Come, And Receive “The Children’s Bread”!

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     It is quite encouraging that there are segments of the Body of Christ who are accepting the Word of God regarding Healing and Deliverance.  I want to make it clear that I acknowledge the difference in these two terms; recognizing healing as it pertains to physical sickness and disease, while deliverance relates to spiritual healing [including the casting out of demons]. And as I have explained in past blog posts, our English translation Bibles use different words that all have the connotation of healing; some of these words are salvation, delivered, forgiveness of sin, and of course, healed. Additionally it is interesting to note that the original Greek language of the Bible also used multiple words for the concept of physical or spiritual restoration.
     As an example, here are some of those words — Iaomai: heal, generally of the physical, sometimes of spiritual disease (Matthew 8:8,13 and 26 times in the Bible). Therapeuó:  properly heal, reversing a physical condition to restore a person having an illness (disease, infirmity); to relieve of disease; heal, cure, restore in health (Mark 6:6, Matthew 17:18 and used 43 times in the Bible). Soteria:  rescue or safety (physically or morally): — deliver, health, salvation, save, saving. God’s rescue which delivers believers out of destruction and into His safety.  (John 4:22-23 and used 44 times in Scripture). Aphesisdeliverance, pardon, complete forgiveness; to be released from bondage or imprisonment; forgiveness or pardon of sins (Mark 1:4). SózóTo Save, Heal, Preserve, Rescue; Deliver – the compilation of all facets of healing; JESUS’S FULL BLESSING (Luke 17:19).
     Whether physical or spiritual, or a combination of both, there is plenty of evidence in the Bible that it was God’s will that Jesus provide healing to all who desired it. And that is why the passage about the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 is so profound.  Here is a woman who is outside the Covenant of God, and whose people are referred to as “dogs” by the Jews. Yet she is so desperate for the release of her daughter from demon possession, that she is willing to go against all the social conventions to approach this Man from Galilee that she has heard so much about.
     Her religious leaders and the pagan doctors have not been able to relieve her daughter’s suffering, and her only hope is Jesus. So believing He can heal her child, she dares to confront Him as the crowds swirl around Him. But Jesus’s response is stunning! He’s always been compassionate before, but this time He tells her that His healing is only for the lost sheep of Israel.  But He is her only hope, and she believes in His power and authority to deliver her daughter from the clutches of the demon, and she falls down, worshipping Him. But Jesus persists, saying, It is not proper to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. 
     Yet this woman, even in recognition of her unrighteousness, is not willing to let go of what she knows is the truth … Jesus has the power to heal! So, in meek and humble response, she says,  “Yes, Lord; for even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Jesus is immediately moved by her faith and belief in Him, and the Bible says, And her daughter was healed from that hour.  

     So, the first point I want to make is that this passage clearly states that deliverance from demons is part of Jesus’s ministry of healing. As the Church, it is important that we not reduce his healing miracles to just those of a physical nature.  Secondly, we should take a closer look at what is being conveyed by the term “the children’s bread”. What do you think Jesus meant by it?  Specifically, in this case, it refers to deliverance from demonic possession.  But I am not willing to limit it to just this one aspect of healing.
     It is easy to understand that “bread” is sustenance and nourishment.  Jesus is our “Bread of Life”; our source of strength; the One who enables us to endure this life; the One who feeds our souls.  But we should also recognize the implication that it is the children’s bread that Jesus is protective of.  Who are “these children”? It is imperative that we understand that Jesus is referring to the children of God, and that the bread is the healing that is their right; that is to be expected; that is the normal sustenance of those He calls His Own.  Put another way, Healing [in all its manifestations] is our inheritance; our portion and our provision as children of the Most High; something we can claim as our birthright.
      Yet, for far two many years, the Church has cast doubt and uncertainty and confusion about whether we have a right to expect healing.  And in regards to healing in the deliverance from demons realm, the Church hasn’t even considered it might be necessary!  But as children of God, we need to be confident of the ground we stand on in the whole sphere of healing, and know the Truth of the Bible — that Jesus is not only able to heal today, but is willing to, and waiting for us to act upon that Truth in faith!
     The last thing I want to point out is that the Canaanite woman did not focus on just the healing she needed for her daughter.  Even when Jesus refused her at first, she did not abandon her belief in Him. She bowed down and worshipped Him, continuing to seek the Healer, even though the healing had been denied.  We must follow her example.  I cannot tell you that we will be successful every time in getting healing for ourselves, or in bestowing healing on others.  I do not know why healing is not automatically accomplished.  But I know that those who pursue it and don’t quit eventually receive it. We are entitled to receive healing as a child of God.  It is our bread. It is our entitlement to receive it, and our privilege to give it.  Healing is evidence that the Kingdom of God is present. We have been commissioned to exercise this gift. And healing is one of the signs that is to accompany those who believe. Seek The Healer and He will answer!

Psalm 107:20   He sent out His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction”. 

How The Church Got Off-Track

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     This is a topic that has been rattling around in my head and pricking my heart for several weeks now, and I’m not sure that I can adequately unpack it all to my own satisfaction, let alone yours.  But I’m going to try…
     I’ve been researching just how Jesus’s Church went from promoting Healing as a primary component of the Kingdom message in the first few centuries to such a state of denial in our commission to heal in the present century.  Why are we unable to take effective action in healing, which results in a helpless, powerless, and nearly impotent Body of Christ?
     Historically, we can see that members of early Christianity held a warfare worldview… they still held tightly to Jesus’s teachings that forces of evil would come against Him and His Church.  During His entire time on earth, the Bible records the efforts of Satan to tempt Jesus, to send lying and deceiving spirits to sabotage His Message, and to defeat the ultimate plan of God to deliver Believers out of the hands of the Enemy.
     Christians, at that time, knew that this spiritual war between Jesus and the devil was at the heart of the sicknesses and demonic bondage that people were experiencing. They understood that Believers were to fight against sickness, disease and demonic oppression through the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we have the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which provide historical documentation of countless healings done by Jesus, proving that He came to set the captives free.  Jesus was just doing what He saw His Father do when YHWH proclaimed in Exodus 15:26 that “I am the LORD who heals you.” So what happened, and why doesn’t Jesus’s Church believe that today?

     It is hard for me to pinpoint the exact moment that things changed and the Church got off track, but many theologians point to the writings of Augustine which eventually moved the Church to a different worldview — one in which the Church came to believe that everything in life happens due to the predetermined will of God.  In fact, it is largely accepted that Augustine was a primary influence on the Reformation and the theologies of Luther and Calvin. (Interested in exploring more about this connection?  Read here and here). I am not interested in dishonoring these important figures of the Reformation, but we need to understand how the Church got from a warfare worldview to what some call a blueprint worldview.  I think you can see how this new idea of God negated the part Satan plays, and would cause a shift in the thinking of the Church regarding healing.
     Augustine’s writings (along with the Reformers) began to move the Church in a new direction. Instead of believing that sickness might be brought on by the devil (who the early Church knew should be resisted), people were to believe that God brought on sickness and personal trials for a person’s spiritual sanctification.  Put in simple terms, God allowed sickness to purify a Believer, or in other words to prune them for greater faith.  This thinking then led to a belief system that to pray against an illness was to resist God’s work He was trying to accomplish in you.  So, instead of praying for healing, the Body of Christ would pray for discernment about why God might have brought sickness or disease into someone’s life.  And the truly remarkable aspect of this deception is that it removed Satan’s guilt in our suffering, and placed all the blame at God’s feet!
     And I can tell you that I have talked to many good Christian friends who see seasons in their life where they have dealt with sickness [or depression or adversity] as proof that God was trying to bring them to their knees in subjection to His will in their life; that somehow they were enduring a purifying fire to rid themselves of some aspect of sin.  I agree that God disciplines those He loves, but if Jesus is truly our model and a picture of how our God loves us, can you find an instance in Scripture where He allowed sickness to sanctify a Believer? Did He ever use sickness as a method to promote His Father’s Kingdom? No! He used the miracles of healing to demonstrate what His Father’s Kingdom was like and to illustrate the goodness of God!  God is not the author of pain and suffering in a Believer’s life!  He is Life and Mercy and Grace!
     For too long, the Church has seen suffering [in its various forms, whether sickness or demonic oppression] as “carrying our cross” and an opportunity to glorify Jesus in our suffering– almost as a badge of honor to prove that we are approved and acceptable to be called “Christian”. But this is just a scheme of the Devil to turn us away from believing in healing and miracles for today! And it has all led to a Church full of people operating in Doubt and Unbelief, which renders the Body powerless to effect the unbelieving world outside the Church doors.
     We have lost the Truth of what Jesus meant when He said, The Kingdom is at hand.  By using the Power that the Father gave Him to perform miracles, healings, signs and wonders, Jesus was able to grab the attention of the people to share the Good News that God’s Kingdom [as it is in Heaven] had begun on earth and would continue until it was fully achieved at Christ’s Second Coming.  He taught that Truth to His Apostles and to the Disciples that He commissioned to continue His works. They were to persist in miracles of healing and deliverance [from demons] through the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit.
     But along the way, the Enemy seduced men like Augustine to diminish the supernatural character of God, and convince Church leaders of the impossibility of His working through Believers to heal and deliver and work miracles today.  Therefore we have not been equipped to carry on Jesus’s work. The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, which believe in the restoration of miracles, healing and deliverance [as part of the Church’s ministry] has been reviled, and any talk of spiritual warfare in these areas is quickly squelched among many mainline denominations.
     But I hope you can see the devil’s hand in man’s reshaping of the Church.  For me, it is easy to see how the continued work of Jesus could transform our communities, our country, and the world.  Just look around you and see how many people could use the release of Jesus’s healing power in their lives — whether their pain is physical or spiritual.  And do not believe Satan’s lie that these miracles are meant only for Believers.  It is my opinion that we have been given this Power [through the Holy Spirit in us] to show the healing power of God which gives us an opportunity to share a message about the Father’s love for us and what Jesus did for us.  It’s all in accordance to what Jesus did Himself.  For those with Faith, it confirms the power of God.  For those who are Lost, it can be the impetus to become born again.
     It is time that we, the modern Church, become partners with the Divine; and Healing becomes a tool in which we can resist the devil’s evil plans and make this world a little more like Heaven.  By partnering with God, we release His purposes into the earth, and the Church begins to be restored to its own purpose. Let’s change the Church from a powerless direction to one that is active, formidable,  and on fire with the power of the Holy Spirit!  It happened in that first Century, and God can do it again!

Thanks to the writings and ministry of Randy Clark for challenging me to ask the hard questions and to determine my own theology after searching the Scripture.

Luke 9:2    “And He sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal”.

Now, Let’s Get Started!

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     If you’ve been following the last few blog posts then you know where I’m going.  Hopefully, you have dived into the Word and really studied all that Jesus had to say about what the Kingdom of God looks like on this earth. And if you truly believe that the Power of the Father resides in you, and that you are a Son or Daughter, Prince or Princess of the Kingdom, then all the deceiving lies of the Enemy will be eliminated. These are the lies he has told you to make you afraid, and caused you to deny your position in the Kingdom.

     So, if you can step out from behind the wall that Satan built between you and the Power and Authority you have been given, you should be asking, What’s the next step?  All I can do is tell you the path that God took me down.  Your path may look a little different, but we should all end up at the same destination … being bold in declaring ourselves as witnesses of another world; in other words, demonstrating what it looks like when the power of Heaven invades this earth through us, the ambassadors of the King!
     There are many modern-day pastors and leaders who are rock solid in their Biblical understanding of our relationship with God, and our commission from Jesus to do the works He did.  I have no problem in recommending studies by Curry Blake or Bill Johnson on how to follow Jesus’s instructions regarding our Commission and His model for destroying the works of the devil. Others such as Dr. Charles Kraft and Dr. Kurt Payne offer exceptional models for Deliverance.  Taken together, it all adds up to HEALING, a word that encompasses all that Jesus did to alleviate the human condition: Preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people; 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 4:23-24)   
     Search those names on YouTube and watch every video you can of their teachings on both physical and inner (spiritual) healing. Scripture is the foundation of their teachings and they will help you overcome any of your “religious sacred cows” that are blocking you from stepping out in faith. Once you have spiritually discerned that all this is God’s Truth, then I would recommend that you make an appointment to get delivered.  You don’t want anything between you and God that the Enemy can exploit. THEN, just start!  Begin with your family and friends.  I guarantee that there is someone you know who is physically in pain. Ask them if you can pray for them and lay hands on them to release the power of Heaven into their pain.  Just step out in faith and obedience and watch the Father work.  If nothing happens, do it again.  It is your Faith that will make their healing a reality.  If you believe that what the Father did for Jesus, He is also willing to do for you, then the power will be released.  God wants to work with us and through us!
   

 
     If you have a family member struggling with a spiritual issue, both Dr. Kraft and Dr. Payne offer easy-to-follow models for Inner Healing and Deliverance.  As long as you step out in obedience, knowing that it is the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who are doing the work in the person (not you) and that you are Their instrument to see the person spiritually healed, then God will guide you to success.  He wants to use you (just as He used Jesus, and then the Disciples) to see people healed. He will not give you more power than you can handle, and if you will listen for His voice and His instruction, He will give you more authority and more power as you proceed.

