Repo

One of the most intriguing accounts in the gospels is the account of the Gadarene demoniac. The story appears in Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Any account that shows up three times in the gospels should be given a closer look.

 

You know the story. The apostles and Jesus got into their small boat to cross the sea of Galilee at night. The area is subject to sudden storms and so during the crossing a severe squall came up, waves were washing over the boat, and the disciples were terrified. Jesus was asleep, they woke him, and he rebuked the storm. The wind and waves ceased immediately and they were astonished that Jesus could command even the storm. As if that weren’t “weird” enough, as soon as they arrived at their destination, a man who lived in a shoreline cemetery and was tormented by demons ran to Jesus. This was a man who was naked, scarred by him cutting himself with stones, dirty, manic, and who had displayed supernatural strength when townspeople had tried to bind him. He ran to Jesus and the demons within the man cried out for mercy. The commanding spirit identified himself as Legion because there were so many demons afflicting the man. They asked Jesus to allow them to enter into a nearby herd of swine. As they left the man and entered the pigs, the entire herd rushed down an embankment into the lake and were drowned.

 

The Gospel of Mark then states, “Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed” (Mark 5:14-21)

 

Notice that the “possessed” man was now dressed and in his right mind. The supernatural flavor of all that had happened frightened the people who lived nearby. The supernatural quieting of the storm on Galilee the night before had the same affect on the twelve. Now the people asked Jesus to leave their region. Predictably, the man who had just been set free from terrible torment did not want to be separated from the one who had freed him.

 

If I had been that man, I would have been terrified that those same spirits who had made my life a living hell would return and take possession again once Jesus was out of sight. Jesus, however, told the man that he could not go with him but should simply go and tell people what God had done for him. A close friend recently pointed out that the story raises several questions. First of all, Matthew records that there were two demon-possessed men who were living in the tombs who ran to Jesus, but the gospels quickly focus on only one. Why? What happened to the second man? Secondly, what prevented the man from being “repossessed” after Jesus left? He did not have the Spirit of God living in him because the Spirit had not yet been given. He apparently was not part of a great “spirit-filled” synagogue where he was prayed over and discipled. He, in fact, knew very little about the man who had just set him free.

 

What we do know about this man is that he immediately became a Christ-follower and was obedient to Christ. Jesus told him to go and tell his family what God had done for him. Mark tells us, “So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed” (Mk.5:20-21). We have to speculate, but perhaps the second man left as soon as he was delivered to go back to the life he had known before his demonization. The other stayed close to the one who had set him free. His heart was turned to Jesus because of what Jesus had just done for him.

 

As his heart was turned to Jesus, he was willing to do what Jesus asked him to do. In this case, it was to go and tell others. Jesus said, If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn.14:15). Those who love Jesus are known and remembered in heaven. He was remembered in three gospels while the other man simply disappeared. Love and obedience also garner heaven’s protection and provision. I believe that is why the man was not lost again to the enemy. We can’t be sure about his friend.

 

There is a maxim among those who minister in spiritual warfare. “The first battle is to get free. The second battle is to stay free.” The Gadarene demonstrates that the second battle is won by loving Jesus and walking in obedience. A life of love and obedience provides no open doors for the enemy. We have delivered hundreds of people from demons. Those who draw close to Jesus afterward with a heart to obey, stay free. Those who drift back to old lifestyles and sinful relationships, find themselves worse off than in the beginning. Some of them, like the second man, have simply disappeared from the life of the church. Jesus give a stern warning in Matthew 12 when he said that if a man is freed from a demon, and does not fill the vacancy with the Spirit of God and the things of God, that spirit will return and bring others with him. Then the man will be worse of than before. I think the two Gadarenes may be an illustration of that truth.

 

In our own lives and ministries, we need to be very aware of that principle and keep ourselves close to Jesus, in love with him, and obedient. We must also warn those to whom we minister, of the spiritual risks involved if they receive healing or freedom from Jesus and then go their own way. The fruit of the Gadarene’s obedience is that when Jesus returned to the area, after first being asked to leave, multitudes were waiting to hear him. Sometimes, we don’t need a sermon of even a great deal of theology, we simply needs to share our own story to bring others to Jesus.

