems; no more claiming, declaring, or decreeing. These and all other man-made doctrines will be replaced with trusting, obeying, and believing. There will be no more adding to the Scriptures, or taking away from them, trying to make God move; for the Holy Ghost will lead the chosen to a place where respect for our Heavenly Father will be so prevalent that we will never again venture out from under His control to try the latest spiritual fad; we will never again wander in the wilderness; we will rest peacefully in the bosom of our Father. This will all become a reality when the awakening comes, when the latter rain begins to pour, preparing the wheat for harvest. (The man-made doctrines will continue in the camp of the false apostles and those who refuse to bow to God’s authority, but they will never again be heard from the mouths of true believers.)
We must begin now, we must turn from these concepts and formulas, and look unto Jesus, and embrace His Spirit, His humility, His respect for the Father. We must lay down our lives with all the propensities of the old nature, propensities that look for an easy way to get what we want, when we want. We must follow Jesus’ example of not counting equality with God as a thing to be grasped. We must be cautious and judicious as we speak, as we work. We must cease following every wind of doctrine that blows by, and every formula that promises quick results. We must submit ourselves to God and work as He works.
Dear friends, please know this, I love each reader of this letter with the love God has poured out within my heart through the Holy Spirit. Some readers may believe in the man-made doctrines I have referred to. If so, please don’t be offended. Put the things I have said to the test; weigh them on the scales of the Holy Scriptures; wait before God and be certain as to whether they are true, or not.
The Lord has commissioned me to speak the truth to His beloved people and His love constrains me; I would be remiss if I did any less. I ache, and will continue to ache, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; until we come to the place where we will no longer be carried away by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and by deceitfulness in wicked places; and that we might speak the truth in love, and grow up in all aspects, into Him, our Lord Jesus Christ. I long for this more than words can say.
May the Lord bless each one who reads this letter; may He heal those in need of healing; and may we grow up into our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Jon Banks
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