     The bottom line is that in pursuing our Biblical Commission, we are really seeking more of our God.  At some point, we have to let go of our fears of deception and our personal safety and chase after Him with abandon, willing to lose ourselves in order to gain Him.  As Bill Johnson says, “We must believe that our God is big enough to keep us safe in our quest for more of Him.  Practically speaking, many Christian’s devil is bigger than their God… It’s an issue of trust. Our hearts must be turned completely towards the One who is able to keep us from falling”. 
     And I know that recommending watching YouTube videos or reading books other than the Bible may not be the normal route for growing our faith and obedience, but I think we learn best from people who are actually doing the works Jesus did and bearing fruit from their labor.  I mean, what have we really learned from the theories of classroom Christians who never walk out their faith?  If you are convinced (and I hope you are!) that we should be doing what Jesus did, then it only makes sense to study how those who have had success in these areas are doing it.
     I don’t know about you, but I want to work in the Father’s miracle realm like Jesus, and experience what He experienced.  I want those personal encounters with God and the Holy Spirit! I want to see the lame walk, and the blind see, and the dead raised!  And I want the power that can make that happen flowing through me!  I want to see in the Spirit the way the Apostle John did, and I want Paul’s “Damascus Road” moment in my life.  I want the deepest intimacy I can get with my Father, and I want to share it with others and see their lives impacted in the same way, so that they can go out and share it with more people.  I want to see Earth overlaid with the fragrant atmosphere and scent of Heaven. I believe that was what Jesus was walking out during His short time in this world.  And look what He started!  Now it’s our time and our turn!  Are you willing to follow His clear Biblical instructions? Then, what are you waiting for?
Psalm 119:10    “With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments!”

The Powerless Church

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     I guess I could characterize this post as a continuation of Friday’s, which was titled It’s Not Enough!  Because I think I know the people who tune into read my humble thoughts, I’m pretty sure that there are many of you who are wondering just what it looks like to exhibit the Power of the Kingdom in your lives.  And I feel as though I need to further explain what I mean by my frustration with The Church.  I know that this offends some of my Christian brethren because “The Church” belongs to Jesus, and my statements are often construed as divisive and negative towards what Jesus calls “My Church”.  Let me first, dispel those false impressions, and then I will try to be more specific about what I would recommend for living a “Kingdom life”.

     When I talk about the Church, I am referring to the Body of Christ — those individuals who have been “called” from their life of sin, and “chosen” to separate themselves from the world and walk in the righteous way of Jesus; who with one purpose, one mind, and one heart follow and do the teachings of Jesus.  Now, for the last several hundred years, that Body has been assembled in congregations who have determined that “it is through the Church that God manifests His highest purposes, and the Church must be the most glorious of all His works”.

     Modern Charismatic and Evangelistic movements point to the so-called fivefold ministry in Ephesians 4 as the primary custodians of today’s Church — the offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (or “shepherds”) and teachers. It seems to me that their mission is built upon the foundation of the holy Scriptures and upheld by the pillars of the Gospel of Salvation, Grace,  Love, and Glory of the Lord.  They will say that it is their goal to replicate the model that Jesus showed us and to see their congregants reach the neighborhoods and the nations with the Gospel.

     That is a noble mission, and nothing wrong with that.  But I don’t see the most obvious component of Jesus’s model … the Power of His Father that was exhibited through Him and the works He did.  And if I am going to hold to Jesus’s model of the Church, I find no specific instructions from Him to “to associate yourselves into particular societies or churches” as one popular Reformation preacher prescribes.  And I do not believe that if, as a Christian, you “are not walking with a local congregation of believers, then you are not walking with God”.  I must say that statements like that offend me
     Were the Twelve Apostles part of a local congregation or synagogue?  No, they walked with Jesus.   And what did Jesus do? He manifested the Glory, and Mercy, and Love, and POWER of God, did He not?  He did what He heard the Father tell Him to do, and what He saw the Father doing in Heaven.  So, I think it is safe to surmise that His Gospel message of the Kingdom of Heaven was the Good News of what the Father was doing, and desired to be done by His Son to show the Father’s Glory.  
     When Jesus announced that the “Kingdom of Heaven was at hand”, He was saying, I am going to show you what it is like in Heaven by my actions.  Watch what I do by the Power given to me by My Father.  And when you have understood that it is for His Glory, then I will give you the Authority to use that same Power to make the Kingdom of God a reality here on earth.  
     But do you notice the characteristics that our religious organizations choose to use to magnify The Father?  His Gospel, His Grace, His Love, and His Glory.  Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand me — those aren’t wrong!! They are just incomplete!  Religion today teaches us we are to imitate Jesus and the Father by manifesting Their Grace and Their Glory — and I agree.  But where is the promotion of the Power that Jesus exhibited as a picture of His Father in Heaven? It has been all but eliminated from “The Church”.
     So, I want to be very clear that when I say I am frustrated by The Church, and that what we, as the Body of Christ, are accomplishing “is not enough”, I am talking about the “Powerless Church” who concentrates on the Gospel of Salvation, instead of the Gospel of the Kingdom, which Jesus said was the purpose for which He was sent (Luke 4:43).  And that “Good News” of the Kingdom was to be preached everywhere and revealed in signs and wonders  — healing the sick, delivering people from the torment of the Enemy, and even raising people from death — all so there could be no mistaking God’s Love, His Grace, and HIS POWER! All that adds up to His Greatness, or His Glory.
     So, now to address what that looks like for me and you.  Believe me, I know that all this sounds like it is going to involve us getting uncomfortable with our status quo.  And that’s exactly what Jesus demands of us!  Can you imagine how the Apostles felt?  They were taken from their ordinary lives, and found themselves working with strangers (and even people they despised, as in the case of Levi, the tax collector).  They were accustomed to being innocuous members of their synagogues, akin to sitting quietly in a pew in the back row of some church today.  They were used to following the rituals and traditions of that synagogue, and their personal relationship with God [who had chosen them as a people to glorify Him] was more habitual and routine than intimate.

     But what did Jesus tell them they would do? “You will receive Power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”.  They didn’t stay in their synagogues and minister within the buildings.  They were sent out into the world to make a difference!  Just look at the places the Apostles went to with the message  that “the Kingdom of God is at hand” … Spain, Greece, Iran, Ethiopia, India, even Great Britain!  And  we can’t even get the message (let alone the works) out of the building to the prostitute on the corner, or the local drug dealer!  Where is the power in that?  

     But why are so many of our Churches (and us) powerless today?  What are we afraid of?  Perhaps we are frightened of being deceived by charlatans.  But doesn’t that express Doubt in the Holy Spirit to counsel us and guide us?  Or does it go deeper than that, and actually show Unbelief in the Power of God to act through us today?  We must have a call to action to touch the individual lives of people in our own cities, neighborhoods, and communities. First and foremost, that requires teaching people what the Kingdom of God means and how Jesus manifested that on earth.  And if we are afraid of poking the devil, then aren’t we saying that we believe his power is greater than our God’s power to protect us?
      If we are going to transform the culture, the culture needs to know what the Kingdom of God looks like.  If we are following Jesus and His commands then it should look like this … recognizing the needs of both our fellow Believers and the Lost.  It looks like us asking them if they need prayer for issues in their life, and if the answer is healing, then we do as Jesus did and lay hands on them, calling on the Power of the Father in us (which is the Holy Spirit) to heal their affliction. We are to believe that God can use us to see them healed on earth, as it is in Heaven.  
     If they are being attacked by entities in their sleep, or tormented by voices in their head, then we are to do what Jesus showed the Apostles, and in His Name, bind and cast out those demons.  Anything that we saw Jesus do, we also have the power to do because He sent His power when the Holy Spirit came to reside in us.  And just like the Apostles and the Disciples after them, we are to be His witnesses unto the ends of the earth.
     We live in a hurting world, just as it was in the days that Jesus walked this earth. And yes, it’s good to hear sermons in our Churches that we are to “live a life of joy in the midst of brokenness” and to “not love the things that God hates”, but where is the call to action that should be going along with that message?  How does that transform the lives of people who need to see the works of God manifested by the Body of Christ? 
    We are called to be Sons and Daughters of the Kingdom.  And Jesus has given us the perfect model to invade the culture with God’s Kingdom.  I invite you to read the Four Gospels and take notes of the works that Jesus did, and His instructions to His followers.  Everywhere He went, He taught about what the Kingdom of God was, and then He did the works that would bring this earth into alignment with His Father’s Kingdom.  
     Will we be uncomfortable doing them?  Certainly. But no more than the Twelve were when He commanded them to do the same works.  And will the culture and our religious institutions criticize, censure, and revile us? Again, just like they did when Jesus showed the First Century Believers how to walk with God.  But does Jesus need laborers in the field, and witnesses to spread the Good News?  Every bit as much as He needed it in 30 A.D.  Are you willing to be a member of His True Church; the Son or Daughter of the Kingdom that is willing to leave the life you have known for a road that will be difficult to travel, and without many rewards this side of Heaven? I will grant you that it is a scary proposition, but as a very dear friend of mine said, the only answer we ought to give is, “Yes, Master”!

1 Peter 2:21    “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps”.

     

The Biblical Model For Inner Healing

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     In the ministry that the Lord has brought to me and my husband, the hardest thing for us to convince Christians of is that Jesus can heal their emotional wounds. The Bible tells us that we are body, soul, and spirit. In fact, we are primarily spirit living in this temporary shell called our flesh, or body.  Our soul consists of our mind, will, and emotions.
     Living Stream Ministry gives us the Biblical proof of this last statement. Proverbs 2:10 gives us the spiritual ground to prove that the mind is a part of the soul. This verse says, “Wisdom will enter your heart, / And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Because knowledge is a matter of the mind, this proves that the mind is a part of the soul.
     The second part of the soul is the will. Job 7:15 says, “My soul would choose,” and 6:7 says, “My soul refuses.” To choose and to refuse are both decisions and functions of our free will. These passages prove that the will must be a part of the soul.
     Emotion comprises many things, including love, hatred, joy, and grief. Psalm 119:28 says, “My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word.” and Song of Solomon says, “Tell me, O you whom my soul loves…”, both proving that emotions are also part of the soul.
     When we allow Jesus into our heart, and confess that He is our Savior, our spirit is sealed with the promises of the Holy Spirit. Our spirt cannot be possessed by anyone other than God. But our soul — the thoughts in our mind; the decisions we make; and the emotions we feel and express — can be influenced by the Enemy and often result in oppression and bondage.  But Jesus says, in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord”.  He came to set the captives free … those who are oppressed in their minds, wills, emotions, and flesh by demonic spirits. He came to heal those areas and experiences in our lives that the Enemy exploits in order to keep us from the peace of God in our relationship with Him.
     That is what the ministry that the Lord has brought to me and my husband is all about — partnering with the Holy Spirit to let individuals see Jesus (in those hurtful memories) and allow His love for them to heal the wounds that have affected their lives.  You see, if you think salvation alone makes you immune from the Enemy’s attacks, just walk into any Church and look behind the masks of those who come to the building each Sunday seeking relief from self-esteem issues and thoughts of self-rejection or abandonment; from decisions they have made in their past that still haunt them; from feelings of jealousy or hatred; and from chronic ailments that keep their flesh in torment.  Do you think they possess the peace that “transcends all understanding”?
     And even if this makes logical sense to some Christians, and they can begin to believe that Jesus not only wants to heal their inner wounds, but actually can heal them, they need to see it in Scripture to fully accept this Truth.  Well, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who showed a Biblical model to my husband, I can now present that proof to you…
     We all know the Scripture that tells us of Peter’s denial of Christ.  Between Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22, we get a clear picture of Peter denying his association with Jesus three distinct times; first with a simple denial, and then with an oath, and lastly by cursing and swearing.  And the last sentence in that chapter tells us of the deep remorse and self-condemnation he must have felt …  And he [Peter] went out and wept bitterly. Can you imagine how that must have weighed upon Peter in those ensuing days?  How many times he went over in his mind the prediction that Jesus made, that he would deny the Lord, and how he had claimed he would never fall away? I can only assume the guilt and the shame he must have felt …. and the legal authority that those three denials gave the Enemy to torment him.
     But something must have happened in order that Peter could become the effective Kingdom spokesman and evangelizer we see in the Book of Acts.  Those condemning thoughts, those fateful decisions he made to deny Christ, and the extreme feelings of remorse (his mind, will, and emotions; his soul) had to be healed. Jesus did exactly that, and we have the Biblical proof in John, Chapter 21.
     After Jesus is resurrected, he appears before His disciples after they’ve spent a night fishing. When they discover Jesus standing on the shore, Peter is overcome with emotion and “threw himself into the sea”.  He was in such need of being healed and forgiven that he couldn’t wait to be in the presence of his Lord.  And what does Jesus do?  He builds a fire on the beach, feeds them a breakfast of fish and bread, and then begins to minister to Peter’s wounded soul.
     In John 21:15-17, we see Jesus resetting the scene that has caused Peter so much torment and oppression — even right down to the fire which was present at his denials.  Just as Peter was asked three times if he knew the Lord, Jesus now brings healing to Peter by getting him to voice his love for the Lord to the spirit world and break the oaths and curses he took.  Jesus asks him three times if he loves Him — the first two times, using the Greek word agape, meaning the “love” that values and esteems; an unselfish love, ready to serve.  But Peter answers, that he loves Jesus, using the Greek word, phileo, meaning that he cherishes Jesus above all else; that his love his constant and from the heart. So that by the time Jesus asks Peter the third time if he loves Him, using the more heartfelt word, phileo, Peter’s answer in the affirmative [for the third time] has cleansed his wounded soul.
     Remember, Jesus is appearing to Peter in the Spirit, just as He does in our inner healing sessions.  Individuals are able to see Jesus in the spirit, and Jesus then expresses His presence with them [just as He was with Peter] and helps them to “reset the scenes” of their wounding experiences, accepting His love and forgiveness, and displaying to the spiritual realm that the person’s tormented soul is no longer in bondage to the lies of Satan. They have met with Jesus and been released from the lies and captivity of the Enemy.
     It couldn’t be any clearer.  Jesus speaks into the hurtful experiences that allows the Enemy to send spirits of shame, guilt, anger, self-rejection, etc. to keep Believers from a complete and whole and healthy relationship with the Lord.  Just as with Peter, Jesus desires us to be free of the torment so that we can become the effective ambassadors of His Kingdom that His sacrifice won for us. When we are free of all the lies and garbage the Enemy tries to inflict upon our souls, we can all become like Peter, fearless and bold for the Lord!