 

 

 

One of the most fascinating stories in all of scripture is the story of Jacob’s night at Bethel which he experienced when he was on the run from his brother Esau, whom he had swindled on several ocassions. We are told, “Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

 

There above it stood the Lord, and he said: ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven’” (Gen.28:10-17).

 

Two millennia later, John told us in his gospel, “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.’ ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”’ (Jn. 1:47-51).

 

Nathaniel was stunned that Jesus had known his thoughts. We can surmise that Nathaniel had been sitting under a tree meditating on the word of God – specifically this story and all the ways in which Jacob had defrauded his brother Esau. Jacob was an Israelite in whom there had been a great deal of deception so Jesus contrasted Nathaniel with Jacob. He then characterized himself as the ladder in Jacob’s dream.

 

In essence, the gospel of John reveals that Jacob’s dream was a prophetic picture of Jesus who would bridge the gap between heaven and earth. Not only that but, through him, the household of God would become a gateway to heaven. The idea of the church being a doorway to heaven is both encouraging and challenging. We know that ultimately Jesus is the way to heaven but the church presents him to the world. Jesus is the ladder that spans the gap but we open the door for others to know and experience Jesus. In that sense we can open the door or close the door to heaven by our representation of Jesus. That is both a privilege and a sobering responsibility.

 

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being poor gatekeepers to the kingdom of heaven. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Mt.23:13). These “paragons of virtue” kept men from entering the kingdom because of their legalism and arrogance. They made “rule keeping” the cornerstone of their faith and piled on so many rules that everyone felt the impossibility of “being good enough” from the start. Many gave up before they even started and many felt the condemnation of the Pharisees who considered themselves righteous as they judged all others as those who would not truly make the cut. Pharisees would not even walk on the same side of the street as “sinners” so how could they ever lead a sinner to the kingdom and who would want to go with them anyway?

 

The Pharisees operated under the Law but some have done the same with the gospel of grace by turning the faith into a list of rules and expectations rather than a relationship based on our immense need for grace because none of us, by our own efforts, can make the cut. Many have felt judged and condemned by those in the church so that the gateway to heaven seemed cold and harsh rather than warm and inviting.

 

There is also a side to grace that is sometimes abused as well. Sometimes we make grace into a blanket policy that suggests that everyone and everything is acceptable in the kingdom of God and no one really goes to hell after all. God’s love is immense but so is his righteousness. Repentance is a prerequisite to entering the kingdom. If everyone gets in the door, there is no need for membership. The difference in legalism and grace is not the absence of standards under grace, but the basis for meeting those standards.

 

Under law, you must live up to kingdom standards by your own strength and efforts. Under grace, Jesus has lived up to those standards for us. We are credited with his efforts as long as we have faith in what he has done and a heart that wants to honor him with righteous living although we will have a number of miscues along the way. The kingdom offers salvation wherever we are in life, but calls us to something better, something cleaner, something healthier, and something greater than the world can offer. But it must be offered on the basis of love, grace and humility rather than with judgment and spiritual pride.

 

The truth is that each of us in a gatekeeper in the kingdom of God. In the eyes of those considering that gate, our lives and our attitudes reflect what is on the other side. If we are judgmental and arrogant, those outside the gate will expect to find a God on the other side who will make them cringe and crawl with fear. If we suggest that there is really no difference between the world inside and outside the gate, other than a “Get out of jail free” card, they will have the sense that nothing for them or their children will improve in this world so they may choose to look for another source of relief for their current pain.

 

As gatekeepers we must display the character of the kingdom. At the top is faith, hope, and love based on a relationship with a loving God whose grace and Spirit will make life significantly better on this side of heaven and that will make heaven a warm, inviting place for those in Christ rather than a frightening place of judgment and rejection. We are the house of God and the gate of heaven as Jacob put it. Let’s decide today to be amazing and inviting gate keepers for Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

Let me begin by apologizing for not posting a blog over the past two weeks. First of all, my wife received a total knee transplant ten days ago and the day before we left Midland for the surgery, my new MacBook Pro went belly up and I only became “connected” again about two days ago. So…those are my excuses and I will do my best to post on a regular basis from now on.