Hebrews 12:1-2   “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”.

       
     

Intercession and Manifestation: How We Can Heal In The Name of Jesus

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     If you ever want to make a fellow Christian uncomfortable, try this … when they request that you intercede on their behalf; to pray for them and plead with God to heal their illness or sickness, ask them if you can lay hands on them instead and let the power of Jesus heal them right then and there.  Talk about the sins of Doubt and Unbelief! They will most likely stare at you as if you’ve lost your mind! But who, if they profess faith in Jesus, can say, “No, thank you. I’ll pass this time, if you don’t mind”?
     I know how foreign healing sounds to the ears of the Modern Church, but that’s exactly what Jesus asked those who would believe in Him [and follow Him] to do.  Our Lord spent three years training His disciples in the principles of healing and deliverance as part of their Kingdom work. And He meant for those valuable lessons to be passed down through the centuries of Believers to become a part of each of our ministries for His Kingdom.
     You have heard me say repeatedly that Jesus has given us His power and authority to do the things that He did — heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the Message of God’s Kingdom.  So I won’t belabor that point in this particular blog post — we will accept that as a given, okay? Today, I want to expand upon that point and discuss how intercession for others through the manifestation of that power results in the ability to heal those with all manner of sickness and disease.

     First of all, I need to address the subject of “the Gift of Healing” as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.  The subject of “the gifts of the Spirit” is one that is both fascinating and difficult; oftentimes dependent upon which denominational doctrine you have been taught.  We should all be familiar with 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, which says, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.   
     Let me share with you what this passage is telling me … when you read further, you discover what the gifts are: the word of wisdom; the word of knowledge; faith; healing; effecting miracles; prophecy; distinguishing of spirits; speaking in tongues; and interpretation of tongues. Then verse 11 tells us, But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
     Unfortunately, today’s Body of Christ believes that each of us is given a specific gift; or if you’re really lucky, you might have been given more than one of those listed in 1 Corinthians 12.  How many times have you heard a fellow Christian say, “I didn’t receive the gift of ____ from the Holy Spirit, so that is not what I’ve been called to do”. But that is not what the Bible says!
     We need to understand that ALL of the gifts are the characteristics of the nature of the Holy Spirit.  He possesses them ALL! And when we receive the Holy Spirit at the time of our conversion [and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior], the Holy Spirit indwells us, bringing all those characteristics of His Divine Nature with Him.  We aren’t given a specific gift at that time — we have them all, and when we step out in faith (i.e., are active in our belief), the Holy Spirit will manifest whatever gift is needed at that time; we will receive the gift we need for that particular situation, and the gift(s) of the Holy Spirit will be manifested through us.
     The Amplified version of 1 Corinthians 12:4 gives a pretty good interpretation: “Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]”. Do you see it? These special abilities are all part of the nature of the Holy Spirit, who resides in us. And we are given the authority to use (any or all of) them as the Spirit empowers us and wills it.
     But what does it mean that these gifts are manifested through us?  And how does that pertain [specifically] to one’s need to be healed, for instance? Here’s the best way I can think to describe it … when we are confronted with a person’s need to be healed, say from cancer, there is an internal disclosure [from the Holy Spirit] to the Believer that it’s time to act out our faith. At that moment, we are empowered to reveal the true Divine character of the Holy Spirit, which is to heal. He, who is in us, acts through us to reveal His character, which is from the Father.  We lay hands on that person, and the power of the Holy Spirit (which is the power of Jesus and the Father) is transferred through us to do the Father’s will. And lest you still need convincing, the Bible abounds with Scripture that says it is the Father’s will that we be healed … Psalm 103:2-3; Exodus 23:25; Matthew 8:2-3, among others.
     But here is what the Church does … we ask others to pray (intercede) for us and basically, beg God to heal us.  There is no demonstration of the power and authority of the Holy Spirit in us.  And I truly believe that God wants us to demonstrate that power to the Prince of this world! Instead, the Church’s theology has been reduced to a doctrine that either begs God to do the work [for us], or condones intercession as taking on the suffering of others; standing in the gap and accepting the blows of the devil and his demons on behalf of another — and reveling in the suffering as some kind of honor.
     God never asks that of us! Instead, we aren’t to pray, begging God to heal, but we should stir up the gifts of the Holy Spirit, look in the face of the illness, and demand that it leave, declaring that this cancer is defeated, quoting Psalm 118:17: I will not die, but live, and tell of the works of the Lord! 
     And we have a perfect example of this principle in 2 Timothy 1:6, when Paul says to his “spiritual son”, Timothy, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands”.  Paul was instructing Timothy that he must be ever mindful to “keep the flame alive”; that the gift(s) of the Holy Spirit should be regarded as a fire capable of dying out if neglected.  We should take this to heart — to keep stoking the fire of the Holy Spirit [within us] so that we will be effective in carrying out the Lord’s work, as the Spirit empowers us.
     I also wish to make one point very clear.  When you are not in a person’s presence, you can absolutely intercede for them, standing in the gap between them and the devil. BUT, if you are doing it in your own power, you can expect that the Enemy will knock you to your knees.  In other words, you can expect that the devil will retaliate. But when you stir up the power of the Holy Spirit within you, He will release His power and  manifest it through you, enabling you to stop the devil’s onslaught.
     And if the thought of being empowered by the Holy Spirit to take on the devil frightens you — or if you can’t conceive of the possibility that the Spirit can heal someone through you — I’d like to point out what Paul told Timothy after he instructed him to stir up that very power … God has not given us a spirit of timidity [cowardice], but of power and love and discipline [sound judgment].
     When we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we receive the very power and authority of Heaven in the person of the Holy Spirit.  There is nothing that the devil can do to defeat it [or us]! But we have to be in agreement with Heaven, and keep that power stirred up and active; being a willing vessel for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit through us.
     So the next time, when someone asks you to pray for them to be healed, do as Peter did in Acts, Chapter Three.  When the lame beggar at the Temple pleaded for money to help him relieve his infirmed state, Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—Walk!” Peter was professing that he possessed the power of the Holy Spirit to heal him. Show the sick people in your life [and the devil] that you possess the Divine Nature of the Holy Spirit; and [though your active faith], proclaim Liberty for the captive; and declare the Word of the Lord, that by their Savior’s stripes, they are healed…  Then expect it to be so.
 
John 10:10     The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

HEALING: Understanding The Full Blessing of Jesus

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     I cannot tell you how blessed I am by our Home Church!  We are a diverse group of Christians who come together, trying to overcome the limitations of our particular denominational doctrines in order to emerge into the Light of God’s genuine Truth.  It hasn’t always been easy, and at times one or another of us has had our theology shaken to the core.  As for my husband and myself, we are unafraid of our Bibles, and are willing to believe what the Good Book plainly tells us — throwing off the conventional teachings of the Church (where needed); especially when it does not correlate to God’s inspired Word. Therefore, we are unafraid (and encourage others) to bring forth topics that reveal a bigger picture of the God we serve.

     And so, on this last Sabbath, two men of our faithful group reported to us after attending a Divine Healing Technician Training conference.  I, for one, was eager to hear how Mike and Chris related their experiences [from a Biblical perspective], since spiritual healing plays such an important part in the ministry that God has brought to my husband and myself.  The emphasis on their training was physical healing, but as I hope to show you, this is an important part of the whole healing package that Jesus desires for us.  

     To say that these two men were on fire to follow the example Jesus modeled for us, is to do their enthusiasm an injustice.  And I am unable to relate the full content of their presentation in this short blog post, so I will try to give you the highlights.  But they showed us in Scripture after Scripture that Jesus came to provide a pattern for holy living for Christians, and to reveal what God’s Kingdom on earth should look like.  He healed the sick and infirm; cast out demons (another form of healing); and preached the Gospel, or Good News, about the Kingdom.  And He asked us to follow in His footsteps.  

     The Apostles did that, and so did the early disciples of The Way, even after our Lord’s death and resurrection.  So why aren’t we continuing His example?  Why aren’t we walking in His footsteps?  Well, as Mike and Chris informed us, there are three major reasons that modern Christians don’t emulate our Lord’s actions in healing:  1)  Unbelief;  2)  the Traditions of Men; and 3) Sacred Cows.
     Unbelief  is not new to our current generation.  As I related last week, Jesus reprimanded the disciples who were unable to heal the epileptic boy in Matthew 17:  it was because of their unbelief. Their faith was immature and they did not believe that they had either sufficient authority or enough power to cast out the demon causing the boy’s infirmity.  And so they failed.  But today, Christians often don’t believe they have ANY authority or power to heal, and so they never even try.  Is that what Jesus taught us in His Word?  Not at all!  He said, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. 
     We just have to believe what the Bible tells us and be willing to step out in faith and do what Jesus did!  Will we be successful each and every time? Probably not.  But is that an excuse not to keep trying?  Is that the measure of a maturing and developing faith?  I don’t want to stand in front of Jesus one day, and tell Him I diligently searched His Word, and saw and understood His example of healing, yet decided it didn’t apply to me, or worse yet, quit trying when I didn’t get satisfactory results.  How can I deny my Bible when it tells me to not just be a hearer of the Word, but a doer of it? 
     The Traditions of Men and Sacred Cows are similar in that they are a belief/doctrine or long-established religious perception that are held down through generations, regardless of whether they align with Biblical Truth or not.  “It is just God’s Will” is such a tradition.  Where in the Bible does it say that it is God’s will for a follower of Jesus Christ to be sick, ill, infirmed, or oppressed by demons?  And if, like most Christians, you want to point to Job, then I would like you to look at Job’s predicament as part of the “big picture” in God’s plan.  Christ had not yet come when Satan accused Job. Job’s problems are not our problems!  We are covered by the Blood of Jesus and by His stripes we are healed! 
     As Mike and Chris made clear, The Word is our final authority… not our Church doctrines nor our traditions nor our sacred cows.  God’s Word is settled in Heaven, and it should be settled here on earth.  Healing is established in Heaven — there are no tears, mourning, crying or pain — and therefore if Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven, then Healing is to be established here on earth.  And Jesus came to model that for us as a man.  He did not heal as God, but “emptied” Himself in order to become a Servant to His fellow man; receiving His power from God to heal, as did the Apostles and Disciples.  That same power to heal is available to us — if we will just believe and do it!  And in doing so, we are partnering with God and following in the footsteps of Jesus to destroy the works of the devil.  It was for this reason that God sent His Only Son to us.
     Jesus had compassion on His fellow man, and He came to heal those who are sick; both physically and spiritually.  He makes it clear to us in Luke 5:31-32, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

     You see, He began by healing the physical sickness of all men, but He knew that their souls and spirits needed healing, too.  And that ultimate healing comes through repentance; which brings salvation and deliverance, which are manifestations of Jesus’s full blessing.  Healing is a sign of the full power of God to deliver and rescue men.  

     As a side note, the full capacity of God’s healing is evident in the various Hebrew and Greek words that reveal God’s compassion and mercy for His creation:  
Rapha (Hebrew): cure; cause to heal; [be a] physician; repair thoroughly; make whole — Genesis, 20:17 (Literally); Isaiah 19:22 (Figuratively).  
Iaomai (Greek): heal, generally of the physical, sometimes of spiritual or disease; Supernatural healing and bringing attention to the Lord Himself as the Great Physician (used 26 times in the Bible) —  Matthew 8:8, 13; James 5:16.
Therapeuó (Greek): properly heal, reversing a physical condition to restore a person having an illness (disease, infirmity); to relieve of disease; heal, cure, restore in health (used 43 times in the Bible) — Mark 6:5; Matthew 17:18.
Nathan (Hebrew): to deliver; to give — 1 Kings 22:6
Aphesis (Greek):  deliverance, pardon, complete forgiveness; to be released from bondage or imprisonment; forgiveness or pardon of sins — Mark 1:4
Sózó (Greek):  To save, heal, preserve, rescue, deliver — Acts 2:21; John 3:17; John 12:47
     As you can see, God’s healing is seen in the concepts of Healing, Salvation, and Deliverance.  Only the word sózó incorporates all three, and only Jesus can do all three.  Have been those who seek to exploit this ministry?  Absolutely — just as Simon the Sorcerer attempted to profit from the layin on of hands in Acts, Chapter 8.  But, as Jesus’s willing partners, we can follow His righteous example and help people be physically healed.  That’s why it is important that we acknowledge the Truth in the Word; that we are to lay hands on people and heal their physical infirmities to show them the power of Jesus in us!  By doing so, we can convey that He can also heal their deep inner wounds and their spirits; that He offers them a rescue from the bondage of sin and can deliver them into Everlasting Life!
     At the end of our Home Church, Mike and Chris put their faith into action, and asked if anyone needed healing.  In my spirit, I could see Jesus smiling as these two faithful men kneeled beside their fellow Christians and prayed for supernatural healing.  Their faithfulness to fulfill the commission given to all of us by our Lord was not only inspirational, but an incentive to make my faith one of action, not just abstract belief.  I have no doubt that there will be those among us who will put their faith into action and grow into this Biblical healing ministry.  I thank God that the Church is awakening to our call to mature into the likeness of Christ — let there be no more suffering and let all those on earth come to know the full power of Our Savior to heal us body, soul, and spirit!
Psalm 103:2-4    “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy…”

Can You Lose Your Deliverance?

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     As we Christians learn to walk out our “authentic” faith, we will have questions as suggested by the title of this blog.  And by the use of the word “authentic”, I will probably have a different meaning than popular theologians who use the word as a slogan or catchphrase in expressing their doctrine.  By authentic, I mean doing the things Jesus did, and following His model for establishing God’s Kingdom on earth.
     I know that I have explained what that looks like before, but because of the confusion among the Body of Christ, I do not think it can be expounded upon too often … When God revealed Himself on earth as the Son of Man and the Son of God, He came as our Savior, Jesus Christ, King of the Jews.  And on a very base level, we can recognize that what the King rules over is His Kingdom.  So while Jesus was on earth, we can say that His Kingdom had arrived (although His orderly rule among men had yet to be established — that is what He wants us to partner in setting up).  Also, Jesus made it very clear that the Kingdom of God is God’s rule in our hearts.
     As a representative of God’s Kingdom on earth, what were some of the acts He conducted when demonstrating what it meant to Seek first, the Kingdom of God? You are aware that I have pointed out the significance of His act of Healing as a signal of the Power of God on earth, and as a condition of the order and rule in His Kingdom.  And it is to the Glory of God that the Bible records that Jesus healed 31 individuals, including the Leper in Galilee; the paralyzed servant of the Roman Centurion; Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum; the man with a withered hand at a synagogue in Capernaum; the woman with an issue of blood; two blind men departing from Jericho; the infirmed man at the Pool of Bethesda at Jerusalem… to just name a few.
     But if you diligently search the Scripture, you will also find that not all of Jesus’s healings were defined by sickness or infirmities.  For instance, Matthew 15:22-28 reveals that He healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter who was “grievously vexed with a devil”.  Matthew 12:22 tells us, “Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil; blind, and dumb: and He healed him.”  Then there are those mass healings that took place, as in Matthew 4:24:  “So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them”.  And the last one (though not the final one) I will mention is in Luke 4:40-41:  “Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him, and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, You are the Son of God! But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ”.
     These are just a few of the healings that have been described in the Bible — cases of deliverance from both illnesses and demonic oppression.  But I would be negligent if I did not point out what John, the Apostle said, regarding this subject:  “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”.  Our Bible very plainly says that Jesus performed these miracles as signs that the Kingdom of God was now being set in motion upon the earth.  Yet, we the Church, are largely ignorant that this is to be our duty as servants of the King — to continue His work!  And while my writing has concentrated on this, as our moral obligation to our King, I want to take a look at another aspect of what He taught in regard to Healing.
     As my husband and I have studied and communed with God and Jesus about our divinely-assigned ministry of deep (spiritual) healing, [and what others term as Deliverance], we are being shown a Truth in Scripture that is important for the Body of Christ to understand if we are going to truly seek to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth.  Yes, we are encouraged by the evidence shown us [in the Bible] that Jesus healed people from their torments and the oppression of the Enemy and his demons.  And we have partnered with Him in helping quite a few people to escape the captivity in which they were bound.  But we have also begun to see that just because a person is set free by Jesus [in the spirit], it does not guarantee that this freedom is permanent.  And although it’s taken me quite a few paragraphs, I’m finally ready to explore the question as presented in the title of today’s post … Can You Lose Your Deliverance?
     I’m going to cut right to the chase… I believe that yes, you can.  And I want to make it perfectly clear … this is not a question of Salvation.  I did not ask, Can You Lose Your Salvation? Nor do I assert that a person’s Deliverance is dependent on their Salvation (although I do believe that if a person experiences Jesus setting them free of bondage and captivity due to their sinful life choices, it can lead to acceptance of Jesus as one’s Savior).
     So here is the Biblical evidence that I believe one can lose their Deliverance (or Healing).  Recall, if you will, the story in the Bible of the man at the Pool of Bethesda as related in John, Chapter 5.  This man had been an invalid for 38 years, and has positioned himself at the edge of the Pool, where it is stated that an angel comes down to occasionally stir the water, upon which the first ones entering are miraculously healed. [And I want to state that I have no problem believing in this miracle; just as I can believe other places in Scripture that record supernatural events, such as the healing of Naaman in the River Jordan (2 Kings 5:10-14); and the healing of those who have the shadow of Peter fall across them (Acts 5:14-16)].

     But along comes Jesus, who notices the man, and asks him an important question:  Do you want to be healed?  I can tell you that in our experience, that is an important question indeed. We have found it quite common that as bad as a person’s current situation might be, at least they are familiar with it. They know it intimately. It’s familiar and doesn’t run the risk of surprising them. They can be more comfortable in their present misery [and bondage] than taking the steps they need to meet Jesus and be set free.  Believe it or not, as miserable as people will admit to being, they can’t always say they want to be healed.
     When Jesus discerns that the man could not be healed on his own, He heals the man, who immediately recovers his strength.  And what does Jesus tell him?  Snatch up your pallet, start walking and keep on walking.  This is the expanded Greek translation of John 5:8.  Note the underlined words which imply that our deliverance (or healing) is not confined to this one moment in time.  We must continue on the path Jesus has set us upon.  This is further clarified just a few verses later, when Jesus happens upon the same man in the synagogue.  This man has been questioned about his healing, as if the very fact of his healing is in question.  After all, the Jews ask, who had the authority to do such a thing?  And the man is hard-pressed to provide a rational answer, not being able to identify the Son of God as his Deliverer.  But Jesus speaks to the man in the synagogue and tells him, Behold, you have become well.  Do not go on sinning any longer, lest something worse happen to you.  Right there, Jesus presents the possibility that this man’s healing and Deliverance is dependent on him.  It is not unconditional — it is not a Get Out of Jail Free card with no expiration date. And the failure to keep his Deliverance runs the risk of a return to a life which is even more oppressed.
     I must tell you that this is a concern as my husband and I minister to people who are in spiritual bondage, and in need of both spiritual and physical healing. [It is not uncommon for physical ailments to be rooted in spiritual issues that need healing].  There is usually much cause for celebration as a person meets Jesus in the spiritual realm and He is able to deliver them from their spiritual bondage and deep soul wounds.  There is elation and a sense of freedom; a sense that they have seen the end of their oppression and misery.  But just like Jesus cautioned the man at the Pool of Bethesda (and the adulteress woman at the well), it is not a one-time, done deal.  We must “Sin no more” and Keep walking in the new direction that Jesus has provided by His healing.  Jesus makes it very clear that He is warning against a return to sinful lifestyle choices, which will only re-open Satan’s legal authority to once again attack and oppress you.
     I know this is a huge concept, but it is one that Christians in the modern world need to understand.  It ties into the concepts I’ve presented on the Court in Heaven, and Our Authority vs. Satan’s. But we desperately need to comprehend that Jesus’s words extended His mercy, but also demanded our holiness.  He is telling us that any return to the sin that subjected us to oppression and captivity will nullify any release or freedom we have gained.  In essence, if we do not fight to keep our Deliverance [and resist the temptations and urges to return to the comfortable state of sin that resulted in our spiritual misery], then Satan will take advantage of that weakness and renew his attacks, and most likely our return to captivity will be even harsher.
     This, in effect, is the principle as expressed in Luke 11:24-26: When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it passes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ On its return, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and dwell there. And the final plight of that man is worse than the first.”
     If, through Deliverance, or deep healing, a person is rescued from a life of demonic harassment or oppression, but does not make an effort to fill their life with the newfound freedom from Jesus and seek to keep walking in His ways, then they are leaving themselves open to be revisited by the same whispered lies of the Destroyer.  In no time, they will find themselves back under the control of demonic influences and their freedom will vanish.  In short, it is our responsibility to STAY FREE if we don’t want to lose our Deliverance!
     In closing, I guess my final thoughts are these:  Jesus did not come to earth to establish a Kingdom that could be so easily won and lost [because we don’t make the effort to hold on to the freedom and territory that He helps us to receive].  Or you can look at it this way … It cost Jesus everything to come set us [the captives] free.  When He Delivers us from Satan’s clutches, we are being conformed to His image.  Why would we want to exchange our newfound identity to return to the tarnished image that Satan presents us? Why would any of us want to return to those prisons and chains?

Romans 6:17-18   “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness”.
   

Our Qualms and Quandaries Over The Subject Of Healing

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     The nice thing about being part of a Home Church is that we are not hindered, nor inhibited about studying subject matter that makes traditional Churches squeamish or nervous.  We are not afraid to ask questions that arise from our deep dive study of the Word.  We are not limited to long-established doctrines that leave no room for growth in our understanding, and if it is a subject that is presented in the Word, then nothing is outdated or obsolete.  If it’s in the Bible, then it’s there for a reason, and God wants us to know about it and understand its place in His Kingdom.
     So that brings me to the often misunderstood, criticized, exploited, and ignored subject of Healing in the Bible.  I think many in this Church generation tend to look upon Healing from a spiritual perspective, and physical healing is looked upon with suspicion; as the territory of charlatans and con artists.  But that is putting the miracle of Healing in a box, and limiting its full potential.
     That being said, there are many Christians today who are discovering some obvious truths in the Bible about Healing; new understanding that has been buried by the traditions and conventions of established Church doctrine. For instance, a careful and deliberate study of Scripture reveals that a great deal of Christ’s time was dedicated to healing the sick. And the record of those He healed is extensive: the blind, the paralyzed, the lame, the deaf, lepers, those who had fevers, and many with chronic illnesses.

     If our Lord devoted that much of His precious and short time on earth to healing, then there must have been a reason He did it, and a purpose for it, right?  Have you ever noticed, when reading the Gospels, how many of the accounts of Jesus have Him healing someone as His first act upon entering a new town?  Jesus knew that healing the sick — especially someone who had suffered for many years — would call attention to Himself and would give Him a relevant platform from which to share His message of the Kingdom of God.  In other words, He grabbed the audience’s attention, so to speak, with a miraculous physical healing, which would make it easier to transition to the fact that we all need spiritual healing — and both come from our Father in Heaven.  This is a pattern that He used throughout His ministry.  Another example is declaring that He is the Bread of Life, followed by feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread.
     Healing the physical needs of men also allowed Him to proclaim His Authority from God.  Follow this train of thought, if you will… while Jesus did not declare that there was a “cause and effect” between sickness and sin, He invited the newly restored person to be “well” and sin no more. That word [“well”] means not only physical healing, but “to save, rescue and liberate, as well as to heal and preserve.” That description fits our need to be healed from our sin.  But there is only One who has the Authority to forgive sin—and that is God, the Father.  But you will recall that Jesus plainly taught. “All Authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:18).  And it is clear to me that He has transferred that Authority to those who believe in Him and follow His commandments.  He says as much in Luke 10:19:  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 
     I believe that Jesus fully expected that authority to be used when He returned to the Father.  He told us in John 16:7 that it is to our advantage that He went away, so He could send The Helper.  And with the presence of the Holy Spirit came the ability to perform greater miracles than when Jesus walked the earth.  That’s why He proclaimed, Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
     I want to take a minute and point out two aspects of these Scriptures that I know is overlooked.  The first is that when Jesus says, BEHOLD, He is using an imperative verb, which means, Be sure to see this… or … Don’t miss this!  It is an observable fact! And when He says TRULY, TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, He is indicating that this is an important Truth; that the truth Jesus is telling is significant and important to listen to.  So the attempts by the modern world — both secular and in the Church — to dismiss that He gave us authority, or that He didn’t really mean that we would do the things He did (heal the sick, cast out demons, spread the Message of the Kingdom of God) — and do them in even greater numbers — is simply not borne out by the expressions He used.
     It is very clear to me that Jesus intended for His work to continue, not only through the Apostles, for through all Believers after He returned to the Father.  Why can’t we see it as the disciples in the Early Church did? (And by disciples, I mean the body of followers of Jesus; not limited to the 12 Apostles). They were full of the Holy Spirit and they believed that His Authority could flow through them with the help of the Holy Spirit, and people could be physically healed.  And then, just like Jesus, they could take that opportunity to extend a word about healing souls and spirits from sin.
     Put very simply … they believed the Word from the Lord and they were fully obedient. They fully expected to see Him work through them. Not only are we not obedient to His command, but we don’t really trust Him to be able to work through us.