 

I read as much as I can because for most of my Christian life I had no personal mentors because the church culture I was part of did not recognize the value of mentoring. As a result, books were my mentors and I continue the habit of reading whatever God directs me to as much as possible. I have been reading a little book by Robert Morris on the power of words and he has something interesting to say on the subject of tongues. So…for those who read this blog and are not offended or “weirded out” by the subject, I thought I would share his insight with you. Although I pray in tongues, there is still some mystery to the process for me so I like to continue to learn from others when I can.

 

First of all, Morris’ book reminds us that words are extremely significant and that without the Holy Spirit, we will have very little success in controlling our tongues. James dedicated a great deal of his letter to the subject of how uncontrollable the tongue is and what devastation it can cause. We need to remember that he wasn’t writing to blatant sinners but to believers. Morris suggests that the capacity to control our words and to keep our mouths shut at the right time will be found in the realm of the Spirit and when we allow the Spirit to control our tongues as we speak in tongues, then we also develop a capacity to let the Spirit direct our tongues even in the area of natural speech. I believe that is true through personal experience.

 

Although that is a very practical insight, he goes on to propose something else that I found intriguing and thought you might as well. In chapter 8 of his book, Robert takes us back to Genesis and the account of the tower of Babel. To that point in history, all of mankind spoke the same language. Most likely, they spoke whatever language Adam and Eve spoke in the Garden. The text says, “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’ So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:1-10).

 

Men had quickly forgotten their need for God and had become focused on making their own names great rather than bringing glory to God. God acknowledged that man could achieve amazing things on his own (after all they were made in his image), but as they accomplished more in the natural realm, with a growing sense of self-sufficiency, they would suffer in the spiritual realm. God said that they would be able to accomplish so much because they all spoke the same language. So…he took away the “one language.”Our own technology today is creating a sense of self-sufficiency and an “I don’t need God” attitude as well. As a whole, we trust in medicine and science for our salvation more than we do God and that is a dangerous mindset that was first revealed at Babel.

 

After reflecting on the division of tongues at Babel, Morris takes us to an Old Testament prophecy in Zephaniah. Speaking of the Messiah’s time, the word of the Lord says, “For then I will restore to the people a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve him with one accord” (Zeph.3:9). Let me quote from Morris at this point. He says, “Notice in this verse, God says he was going to restore a language, not that he was going to give the peoples a language. God is going to restore a ‘pure language’ to the peoples. What language do you suppose he is referring to? There is only one language that is pure – it’s the language of heaven, or the language of the spirit. I believe this for a number of reasons.

 

For one thing, every other language has been defiled. Every language has profanity, obscenity, and uncleanness mingled in. Not only that but the book of Zephaniah is speaking prophetically about Jesus, the Messiah, coming into the earth. In light of that context, the scripture is promising a pure language to a redeemed people.” Morris goes on to say that the common language was taken away because men had become sinful. It would be restored when the sin of those who believed in Jesus was taken away. Zephaniah said that the language would be given so that those who received it could serve God in one accord. We are told in the Book of Acts that on the day of Pentecost, the believers were all with one accord in one place. As the Spirit was poured out, those who received the Spirit began to speak in tongues. Morris then says, “I am convinced that speaking in tongues is the pure language of the Spirit. It causes believers to be in one accord so that they might serve the Lord.”

 

If Morris is correct, several things follow. First of all, every believer should desire to speak in the pure language of heaven. Secondly, as believers pray in the Spirit more and more, the fruit of unity (one accord) will be manifested in the church more and more. Perhaps then, the churches rejection of tongues has contributed to our disunity.  Finally, there was nothing that could not be accomplished when men spoke the same language. How much more would that be true for kingdom causes if all believers spoke daily in the language of heaven? To do so, I believe, would plant the desires of the Spirit in our hearts so that we would direct our prayers, our resources and our efforts toward needs and goals coordinated by heaven rather than our own desires. I simply offer this as food for thought on the subject of tongues, but it is exciting to think that as you pray in tongues, you offer up requests in the pure language of heaven and, perhaps, in the very language spoken in the Garden of Eden.

Minimal Prayer

 

Many believers have minimal prayer lives because they believe that their prayers make very little real difference. Perhaps, they believe that God does what he wants to do regardless of what they pray or whether they pray. Perhaps, they fall into that group of people who simply don’t believe that God responds to their personal prayers. Maybe their requests to an earthly father went unheeded or earned a rebuke and they project that template onto their Heavenly Father. Because they struggle with their self worth and identity, these individuals don’t sense their significance in the kingdom and, therefore, believe that God hears and responds to the prayers of   “spiritual people,” but not theirs. Because of that, they don’t pray.

 

However, God has promised to not only hear our prayers but to act on those prayers when we pray according to his will. The apostle John declared, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 Jn. 5:14-15, emphasis added). Speaking of our requests, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (Jn.14:11-14).

 

Those promises are not just for a few “spiritually elite” believers, but for every follower of Jesus Christ. We also have the following promise. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:7-9).

 

When we pray, we sow into the spiritual realm. Our prayers can be thought of as seeds that are planted and then watered by subsequent prayers and faith. When the time is right, the power of God causes them to germinate and answers to our prayers are then manifested on earth. Of course, some prayers receive an immediate response from God, but most require some persistence on our part. That is the “don’t grow weary in doing good” part of Paul’s exhortation.

 

The essential key to effective prayer is found in John’s text where he said, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” The key is to pray according to God’s will. An old 1970’s  Janis Joplin song summarizes the misunderstood version of such promises. She sang:

 

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?
I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?


Some people have expressed the promises of answered prayer much like Joplin’s lyrics express them and then label God as uncaring or unreliable when their prayers go unanswered. It is true that God is willing to give us the desires of our heart but only when those desires line up with his…according to his will.

 

God is not obligated to give us whatever we ask for anymore than a loving earthly Father is obligated to give his thirteen-year-old a pearl black Maserati that can achieve a nifty 195 mph on the highway for his or her birthday. The thirteen year old may want the car more than anything and even have faith that the Father will give him what he asks, but a wise and loving father would never say yes to that request – not only for the child’s welfare but also for the welfare of everyone on the road. God is a good father. He will deny prayers that are selfish, destructive, and carnal because he cares for us and those whose lives we affect.

 

However, when our hearts are tuned to his, the Father will surely answer our prayers in amazing and powerful ways. In the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve authority over his creation. They turned their authority over to Satan but Jesus took it back. He subsequently gave that authority to us. It is his intent to rule this world but to rule it through his people. Because of that, he honors our authority by waiting for us to ask before he acts in a significant number of things. Since he often waits on us before he moves, our prayers are incredibly significant and even essential to the kingdom. Every believer’s prayers are essential to his will being done on earth as it is in heaven. Never let the enemy tell you that your prayers don’t matter because they matter more than you will ever know. Ask the Father what he wants you to pray about and how he wants you to pray and then see what he does. You may well be amazed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shooting in Sutherland Springs has once again ignited the debate over how to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. There are those who want tighter gun control or even confiscation of all firearms. There are those who blame a shortage of mental health facilities. Others are pointing the finger to failed communications between the military and law enforcement or to the negative impact of our president. Ultimately, you cannot legislate morality or pass enough laws to prevent someone bent on destruction from taking lives. It can be done with guns, rental trucks, explosives, poisons, biological weapons, knives, arson, and agricultural supplies.

 

The apostle Paul was familiar with the violence of men. In his day there had been any number of mini-revolutions quelled without mercy by the unflinching sword of Rome. There were political terrorists who murdered dignitaries in the shadows. There was the brutality of dictatorships that beat, murdered, and imprisoned men for no just cause. There was bigotry, discrimination, and slavery on a scale that dwarfed the American expression of that injustice in the early years of the republic. Paul had seen the roads of Rome lined with the victims of crucifixion and impalement on stakes and had seen corruption raised to an art form by government officials.

 

In the midst of that, he did not cry out for more laws, more medications, more government intervention, or more mental health hospitals. Ultimately, he pointed to another realm that had to be dealt with before the violence and brutality of planet earth could be diminished. He declared, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph.6:12).