     But I am happy to tell you that this is changing in the Body of Christ! More Christians are awakening to the Authority that has been given to us, and are stepping out in faith to do the works of Jesus.  In the major city of Austin, Texas, The Light House is a monthly Healing Room event where participants ask God to heal them in specific ways. Trained intercessors surround them and join them in prayer. Miracles abound! And the numbers are growing!  Furthermore, just within our small Home Church of 20 plus people, three people have taken the leap in faith to trust in the power of Jesus [working through them] to heal the afflicted.  They have taken the time to study with mentors who Biblically teach them about their authority to heal, as Jesus did. They know it is not them healing, but Jesus. They are simply willing to use the Authority He has given them to be the conduit.
     But we must go further in this discussion, and consider why everyone may not be healed.  There are reasons … faith must be considered, but it cannot be said that if someone is not healed, then their faith is weak.  God is Omniscient and He may have reasons why the power of Jesus does not immediately heal someone.  It may be a time of challenge that ultimately draws you nearer to God; or it may be that God’s perfect healing is to take you Home.  The only response to have when considering the power of Jesus to heal is, “What ever brings You glory, Lord. I know that you do not desire that anyone be sick, so it is not a matter of whether it is Your Will or not. I will trust that whatever the outcome might be, that it is to bring You Glory.  It’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus.”
     Frankly, it excites me to see the Body of Christ coming into their full power and authority from Jesus!  Lord knows that this world could stand to see some “serpents and scorpions tread upon”.  Because we in the Western world have seen nearly every display of technological wonder, there’s not much that impresses us anymore.  But the power of Jesus can surpass anything manufactured by man, and we in the Body are beginning to come into our authority and display the power of heaven on earth.  And extraordinary miracles are being performed… just like Jesus said they would!

Acts 4:30    “While You stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”
   
   
   
   

It’s Time to Deal In Truth!

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     God is beginning to reveal something to my spirit that is both disheartening and encouraging.  Let me see if I can share this insight, and if it makes sense to you.
     I have made it abundantly clear that I see through different spiritual eyes than I did even three years ago. My heart and my spirit know that it is Jesus’s deepest desire that all those who come to Him will be set free from their spiritual bondage.  Of course, He doesn’t want to lose even one person, and His invitation to faith and salvation is available for every human being.  But we all know that not everyone will accept that summons to eternal life, and many will vehemently reject Him.
     But my comments today are directed specifically to those who have answered His call and profess faith in Him as their Savior.  Of course, we must understand that faith comes in degrees as we journey through our salvation process; not everyone is equal in living out their faith, although Jesus will accept each one of us on an equal basis — all are welcome in His Kingdom. But we each must work out our salvation with fear and trembling; that’s where the concept of rewards and inheritance comes into play, and that is a discussion for another day.

     Today, I want to address the disparity in how we Christians receive the news that He came to set the captives free, and what I see Jesus doing in regards to that declaration.  First, let me say that I have found that those who are not entrenched in the “Church experience” seem to be more willing to accept and believe that Jesus really can set them free from their slavery to satan.  Since the Lord revealed to my husband and me that He wanted to use us to help people get free from their oppression and bondage, He has brought a variety of people to our doorstep.  And this is what we have observed:
1)  The people who are most desperate to have their “soul wounds” healed are the most receptive to allowing Jesus to heal these wounds and set them free from the lies satan has been whispering.
2)  They have reached the end of their rope, and there is nowhere else to turn.  They either do not trust the Church, or they do not believe that it can help them.  They are willing to meet with Jesus, up close and personal, in a manner that the Church is not even willing to consider, and it is because He is their last hope.
3)  As you can surmise, these are people who are generally dissatisfied with the Church, although many of them come from Church backgrounds.  So they are not affiliated with any Church, although they believe in Jesus. So, in essence, at this stage of their healing process, the Church does not come between them and Jesus and their deliverance from captivity.
     Now this is the part that might seem surprising, but so far, it has proven to be quite consistent …
4)  Christians who are faithful Church-attendees are just as likely to be desperate in their bondage, but are the most reluctant to let Jesus in.  I am not a psychologist, so I cannot verify my conclusions, but it seems pretty clear that they have a hard time breaking out of the box that their Church doctrine and experience have put them in.  I don’t want you to misunderstand me … they proclaim a real faith and belief in Jesus, just the same as their counterparts; often more passionately.  But it has been our experience that the comfort and identity they have as “Church-going Christians” can sometimes get in the way of really believing Jesus’s message of setting the captives free.
     Somehow, it seems easier for them to live with their oppression when surrounded by others that share a similar “Sunday experience” and membership in the Church club.  Sadly, I have seen too many wonderful, God-fearing Christians come to me with stories of oppression that they keep hidden from their Church fellowship.  Is it because what Jesus offers [in healing those wounds] is outside the mainstream of accepted Church practices?  Is it because their identity is all wrapped up in how the Church sees them, and they can’t let the mask slip?  Or is it, because deep down they don’t really believe that Jesus can do what He says He came to do? … to set at liberty those who are oppressed.  (Luke 4:18)
     My husband recently listened to a podcast by a former warlock, John Ramirez; a man who was steeped in the occult, and who vowed allegiance to the dark forces of the devil.  As a Satanist, he said that the first thing he would do to enslave a church would be to declare the spirits of Fear, Doubt, and Unbelief be manifested against it.  He said that the first one to engage in the spiritual battle over a church was the one who would likely win, and since churches are usually devoid of Christians knowledgeable in, or strong enough, to take that first step and wage the spiritual war, he said that churches were an easy victory for him.  This is a man who sees the “big picture” and has fought on both sides of the battlefield.  Thanks to his conversion and the saving power of Jesus, he now instructs Christians on how to let Jesus help them defeat the Enemy.

       I tend to believe his fantastic story because that’s exactly what I have seen in dealing with my Christian brethren who are spiritually tied to their churches.  If the spirit of Fear has not enslaved them, then Doubt and Unbelief will shut them down because they do not believe that they can go to Jesus and let Him heal their deep wounds.  And in reality, they are often not living their own life-Truths. I sometimes think they feel as if their wounds are too shameful or embarrassing to admit; that their fellow Church members would doubt that someone like them was worthy to be in their midst.  Or at the very least, they do not fit their own description of what a Saved person looks like. If only they believed what the Bible tells us in John, Chapter 8.
    In verse 28 of that chapter, Jesus says, I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him. Then Scripture tells us, As he was saying these things, many believed in him.  But, as theologian Leon Morris writes, “This section of the [Biblical] discourse is addressed to those who believe, and yet do not believe. Clearly they were inclined to think that what Jesus said was true. But they were not prepared to yield Him the far-reaching allegiance that real trust in Him implies. This is a most dangerous spiritual state.” That is so true! Remaining under the oppression caused by fear, or refusal to yield to His deliverance, only keeps the Christian from taking that life-saving step.  And Satan wins!
     And I believe that is where many Christians are today.  Jesus made it abundantly clear when He said, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Yet, I’m afraid that Christians find it difficult to live their own truth, let alone Jesus’s truth that He can set us free.  Satan has been able to infiltrate the Church (in ways like the former warlock, Mr. Ramirez, described) and sow Fear, Doubt, and Unbelief, and thereby keep Christians sitting in the pews in restricted power and authority.  They are either slaves to the hidden sins they are committing, or are in bondage due to the hidden sins committed against them.  Either way, they are slaves to the lies that the Enemy uses to convince them they are unclean and living under false identities.
     Somehow, I think they feel that if they face their truths, it will be more difficult to live as a Christian; that they are more comfortable in hanging on to the wounds while believing that Jesus has forgiven them, rather than taking the leap to a reality that they can finally be free of all the fear and anxiety and anger and bitterness and unforgiveness that clings to those memories of sin.
     I will tell you that those who are willing to surrender their fears and their pride, because they are tired of living under the burden of oppression, are truly new creations when they are set free. Jesus is able to show them how He sees them; they are not bound by their own perceptions of how they appear to Him.  That is not to say that the Enemy gives up and leaves the battlefield.  He knows the areas in their lives that are vulnerable, and the lies they have believed in the past.  But with each new attack that they repel through the Father’s power and authority that Jesus gives them, they become stronger, and the devil soon learns that he has a formidable foe.

     So, while I am saddened, and often frustrated, at my fellow Christian’s inability to believe their own Bible, I am determined to be an instrument of my Lord’s mission to set the captives free.  In fact, I am beginning to see more and more instances of God ripping off the bandaids of fear, doubt, and unbelief, and confronting Believers with the truth of their lives.  I am discerning that time is running short, and Jesus wants people to be set free so that they can be powerful participants in His Kingdom.  It’s time that all Christians quit hiding behind whatever barricade or mask the Enemy offers in order to keep them oppressed and in bondage.  Whether it be alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, or the Church, it is time that we live (abide) in the Truth and the Light Jesus offers us.
    And it gives me great encouragement to hear from those who have received freedom!  Some have completely changed their family dynamics, and others are planning on helping friends and family get set free in the Name and Power of Jesus.  So, I am happy to see that Christians are being confronted with their need to live in Truth, and their need to surrender to Jesus’s healing Spirit.  While some come willingly, I believe that God is forcing the issue with others.  All of us are slaves to sin in one form or another.  But it is essential that we realize we cannot liberate ourselves. We cannot convert ourselves, nor can we be converted by any fellow-sinner.  The Liberator from our bondage must come from outside the ranks of enslaved humanity.  The only One who can do that is waiting for our agreement with Him.  He is determined to set as many people free as He can before our time runs out.  Don’t waste another minute living in bondage!

John 8:34-36    “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  

A Personal Testimony: Jesus IS Our Deliverer!

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     I decided today that I wanted to share with you a most encouraging email that I received.  Oftentimes, I receive requests asking for more information on spiritual deliverance and how healing the deep spiritual wounds in one’s life is possible.  Most of the time people are open to letting me share the method that the Lord has shown me to set them on their path to being set free from satanic oppression.  Every once in awhile I will hear from someone who desperately needs to be freed, yet they cannot let go of their church doctrine and see the deeper truths in Scripture.  I get accused of seeing demons in every corner — that’s a favorite accusation of those who cling to what the Church has taught them [or in most cases, not taught them], and have trouble accepting any other viewpoint outside their experience.  But I don’t let the naysayers discourage me; those with ears to hear, will hear.
     And then there are the people who have amazing testimonies; those who have been willing to let Jesus and the Holy Spirit heal those wounds.  They have come out of the darkness of their lives, into the Light that is Jesus.  Their lives are truly transformed.  And rather than hearing me give my opinion of the necessity of spiritual warfare [one more time], I thought you’d like to hear from someone who can affirm the power and authority we have in Christ.  Allow me to share some of her “before” and “after” testimony.  
     First, let me tell you that the very first email I received had one single word in the subject line … “Help?”  And this is a little of what that first desperate cry for help sounded like … 
   

     This letter has been long in coming.  It’s been in my mind for months now, but it’s taken this long to actually write it.  Part of the warfare, I’m sure.  I know that Satan does not want me to write it.  He does not want me to ask for help.  He does not want me to learn how to actively fight him.  I have been much too easy for him to manipulate and oppress…
     I have never written a letter like this to someone out in the internet, but this urge has not gone away in several months, so I am going to just go for it.  Thank you for listening.  Right now I literally have no one to listen to me, or to help. I am feeling more vulnerable and under attack than I have ever felt in my life.  It feels like it is incoming from every single direction possible.  A good description of me right at this moment would be a little girl, curled up in a ball, trying to withstand the blows and hoping they will end soon.  I honestly don’t know what has happened to me.  I am a fighter.  But the fight is taking its toll on me and I just feel like a sitting duck.  It is so bad that I don’t even know what to do or where to start.  I am tired, broken and feel like I’m hanging on by a thread.  The one thing I hang on to is my certain knowledge that my Redeemer lives.  But, I can’t get to Him. I pray and I ask and yet I still feel like I’m on the other side of soundproof glass and I can’t make contact.  I know He’s there.  I know He has the power to heal me.  I know He can demolish my foes with a single word.  And yet, I can’t get there, no matter what I do.
     I am usually an eternal optimist.  I always hang on to hope, and I believe that God uses all things for my good.  I know all that in my head, but it is not translating out into my life.  It’s getting harder and harder to hang on to the hope.  There is something blocking me from the healing power of God.  I have had so much ministry through the years.  Deliverance, healing, breaking strongholds, so much, but there is still something there that is not right.  I need help!  …  I feel so confused….and helpless…Please, Belle….what can I do?  How do I get started?  How do I fight?  My usually happy, upbeat spirit feels crushed….I can’t stop crying….I can’t stop the pummeling…and now I am going to take a huge leap of faith, and push “send”.