 

His point here and in other scriptures is that the horror we see in this world is a symptom of a deeper cause. The cause is sin and brokenness enflamed and animated by the demonic realm and the fallen nature of man. Ultimately, three things have to happen to prevent tragedies like Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs. The gospel must be shared with millions not hundreds, broken hearts must be healed, and those in bondage to sin, mental illness, bitterness, addictions, and demonic spirits must be set free.

 

Only Jesus can do that and he will do it only though his church. I’m not naïve enough to believe that every person on earth can be saved and healed and that all violence will be eliminated this side of the return of Jesus. I know that will not happen because scripture tells us that not all men will be saved. On the other hand, the prophets do speak of a day when nations will stream to the church for wisdom and answers to the world’s most perplexing problems. I also know that the kingdom of God is meant to expand across the globe and as that kingdom is planted in the hearts of individuals they will change, which in turn will change families, which in turn will change communities, which in turn will change nations. We have been given an assignment to make disciples of all nations (not just a few people in each nation) , therefore, it can be done.

 

As we grieve over these tragedies that are becoming common place and as the world looks for answers, the church needs to find a voice and creative, empowered ways to touch, love, heal, and change the very individuals who might otherwise take a gun to church or a concert. We should know better than to look to government for answers. We should know better than to attempt to fight evil with the weapons of the world. We should begin to look to Christ for individual, community, national, and global answers for war, poverty, mental illness and violence.

 

When the church looks to the world for solutions rather than the world looking to the church, then we have failed to recognize who we are, whose we are, and the power and brilliance that resides in each of us through the Holy Spirit. I’m not yet sure what those solutions are, but I am sure that our God knows exactly how to establish large patches of heaven on earth that will grow and influence more and more territory like leaven in a lump of bread.

 

Not only does he know what to do, but he has already commanded us to do it and the resources for the mission are already stored in heaven waiting to be used. Let’s think bigger and more strategically. Huge corporations that influence the globe like Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook didn’t become richer than most nations by force or legislation, but by identifying the needs and desires of the world and offering solutions. How much more should the people of God be doing so? It’s time to expand our vision of the church, to leave our buildings, and to take our place in the world as the appointed dispensers of the grace and glory of God and his solutions to the world’s most overwhelming problems.

I just began reading a new book by John Bevere entitled Killing Kryptonite. I’m just a few chapters in, but it promises to be thought provoking. In the beginning of his book he is attempting to answer a question that many of us have verbalized or, at least, thought about. That question would be something like, “With the Spirit of God within us, with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead working out of us, with the amazing gifts of the Spirit and the authority of Christ resting on us, why does the church continue to appear to be so impotent against the works of the devil in the world around us?”

 

He says it this way. “In light of being his beloved, we should manifest unselfish character, unconditional love, joy unspeakable, peace that passes understanding, supernatural power, well-being, vitality, creativity, divine wisdom, keen understanding, supreme knowledge, and perceptive insight – and this list is far from comprehensive! Scripture promises attributes such as these on many levels, so again my question is, ‘Why aren’t we seeing this in either an individual or overall church level?’” (p.18).

 

I suppose we could offer many potential reasons, but John raises a possible answer that is worth considering. His answer is simply that the sin and compromise tolerated in the church makes us all subject to a curse and takes the strength and glory from the church that should be evident there. John points out that there are many reasons we have come to tolerate sin in a church that God calls to be holy.   The first is simply that we don’t want to confront sin because we want to avoid conflict or don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Another is that we want to give people time to grow spiritually…for years. Often Christians feel that pointing out someone’s sin to them is “judging” and we are taught not to judge. I also think a primary reason that we don’t speak out against sin in the church is that we have been desensitized to sin and are not as offended by it as we should be – not only in the lives of others but in our own lives.

 

Now let me be clear…Bevere is not talking about the weaknesses we struggle with or the sin we fall into and struggle against and hate in our own lives. He is talking about blatant lifestyles of sin that go unrepented – sexual sin, divisiveness, crooked business practices, etc. that people know are defined as sin in scripture but who will not repent.

 

These are the kinds of lifestyle sin that Paul points out throughout his letters and instructs the churches to withdraw the fellowship of the church from these individuals if they will not repent after spiritual leaders have gone to them, prayed with them, and encouraged them to deal with the sin in their lives. The most familiar of these cases was the man in Corinth who was living openly in sexual sin and who was coming to the church as if none of that mattered. Paul instructed the church, saying, “When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord” (1 Cor. 5:4-5).