     This is the email I received from her a couple of months after we did multiple sessions… and all either by phone or FaceTime!  I was concerned about how I could help her since we lived so far apart, and my wise husband said, “Don’t you think God is big enough to work with her through the internet?  After all, the Enemy does!” … Such a wise man!

     Well, what can I say???  It really does just keep getting better!  Words don’t even come close!  I don’t even feel like the same person….I am handling life, but more than just handling it….I am so full of joy!!  The depression is completely gone!  I haven’t had a single sad moment since our very first session!  I am honestly a totally changed person!!  I am NOT exaggerating!!  I finally have that peace I have been looking for ALL of my life!!!  Things that would have normally knocked me down, are not.  The wall is down…I will never forget as long as I live the picture of Yeshua literally tearing that wall down, brick by brick, and releasing me.  I am so excited and happy!
     There are so many things I could share….so much happening…so much the Lord is showing me!  Every single day there is some new revelation about so many things.  I am getting so much understanding on so many things.  And I am learning how to do life in a completely different way.  It’s almost like I’m outside of certain situations and have an understanding of what is actually happening that I’ve never had before.  For example, when there’s a problem with a person, I’m not focused on what is happening physically, but instead, I’m aware of what is happening in the spiritual realm.  So, things that would have “pushed my buttons” before, I now can tell what the real issue is.  Does that make sense? I’m more aware of the spiritual component, which makes me handle things so much more differently.  I am just so much more loving and understanding.  Where before I would have been offended, or hurt, or reacted, I am finding that I go pretty much immediately to God, ask Him what is REALLY going on, and how I should handle it…what I should say, etc.  It’s sure made for much more peaceful times.

     And this is the latest email I received, just a couple of days ago, and nearly 2 years from the first time she contacted me:     

     Just a quick note back to tell you thank you….and  STAY THE COURSE!!!  And BE ENCOURAGED!!!  You and your husband are doing such a great and needed work!!! I pray that there will be a hundred more of you!!!  I was led to you almost 2 ½ years ago and because of that one small, God-led click of a link, my whole world is changed!!!  Everything is different when seen through the eyes of healing, spiritual warfare and deliverance!!  Everything!!  Nothing is the same!!      After having Satan “mop the floor” with me, and my family, I am truly learning to stop taking it and fight back.
     What the Lord has really been impressing on me lately is how I am to be part of these Last Days battles and the need for training and practice….and the significance that it has in the heavenlies, since I have been redeemed from an  “organization” that we are fighting against!! Just being free from it all is a true blow to enemy forces!! What was meant for evil, God has used for good!!  Everywhere I turn I find “Masonic”, “Illuminati”, “Hiram Abiff”, etc.   Interesting, isn’t it, that six months ago I didn’t even KNOW how deep and satanic those Masonic ties were….and now, everywhere I look, there it is and it is a huge part of the enemy’s plans for this world!!!  I’m still so new and have so much to learn….but I see everything through a different set of eyes than I ever did before….and it all makes so much sense to me now!!  How privileged we are to be alive today!!  That doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to what’s coming…but, it does mean I’m excited to see what God is going to do!!!
     Anyway, just wanted you to know what a blessing you are to me…and so many others!!!  … If I could help even one person to step out into the great unknown and receive healing and deliverance, I would be thrilled!

     Can you see the difference between the first email and the subsequent ones?  I remember telling her when we began talking that if she would allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit into her memories, and let them heal the wounds that have been inflicted upon her throughout her life, that she would have a powerful testimony of what Jesus meant when He said, “I came to set the captives free”.  And now she is glorifying Him to anyone who will listen!
     I just wanted to give you a break from hearing my voice and let you hear from someone who is speaking through experience and Truth.  Her testimony is more credible than mine … she has lived it and is now shouting God’s Truth:  Jesus Is our Rock, our Fortress, and our Deliverer!

Psalm 34:4    “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

   

The Person of Jesus Over Doctrine

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     For the last few days I have been concentrating on studying and doing research for the Book of Acts study I am leading with our Home Church group.  I can honestly say that my time spent in this pursuit is the best part of my whole day… if I could only spend all day, every day gleaning all the extra information that is available from Scripture, ancient writings, and commentaries, I would be content and blessed beyond measure.

     But there is a concept that pricked my spirit during this preparation time and I want to share it with you.  I had finished my notes on Acts, Chapters 6 and 7, which includes the supernaturally-powered speech that Stephen brings before the Sanhedrin, which directly leads to his martyr’s death.  It is a magnificent picture of the Holy Spirit, who filled Stephen [and led him] in presenting approximately 2034 years of history – from the call of Abraham to the Crucifixion — and to represent a case for God’s deliverance of Israel and the glorification of Jesus … all in less than 5 minutes! 
     But because the religious leaders of the Jews were so steeped in their structure of institutional religion and its customs, they were blinded to the supernatural power that was affecting Stephen.  Add to that, the fact that they had made an idol out of the Temple, which they accused him of blaspheming against.  Do you see anything here that resembles the state of our modern Church?  
     During my research, I came across a quote from the acclaimed preacher, Charles Spurgeon.  He wrote, “Beloved friends, I delight to preach to you all the doctrines which I find in God’s Word; but I desire ALWAYS to preach the person of Christ above the doctrine; the doctrine is but the chair in which Christ sits as a Prophet to instruct us.”  Well, my dear friends, that struck me like lightning! I’m afraid that, like the Sanhedrin, the modern Church has developed its own institutional religion that elevates its doctrine and tenets above the sharing of the Person of Christ. 
     We have so many customs, and rules, and rituals, that the message of WHO Christ is, and THE MIRACLES He did, and THE WORDS He spoke from His Father have become lost amidst a convoluted set of beliefs that keep us ineffective, focused inward, and without authority in this sinful world.  Instead of proclaiming the POWER and AUTHORITY of Jesus, the Person, we have made powerless idols out of Him and the Church Building and our denominational laws and traditions.

     There are times I want to scream the accusation Stephen shouted to his religious leaders:  You are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit!  When we deny or ignore the Power that was exhibited in the man, Jesus, and His Authority that came directly from God, then we are limiting the Kingdom work that can be done by the Church.  By teaching that the Holy Spirit comes to live in us at our conversion, and that’s it — nothing about evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives to do the things Jesus did [heal the sick, cast out demons, defeat the schemes of the devil]  how do we ever expect to distinguish ourselves from the outside, unsaved world???

     We have lost the wonder that the Samaritans must have felt when the Evangelist, Philip, came to share the news of who this man Jesus was.  Remember, the Samaritans were the descendants of pagans who had intermarried with the lowest classes of Jews after the Assyrians had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and carried off the wealthy and middle-class citizens.  They were considered half-breeds and there was a deep-seated prejudice between them and those Jews who considered themselves religious.  They would not have particularly been interested to hear what this man from Jerusalem, who worshipped in the Temple, had to say.  And today, there is nothing that the Church has to offer that the secular unbeliever wants to hear.  
     Yet Philip’s message not only conveyed the modern Church’s representation of Jesus as the Son of God, but this evangelist was led by the Holy Spirit to do miracles; Philip showed them the Power of the Holy Spirit and his authority to act on behalf of Jesus to heal the paralyzed and the lame; and as the Bible says, “unclean spirits (demons), shouting loudly, were coming out of many who were possessed”.  I have no doubt that the people of Samaria received the wonder of the Person of Christ without being burdened by all the external doctrine of the established religion.  In fact, Scripture says these acts of power and authority by Philip validated his message.  The Holy Spirit, acting through Philip, had confirmed and authenticated the message of salvation.   Is it any wonder that the unsaved world — in this age of technological marvels and spectacles — finds no validity in the repetitive message of “Jesus loves you”?   
    And that is what I strongly feel is missing in the Church today.  God and His Holy Spirit cannot be limited to residing in houses made by human hands.  We do not need to be making idols of structures built by men, or relying on creeds and traditions to portray our image of Christ.  The Bible says that those who heard Philip share his testimony of the Person of Christ were constantly amazed.  Do we Christians, housed in our buildings dedicated to God, project amazement to those outside the Body of Christ?  Do we create in them a yearning to be like Christ?  Do they see any evidence of His Power and Authority in our lives?  Do we carry that message to far-off places, like Philip, or challenge the status quo, like Stephen?
     Besides the fact that God-fearing people are leaving the Church building in search of the Person and the Power of Christ, I am concerned that the Body of Christ is sorely unprepared for the encroaching Evil that IS evident in the world.  THAT power is making itself known and felt and experienced.  If we, as believers and followers of Jesus, don’t begin to exercise the greater power of the Holy Spirit, as did Stephen and Philip [who were men like us], then we can expect to be overcome.  If we only have the Apostles Creed and the Communion Service to take into battle against the Enemy, we can expect to be defeated.  And, my friends, Jesus didn’t go to the Cross so that we would be left defenseless.  The early Christians knew that, and they called upon the Power He had clearly assigned to them, and they used their Authority as His witnesses, to declare the message of salvation and eternal life to all those who would follow this Person, called Jesus.  Yes, the message was important, but the evidence of Power and Authority sealed the deal.  
     Today, there are segments of the Body of Christ who are becoming disillusioned with the tired old rhetoric.  They don’t want the building anymore … they want more of who Jesus was and what He promised; they want evidence of the work and power of the Holy Spirit!  How I wish that everyone could have the faith of my friend, Steve, who when diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, called my husband and me and asked for prayer.  Of course, we prayed with and for him, but because he lived in the city where our Deliverance Ministry mentor lived, we also suggested that he visit with her and let the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit heal his afflictions and cleanse him of his sins.  Now, several months later, after surgery and what the doctors thought would be a life-long regimen of chemo, his cat scan shows that there is no trace of cancer in his body.  When his physician told him, “I just can’t explain it,” Steve replied, ” I can! It is the Power of the Almighty Living God; the Great I AM!”  Hallelujah, and I thank you, Jesus, for that powerful testimony!  I also pray that many more will come to experience this amazing power in their lives… and live [spend one’s life] to tell about it!!!
1 Corinthians 4:20    “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.”
     

Mark 5:1-13

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They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and the man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with chains. 4 For he had often been bound with shackles [for the feet] and with chains, and he tore apart the chains and broke the shackles into pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue and tame him. 5 Night and day he was constantly screaming and shrieking among the tombs and on the mountains, and cutting himself with [sharp] stones. 6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him [in homage]; 7 and screaming with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have in common with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you by God [swear to me], do not torment me!” 8 For Jesus had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he began begging Him repeatedly not to send them out of the region. 11 Now there was a large herd of pigs grazing there on the mountain. 12 And the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the pigs so that we may go into them!” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out [of the man] and entered the pigs. The herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea; and they were drowned [one after the other] in the sea.

     I have chosen to feature the entire episode of the madman from Gerasene, and how Jesus deals with his demonic possession.  Actually, I prefer the title that the English Standard Version gives to this passage… Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon.  This is such a simple phrase, but it accurately describes what happens when we work with Him in delivering those who are being attacked by demons.
     [At this point, I think it is necessary to explain why I used the word demonic possession, rather than demonic oppression.  What I have learned through my training and experience in spiritual deep healing is that those who believe in Jesus have the Holy Spirit residing within them; their spirit belongs to Jesus and demons cannot take up residence there.  BUT satan and his demons can attack their minds, their emotions, their free will, and their flesh  — causing emotional and physical pain, and bouts of anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and any other sin that robs us of our peace in Jesus.  That is called demonic oppression.  On the other hand, an unbeliever’s spirit is not occupied by the Holy Spirit, and a demon or demons can inhabit that person’s spirit; and devoid of any semblance of Jesus, that person can be possessed by the demonic spirits and under their full control.]
     I also wanted to use the entire story of this healing to show you the principles of spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry that are contained within it.  And while it is such a familiar story among Christians, I am convinced that the true impact of it has been lost among this modern society.  So, we’ll just start at the beginning…
     Verses one through five give us a classic picture of the effects of being demonically possessed.  (In fact, the version in Luke actually says he was “possessed by demons” in the Amplified version.)  Again, the picture of this man is that he was filled with unclean spirits (marking him as ungodly); had been possessed for a long time; he wore no clothes and acted like a wild animal;  he lived in the tombs among the decaying and dead, which was contrary to Jewish law and against human instinct; he had supernatural strength; and he was tormented and self-destructive, given to cutting himself with stones.  Any of these attributes would indicate a troubled man in need of emotional and spiritual healing, but he hit the jackpot with all these characteristics, and there is no question that he is possessed by demons.
     Some commentaries suggest that this madman plays a very special role in the community and he is the scapegoat for the entire community, bearing the demons of everyone, which explains why he has so many (a Legion, which by Roman military standards, could be as high as 5-6,000).  Scripture does not make this clear, but we do know that he has a great many demons who inhabit him.  
     In verse 6, it is made clear that the demons recognize Jesus for who He is, and bow down in homage.  It is Biblical Truth that all spiritual powers are subject to Jesus Christ who has supreme authority, and demons are powerless before Him.  We have certainly found that to be true in the ministry sessions we have done.  I want to make it clear that not everyone who is invited to our table to meet with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to let Them set them free has demons who inhabit them.  Sometimes Jesus can just show them He was present during the hurtful times in their lives, which helps them to forgive those who hurt them, and the wounds are healed.  But if a person is hanging on to any spirit of anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, pain, etc., then they have given legal authority for that spirit to take up residence in their soul (mind, emotions, and free will) and they have to be kicked out.  
     All Jesus had to do (in verse 8) was tell the demon to come out of the man.  And when we do deliverance/deep healing with someone, the Holy Spirit actually guides us to ask the demons to submit to Jesus’s authority and they have no choice — they are subject to His authority and powerless before Him.  All that may seem simplistic and too easy; but if you believe that Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us, then why is it so difficult to believe that He can be present with us here and now, demand that the demon leave a person, and send them where He wants to… just like He did here in Mark, Chapter 5?  
     There is another principle that I want to point out in verse 10.  Notice that the demons begged Jesus not to send them “out of the region”.  It is my viewpoint that satan assigns areas to his cosmic powers and entities.  Whether it be a city, a state, a nation, or a continent, I believe that satan dedicates specific ground to his rulers.  In this case, a group have been assigned the region of Gerasene.  It is possible that the demons did not want to give up their power and requested to be sent into the pigs so that they might remain in that region.  But the region consisted of the Country of the Gerasenes, and extended only as far as the land extended to the water’s edge.  So when they asked to go into the pigs, Jesus gave them permission.  And if you’re wondering why I think that the pigs then rushed headlong into the sea and drowned, I believe it was because all things are under the authority of Jesus, and He willed it as the manner of destruction for the demons.
     There are many other opinions about this particular passage — among them, that Zeus (or Jupiter) worship was the religion of this area, and pigs were the choice sacrificial animal. By being allowed to enter the pigs, and running them off the cliff, the demon spirits accomplish a blood sacrifice to Jupiter, the god of the sea.  OR, this could have been a two-fold event from Jesus’s perspective — free the demon-possessed man, and disrupt the Zeus/Jupiter worship by drowning the ritually-used swine.   
     The truth is that we don’t really know all the hidden answers to this Biblical puzzle.  But we DO know that it was only by the power of Jesus that the man was able to be set free.  The circumstances under which he was restored can be repeated the same way today … When Jesus is present, and we call upon Him and His Holy Spirit within us, the demons are rendered impotent and defenseless.  They MUST obey His commands, and leave.  If no demons are present, the power of the Holy Spirit shows one that Jesus is present in the moment, and conveys the truth that He was present at the time of the wounding.  He leads us to the knowledge that we need not be subject to the lies of the Enemy; He leads us to the knowledge that the freedom Jesus promises is real; and He leads us to the knowledge of that we don’t have to live in defeat.  Like the madman from Gerasene, Jesus will be there when you need Him most… you must never give up or resign yourself to defeat.  No matter how many demons have plagued you in your life, they are ALL subject to their Creator … the same One who created you to live in the freedom He bought and paid for.  That is His Truth, and believe me, it will set you free!  And our obligation?  To spread the word as He asked:  “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:17-20).  It is my privilege to have witnessed such grace and mercy, and to have partnered with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to bring such blessed freedom to those in bondage.  May the Church awake to this knowledge and understanding!
     

Christianity Is a 2-Step Process: Salvation To Freedom

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     I have seen profound evidence of this truth in the past week.  The recognition that spiritual warfare is not only real, but necessary, has set my husband and myself on a path that has ultimately estranged us from the traditional Church, yet given us the opportunity to testify to the fullness of our Christian faith.
     Christians don’t like that word “process” because it means “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end”.  You see, it is my opinion that we’ve kind of gotten the purpose and method of Christianity out of order and all mixed up.  I’m not too sure we haven’t lost some of what Jesus intended for us, His followers, to do until His return.
     When the Apostles met the resurrected Jesus in Galilee and they received their/our commission, what did Jesus tell them to do?  He told them in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  There is a lot going on in those instructions, but somehow, the Church has reduced it all to a message about salvation.  
     The primary message that I think people in our culture receive … and people in the pews … is how important it is that we are SAVED.  They perceive that the central point of the Good News of Jesus is that through God’s grace, we have received the gift of salvation, which translates into eternal life; we have escaped the wrath of God because Jesus paid the debt for our sins by experiencing the death that is due all of us.  GRACE and SALVATION become the focal point of what Jesus is all about, and we miss the broader implications of His ministry and purpose.  To them, Salvation is the ultimate goal … “got it … done!”
     Let me be clear, I am by no means denying the significance of Salvation!  It is a desired result of a very real relationship with the Son of God.  But it is just one component of that relationship, and we do a disservice, as His disciples, to concentrate on that message alone.  We have forgotten just how extraordinary it was when, at the beginning of His public ministry, He stood up in the synagogue, and when reading from the ancient scrolls, chose to read Isaiah 61:1-2:  “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me to bring good news to the humble and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted, To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives and freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord…”
     In effect, Jesus is stating His job assignment, and it all leads to Freedom — the binding of wounds; the release from confinement and condemnation; freedom to the prisoners of sin and the physical and spiritual captives [of the devil].  That is what He has been sent to do, and receiving Salvation (the “good news” He states at the beginning) is just the beginning of the process that will lead to Freedom in this world, and Eternal Life in the next.
     The Church has been good about teaching the beginning of the process — the Salvation message.  But if we only receive Salvation and don’t continue on to Freedom, then we have our faith in Jesus (that He died for our sins, was buried and resurrected to bear witness to God’s victory over Death, and to bear witness to the same Power that will save us from eternal Hell), but we have only gone half-way towards benefitting from the rest of Jesus’s assignment.
     Knowing and recognizing that He died for our sins does not, by itself, release us from the bondage and condemnation of the Enemy.  Our physical and spiritual captivity is not automatically voided by the Prince of this world.  Did you know that the Early Church believed that everyone who received Salvation (and was converted out of this world) was still full of demons?  They believed that a person could receive Jesus as their Savior from eternal damnation, but still have unclean spirits that affected their lives.  You see, they were well aware of the symptoms of demonization, and there were people within the Church who had either witnessed Jesus “setting the captives free”, or had seen His Apostles and disciples continuing His work in binding up the spiritual wounds caused by demonic attacks.
     Sadly, today we have lost that sense of recognition.  We have all kinds of titles we put on demonic oppression …. mental illness; schizophrenia; personality disorders, bipolarism, and on and on.  In God’s Truth, and in reality, these conditions are caused by spiritual attacks by the Enemy.  Granted, these are extreme cases of demonic oppression, but this realization does not dismiss that Christians, who are wonderfully Saved, are still in bondage to demonic persuasions.
     Over the past week, my husband and I have ministered to people who love the Lord without question, who have accepted Him as their Savior and believe in the redemptive work He did on the Cross.  Yet, they are plagued with Guilt and Shame and Doubt and Unworthiness and Pain and Anger … just to name a few.  These are people who know that the Bible tells us that God forgives and forgets our sins.  They know the Scriptures that tell us “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more”; ” I will put My laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more”; and “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us”. 
      They know these Scriptures and they hear them time and time again, but they don’t really believe it.  That’s because they are still in bondage to the lies of the devil, who whispers in their minds that they don’t deserve the forgiveness; that they are unworthy of Jesus’s sacrifice; that they are still dirty and unclean in His eyes.
     But here’s what they miss, and what I believe the Church fails to hammer home in their teaching and preaching:  It is the very important message contained in Hebrews 10:14 …  For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.  I think most Christians can get the concept that when they receive Salvation, Jesus’s forgiveness is a done deal (even if they don’t quite believe it for themselves).  But they have not been taught that this begins the process toward being the person that Jesus created them to be; the Scripture says they “are being sanctified”.  Other translations say they “are being made holy”.  Do you see the verb tense?  It is Present Progressive, indicating an ongoing activity.  It’s right there in the description!  It’s about “Progress”!  First … Salvation, which begins the process; and then taking the steps to make progress towards Freedom!
     Let’s finish by going back to that Early Church belief that converted Christians still had demons.  Why would we think we are any different?  Do we look back on them as backwards and uncivilized, and see ourselves as more enlightened and informed?  Remember, they were a whole lot closer to receiving Jesus’s “Good News” than we are, thousands of years later.  They took to heart his proclamation in that synagogue … that this was the favorable year of the Lord because He was being anointed and commissioned to bind up and heal spiritual and physical wounds; to release people from condemnation; and to free the prisoners that the devil was keeping in captivity.
    And before He left this world, He told those of us who believe in Him that we would do the things He had done, and even greater.  And now we are waking from a long slumber of deception, lack of knowledge, and inexperience to continue that work.
     In the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus instructs us to make disciples of all nations, and to “[teach] them to observe all that I commanded you”.  That word “observe”, in the Greek, means to guard or preserve.  But what should we, as the Body of Christ, be guarding and preserving?  The Gospel of Jesus, for sure … that Salvation is available to all that believe in His redemptive work.  But after He is resurrected, and before He ascends into Heaven, He makes it very clear that the Apostles are to wait for the Power of God (which would come in the form of the Holy Spirit).  This is the same Power that the Father had given Him to heal the brokenhearted, cast out demons and set people free from the oppression of satan.  And with that Power they were to continue these same works that He had done, and to teach those who were becoming followers of Jesus that they, too, received that Power at their conversion.  And they were to use it!
    I began this post by saying that I had seen this two-step process of Salvation to Freedom this past week.  People were able to see Jesus in the midst of their sinful lives and to experience His love and forgiveness.  They left that encounter feeling “different; lighter; as if a burden had been lifted”.  But most importantly, they left knowing that Jesus is ever-present and He wants them set free from the prison they’ve been locked in.  And it is a glorious thing to witness!
     It is such a blessing to be involved in Deliverance Ministry … to see the Power of the Holy Spirit speak into people’s lives so they can see the Truth of Jesus’s forgiveness and their path out of the hurts and oppression they have been suffering under.  When Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the Truth shall set you free”, I’m here to give witness that He means it!  I have assisted Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help people see Him in the midst of the hardest times in their lives; times that satan used to give them a spirit of brokenness, or anger, or shame.  And, the Holy Spirit shows them that Jesus was actually there with them through that painful experience, and they hear His truth, instead of satan’s lie … that He loves them; He has always loved them; He forgives them when they ask for forgiveness; and He washes them clean with His blood.  It is to the Glory of God that I can assist Jesus in making Himself real to those who love Him!  Now it is my prayer that other Christians will recognize that their Salvation is just the starting point; that they will begin the process towards Freedom, letting Jesus and the Holy Spirit work in them to release them from the spiritual bondage that is hindering them from bearing fruit in their lives and for God’s Kingdom.  That’s the second step that Jesus died for!

Psalm 118:5    “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me free.”
   

A Legacy For The Kingdom

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     For some reason, today my spirit is wishing to share some personal thoughts and revelations… I don’t receive a lot of comments or feedback from my blog posts, but that’s OK.  I don’t need accolades for me; I’d rather read and hear God being praised, but when I do, they are often times humbling and give me more credit that I deserve.  Readers are too quick to praise me for knowledge and inspiration that, quite frankly, I don’t feel worthy of.  The truth is, there have been people who have been instrumental in shepherding my foray into spiritual warfare, and who have validated the direction that the Holy Spirit is leading me.
     I am no different than any of you … My experiences and knowledge can be obtained by anyone wishing to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit and to earnestly serve the Kingdom of God. Perhaps I am just a tad more bold or daring; in fact, I have had other Christians tell me that I should be more cautious and less passionate.   But I have confidence in my discernment, and I am not one to waste time if I hear the Holy Spirit counseling me to step out in faith.  So, today, I’d like to inspire you by introducing you to a woman who has inspired a growing army of spiritual warriors for this Time and Place.