 

When believers read this today it seems so harsh and is almost shocking. Paul had two concerns with that man. One was that his own soul was in danger because of this blatant, unrepented sin and the other was that the man’s sin put the church in danger. In his book, Bevere reminds us of a biblical principle that as Americans we are typically unfamiliar with. It is the principle that not only does a man reap what he sows, but those connected to him will also reap the con sequences od what he sowed. The clearest Old Testament example is Achan. When Israel crossed the Jordan River and faced the fortified city of Jericho, God instructed them to take nothing for themselves from that city. It was “first fruits” and everything taken in the city would belong to God. After their great victory, they sent a small contingent of soldiers to take a much smaller city and they were routed. Dozens of men lost their lives and when Joshua asked God why he had abandoned them, God said that there was sin in the camp of the Israelites. A man named Achan had taken clothing and precious metals from Jericho and had hidden them in his tent. Achan and his family were put to death for what he had done while dozens of other Israelites became widows and orphans because of his actions. One man’s sin had caused God to lift his hand of protection off the nation.

 

We are typically quick to point out that the example given was under the Old Covenant and does not apply to the church. Bevere, however, raises an interesting point in Paul’s admonition to the church at Corinth about those who were treating the Lord’s supper with contempt. Paul said, “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 11:29-30). An amplified version of this scripture might say, “That is why many among you are spiritually ineffective and sick and a number of you have died prematurely.”

 

When we read that verse, we tend to think that the weak and sick and dying were only those who were “eating and drinking judgment on themselves” by treating the Lord’s supper with contempt by their unloving, selfish treatment of other members of the body of Christ. Bevere suggests, however, that the sin of a few was afflicting the many. He quotes 1 Corinthians 11:21 as saying, “For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others….”   But then Paul describes those weal, sick, and dying as “many of you.” Some were treating the Lords supper with contempt but many were weak, sick and dying. The blatant sin of a few can rob blessings and strength from the others.

 

Remember, we are all members of one body. When one part is blessed, we are all blessed. When one part is damaged, we all suffer. The principle that what is done by one is attributed to others seems unfair to individualistic Americans, but the same principle allows the righteousness of one to be attributed to others who are in the same family. Take away the principle and the righteousness of Christ cannot be attributed to us.

 

So, Bevere’s point is that when the church forgets the mandate of being a holy bride and tolerates lifestyles of sin in the church, then the whole church suffers weakness, sickness, and premature death. That, he says, is why the American church is not thriving and flourishing as a whole. He also suggests that the solution to the problem begins with our concern about our own holiness before we begin to worry about everyone else’s. The point is that what one does effects every other part of the body for good or for bad. We are not “stand alones.” We are connected and should be concerned about righteousness in the church for the sake of the individual who is blatantly sinning and also for the sake of others. It’s something to think about.

 

To many, Holy Spirit baptism is still a mystery and to others it was an experience confined to a few years in the life of the early church that went the way of miracles and apostles at the end of the first century. Yet, Jesus made it clear that effective ministry was impossible with out it…at least the kind of ministry he came to demonstrate.

 

Someone once challenged the churches in America to remove anything from their weekly slate of ministry that could not be accomplished by driven, talented people without the Spirit of God and see what was missing. For many churches, nothing would be missing. The world can provide amazing music that stirs the soul through Broadway shows and even Vegas productions. Many non-Christian organizations do amazing things for the poor and third world nations that churches have yet to match. Men and women can stir people to frenzied action, to give huge sums of money, and have even moved nations to go to war with only their natural abilities of persuasion and oratory. Secular production companies such as Sesame Street can produce children’s programming that is second to none and that can generate love and loyalty for multiple generations. Secular therapists can provide counseling that enables troubled marriages to stay together and secular research is providing drug therapies that help people cop with depression and suicidal tendencies. So what is the church doing that the world cannot?