     First, let me say that I have been tremendously blessed to have a husband who has been an aggressive warrior in his own right.  If you’ve been reading this blog for quite some time, then you know that his first and middle names literally mean “Peace-Loving Warrior”, and he exemplifies that strong and commanding image.  Together, the Lord showed us a couple of years ago where He wants us to stand, and the important work He needs done in His Kingdom here on earth.  By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we were led to study the spiritual realm and its influence on Christians.  Through encounters with entities from this realm, we have both been exposed to satan’s attempts to discourage the followers of Jesus from claiming their power and authority in the Name of our Savior.  And then, by Divine Appointment we came into contact with the woman who would become our mentor, our advisor, and our trainer in our Deliverance Ministry.
     Her name is Barbara Bucklin, and she is a tireless champion and advocate of Jesus as our Healer, our Deliverer, and our Savior.  She has more energy and passion than people decades younger than herself.  We first met Barb when we attended a conference she arranged, and which was taught by Dr. Charles Kraft, entitled Defeating Dark Angels.  At the time we knew, and were seeing, that Christians were being attacked and oppressed by demonic forces, but knew nothing other than praying for protection as a means of defeating them.  Dr. Kraft changed all that … He revealed that through his many years of missionary work and the thousands of Christians he had counseled, that most problems are spiritual, resulting in emotional difficulties that keep us from the freedom and intimacy with Christ that we (and He) desire.  And we learned that deep-level healing is the answer.  What exactly is this deep-level healing?  It is a Deliverance ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit that is aimed at bringing healing to the whole person:  spirit, body, mind, emotions, and will.  It is about hearts being set free.  And we, as the servants of Christ, are fully capable (through partnering with Him and the Holy Spirit) of continuing His work to “set the captives free”.
     The valuable information I received from a subsequent training season with Dr. Kraft was orchestrated by Barb, and in the months that have followed, she has been there to advise and instruct my husband and me as we enter into this new frontier of Christian spiritual warfare.  In fact, we just returned from a Healing and Deliverance training session with Barb this past weekend.  Thirty-five people signed up to hear Barb share her experiences in seeing hurting, scared, damaged Christians — people who have been subjected to the wiles and schemes of our Adversary — but who were transformed by a very real experience with Jesus as their Healer and Deliverer.  She conducted this seminar to encourage and instruct us in Deliverance Ministry; to give us a roadmap in which to work with Jesus to help those being oppressed by the Enemy.
    Now, 35 people may seem like a small number, but it is momentous when you consider that, very likely, each of these individuals represent 35 churches or communities who are in desperate need of receiving evidence that Jesus still heals and delivers His people.  If each of these people are fulfilling their commission to continue the work of Jesus, just think of the numbers they can impact.

     And impact is what Barbara Bucklin is all about.  She is an active supporter and vibrant part of what some call the “Texas Prayer Movement”.  She is a fervent believer that through Prayer and Intercession which is led by the Holy Spirit, Christians can chip away at the darkness that envelops the world, and let the Light of God shine through.  She is believing and trusting God for a revival in the Texas capitol city of Austin; that prayerful Christians can provide firm support for what God is working on to accomplish in that city, in its businesses, ministries, families, personal lives, and government. She is believing God that He will transform the City of Austin … and believe me, you don’t want to doubt her.
     She is also the President of Luke 4:18 Minstries.  That verse is the foundation of her belief in Jesus’ mission statement as He picked up that scroll in Isaiah 61 – out of all those other scrolls — and read it when He went into the temple. He said that the scripture was fulfilled that day. And what exactly was fulfilled?

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; too set at liberty those who are oppressed [downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy]…”

     Her testimony, I believe, is similar to what God is doing throughout His remnant.  He is showing us that, if we are ready to listen, and use the tools He has given us to see people transformed and restored, He has a mission for us.  Barb listened, and beginning in 1999, she set about fulfilling her mission… and just like what has begun happening to my husband and myself, people began showing up at her doorstep.  They were people that could not be reached inside the four walls of a church building, because they were never going to approach the Church for the healing they needed.  They are people, as in the case of Barb, who were homeless and living under the bridges in Austin; or people the Church had failed to help, because the church was blind to the message of Luke 4:18.  And they were simply people on the margins of society, who were not even in view of the Church, because Church members were focused inward instead of outward towards the lost and hurting … the very people Jesus came to Save, Heal and Deliver.

     Listen to Barb, and see why she is such an inspiration and motivator for God’s spiritual army … “I believe that as we pray for people and see Jesus set them free, they are able to move into their gifts more fully and our city is being transformed one person at a time.  We see His Body move forward and unite in a different way, because it’s easy to unite when hearts are healed.  It’s difficult to work together when you’re suffering from pain, unhealed abuse and other hurts. Wounded people find it difficult to work together. But, once you have healing and joy restored, you have a new resiliency and vision and then you move into a Kingdom perspective and a desire to see His ‘Kingdom come and will be done’ … {Through our ministry], we want people prepared and equipped in ministry, that is why the gifts have been given to us — to equip the Body for ministry and to advance the Kingdom. We need to be walking in freedom and maturity so we can do the good works prepared for us … We also need to be alert, having our minds transformed to align with His words, increase our faith, and understand the prophetic nature of these days.”
     Perhaps most importantly, this faithful woman of Christ believes that God’s restructuring the Church. A while back, she says she got a word that He was rewiring, realigning, restructuring, and then re-anointing His Body.  She admits that this transition of the Church currently involves only a small number of the Body.  Most Christians are satisfied where they are; being comfortable and not liking any sort of challenge.  But she believes that the stirring within the Body towards ministries like hers [and that of my husband and myself] is actually God causing this discomfort; drawing us back to the basics, talking about the Cross and the Blood of Christ.  And she has done all that for me.
     She came into my life at a time when God was continuously trying to show me that He had work for me to do outside the walls of any Church.  Make no mistake, He didn’t tell me that the work of those inside the Church was necessarily unproductive — just that He was anointing me and my husband to do His work in a new “old way”, if that makes sense.  And then He pointed me to models that were according to His will … and that were working!  And that’s how I ended up being a part of the Healing and Deliverance Training Session this past weekend. I sat among 35 brave people who have been willing to go where the Lord is leading them, and to be mentored by a willing servant and her team;  all of us followers of Jesus who desire to see our fellow Christians walking in physical and spiritual freedom and restoration.  I am truly blessed to be a part of this faithful group.
     I want to leave you with one final thought … we all stand on the shoulders of others God puts in our lives.  I have heard from many of you that you are hearing from God, and know that the struggles in your life are spiritual; that you recognize that Jesus is the answer.  I urge you to seek a credible deliverance ministry, and then once you are healed and restored, then please help another person attain the freedom that Jesus has given you!  This is the structure of God’s Kingdom that has been shown to me by the Holy Spirit, and modeled so well by men and women like Dr. Charles Kraft and Barbara Bucklin.  There is no need to fear the unknown.
     As we ended our conference this weekend, Barbara circled the classroom, anointing each of the participants with Valor.  Our modern English definition of this word is “bravery, courage, boldness”.  But knowing Barb, I’m pretty sure that she anointed us with Valor, under the Hebrew interpretation, which indicates “the physical strength, power, and ability to perform in the battle that is in view”.  She knows, and has seen, [as we have] that we are engaged in a spiritual battle for the souls of men, both lost and saved.  She knows that we do not fight alone, but under the Authority of Jesus and through the Power of the Holy Spirit.
     In this one classroom, in one city of the United States, there were 35 people joined in fulfilling the mission we have been given … the mission that All are invited to partake in.  Just think what we can accomplish for the Kingdom of God, one person at a time; one community at a time; one nation at a time.  Let it begin with you!

Mark 13:34    “For the Son of Man is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper [guardian] to watch.”

She Gets It!

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    I came across a story on The Blaze that mirrored my experience of the last couple of days.  The story is of an American psychologist, named Dr. Bethany Haley Williams, who is also the founder of an organization called Exile International.  The mission of her organization is to restore rescued child soldiers, and children orphaned by war, to become leaders for peace through art therapy and holistic, rehabilitative care.

     In Central and East Africa, armed forces and rebels have abducted more than 100,000 children, and most of these children are left with deep, emotional scars because of the trauma they have been forced to endure, or tragically, to commit themselves.  The evil acts perpetrated against them have succeeded in making them prisoners of the very Evil that seeks to entrap us all.
     On a group trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in June 2008, Dr. Williams, encountered a darkness she had never seen before: child soldiers who asked her to be their mother, women who attempted to give over their children, stories of women sexually abused time and time again, and children so traumatized they showed no emotion.  Realizing that the evil she witnessed could only be countered by the power of Jesus’s love, His redemption, and their ability to forgive, Dr. Williams was determined to look the darkness dead in the eye, and help heal these children.  She says her spiritual journey was “turned upside down.”
     I can say the same thing after the last two days I spent training with Dr. Charles Kraft to help Christians who need deep, inner healing.  The methods I learned may be different than Dr. Williams’s, but the result is the same… whether we are talking about an actual child in Africa, or our own “inner child”, we all need to heal from the emotional scars that have damaged us.
     How many Christians do you know that want to get closer to Jesus, but just can’t seem to get there?  They read their Bibles, they pray and attend church faithfully, but something is still missing.  That intimacy that the Bible talks about, and that they long for, just isn’t there for them.  They often deal with feelings of anger, depression, or fear … those very emotions they are told Christians should not feel because we are “new beings” in Christ.  They are often left feeling disappointed and wonder, “Where is the freedom and peace that Jesus promised me?”
     What I discovered under the tutelage of Dr. Kraft is that most problems are spiritual, resulting in emotional difficulties that keep us from the freedom and intimacy with Christ that we (and He) desire.  And I learned that deep-level healing is the answer.  What exactly is this deep-level healing?  It is a ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit that is aimed at bringing healing to the whole person:  spirit, body, mind, emotions, and will.  It is about hearts being set free.  And notice that I said in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is not me healing the person, but Jesus’s power through the Holy Spirit; and I can work with Him to help effect that power and healing.  He has given me the authority to work in the spiritual realm with Him and the Holy Spirit, and it is quite clear in Mark 13:34:  “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”
     What I learned is a loving way to counsel people to identify the origin of those emotions and thoughts that block the freedom and intimacy that they so desperately seek.  By using visualization exercises, with Jesus present at every stage in your life, you can identify what the “triggers” are that keep you from experiencing intimacy and freedom.  I witnessed counseling sessions in which Dr. Kraft healed the deep, inner soul scars that Christians suffered from a feeling of unwantedness (that often times comes when conceived out of wedlock), miscarriages, sexual molestation, and many other open doors to spiritual harassment by the Enemy.
     Once memories reveal what is at the root of a Christian’s sense of despondency, we can ask them, “Can you see Jesus there with you at that moment of crisis?”  If you are a faithful Christian, you know that God and Jesus are Omnipresent; they are everywhere — so we know that He was there with them in their moment of despair.  Remember, He has not promised to keep us from all such bad experiences — only to be with us in them.  So, when we experience Jesus in our memories, we know He was present in the actual events of the past, and we can give Him the crippling reactions [to that event] — which are stored in our memories and have intruded on our peace.  Then we can experience His intense desire and power to heal us… to take those painful feelings and cast them away from you, as far as the East is from the West.

Hearts Set Free

     And it is ALWAYS the power of Jesus through the operating of the Holy Spirit in that moment that heals the person.  For most people, picturing Jesus there with them during the hurts of their lives, and handing off the paralyzing emotions, and then being able to visualize Him hugging them and feeling that intimacy, is enough to free them into a more satisfying spiritual life.
     But there are some with such devastating experiences that demons have slipped in and are subconsciously controlling the Christian’s mind, will, or emotions.  But that does not stop the healing!  We simply declare the authority given to us by Christ to free the captives, and employ the power of the Holy Spirit to identify them and command them to leave.  The deliverances I witnessed were done in such a loving, calm manner by Dr. Kraft, and it was truly empowering to realize that we do not need to fear demons; they may hinder a person’s peace, but they can’t take away the person’s salvation.  Sadly, the Church has forgotten that we have been commissioned by Jesus to bring freedom to all mankind.  He told us that we would do what He had done, and even greater things (John 14:12).  But we forget that Luke 4:18 describes what He came to do, and that freedom He wishes to give us:  to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy).
     I want to be very clear that what I described in this healing process has been over-simplified.  Much time is taken to get to know the hurting Christian, and to identify the underlying issues (or demons) that are blocking their freedom and intimacy.  Healing that “inner child” requires a careful, attentive, and thorough effort to free the adult Christian.  The important thing to remember is that there are multitudes of Christians who need to be set free, and Jesus is waiting for us to get involved and agree to work with Him and the Holy Spirit in completing our commission.
     Who wouldn’t want to partner with Jesus, and to experience working with Him?  We get to share in the blessings He brings to our fellow Christians through us.  We get to see forgiveness, gratitude, and new joy, steeped in peace and love. It doesn’t take any special spiritual gifts; after all, Jesus worked with ungifted disciples.  It just takes a willingness to obey His command and experience a closeness with Him that you have never had before.
     And I have to agree with Dr. Williams, when she says, “I see redemption at its deepest level. It is not of this world.  And, I believe, it is only the beginning.”  She’s right!  This kind of healing is not of this world!  These past two days, I have experienced a new reality in my relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I now know that Jesus is not some far off, distant God!  He truly is right here beside me, and I can do all things through Him with the power of the Holy Spirit.  And most of all, I can see and feel and personally experience the freedom of my fellow Christians as they receive the Peace that surpasses all understanding.  And that only comes from allowing Jesus to heal you.  We are simply His instruments to achieve that Peace.  And we receive something as well, for being willing to trust His Word and engage with Him.  As Barbara Bucklin, one of the facilitators of Dr. Kraft’s ministry said, “Nothing is a bigger faith-builder than to know your authority.”  Amen to that!

For more information on Dr. Charles Kraft and his deeper inner healing ministry, please visit www.heartssetfree.org.

Galatians 5:1    “It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].”