 

We can certainly offer Jesus and the security that comes from a knowledge that our sins are forgiven in him, but the gospels seem to promise much more. Even Pharaoh’s magicians could match the signs that Moses performed for a while, but at some point he offered signs that went far beyond what the sorcerers and tricksters could offer. In his ministry, Jesus did not offer great entertainment but offered truth that was backed up with supernatural power. He did not teach coping skills to enable people to manage their issues but instead set them free and gave them complete victory over their issues. He didn’t provide drug therapies to minimize depression and anxiety but cast out spirits of heaviness and fear. Instead of offering grief counseling, he simply raised the dead. Instead of funding a lifetime of twelve step meetings he broke the power of addiction and set men and women free. Jesus not only preached forgiveness but also healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, enabled the lame to jump, restored hearing to the deaf, cast out spirits that tormented God’s people, raised the dead, and removed the fear of death.

 

Is your church doing that? If not, there is a severe gap between what we are doing and what Jesus did and those who followed him did. The difference is in the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus told his followers to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from the Holy Spirit to go out and minister in his name. That power came when the Holy Spirit fell on them at Pentecost long after they had believed and submitted their hearts to Jesus.

 

If you carefully read the gospels and the Book of Acts you will discover three baptisms. The first occurs when the Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ at the moment we believe. At that moment we are added to the household of God and the Spirit takes up residence within us to give us faith along with spiritual understanding and to begin conforming our character to the character of Jesus. The second baptism is baptism in water which produces a divide between our old lives and the new life we will be living in Christ. But then there is another baptism which empowers us for ministry and activates spiritual gifts that the world cannot emulate. That is the baptism or “filling” of the Spirit.

 

Although the gospels represent a transition period between covenants, patterns begin to be established for us that point to New Covenant realities. Jesus clearly walked with God before he was baptized by John. After all, his mother became pregnant by the power of the Spirit. And yet, at his water baptism, the Holy Spirit descended on him and remained   there in an unusual way. It was after that experience that Jesus was said to be filled with power and began to do miracles. As the little group of disciples followed Jesus they came to faith that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God. After his resurrection there was no doubt. In John 20, the episode is described in which the twelve and a few others were gathered in a room with the doors locked when Jesus materialized in the room. He commissioned them by saying, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn.20:21-22).

 

The followers of Jesus were already believers. Jesus then imparted the Spirit to them to live in them and begin his ministry of transformation. But we are told, however, that there was more. A few days later, Jesus gave another command concerning the Spirit. “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:4,8).

 

Although his disciples had believed and had already received the Spirit, there was yet another dimension of the Spirit they needed before they could be effective witnesses for him throughout the world. The baptism of the Spirit imparted power for ministry. It still does.

 

The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Believers baptize new believers in water. And Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit. These are separate baptisms that each provide a step in our sanctification process after coming to faith. That is why the author of Hebrews writes, “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so” (Heb. 6:1-3). Notice that he speaks of instructions about baptisms (plural).

 

The instructions of Jesus to his followers about waiting on the baptism of the Spirit before attempting to be his witnesses throughout the world still applies to us. We can tell people about Jesus without this power but we can’t demonstrate him. We are somewhat like a vacuum cleaner salesman who comes to your home and tells you all about his amazing product but never plugs it into a power outlet to demonstrate that what he just told you is true. Some may buy the vacuum without the demonstration, but how many more would grab hold of one if they could actually see its amazing performance?

 

Francis MacNutt, who was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, has ministered healing and deliverance for years on the basis of what non-Catholic friends taught him and on the basis of having been baptized in the Spirit. Speaking about Catholics and deliverance ministry (exorcism) he writes, “Perhaps this is why there is such a strong conviction in the Catholic tradition that exorcists usually get chewed up spiritually and physically in their ministry. Without a release of the Spirit’s power, we are out of our spiritual depth…I think the problem with the fearful approach to exorcism is that too much confidence is placed in the faithful recitation of the words of the formal rite. If we made sure everyone who attempted exorcism was baptized in the Spirit, the exorcists would have much less to worry about” (Francis MacNutt, Deliverance from Evil Spirits, Chosen Publishers, p.274-275). By the way, if you have questions about deliverance, I really recommend his book.

 

My point is that power received when we are baptized by the Spirit is still essential in demonstrating the reality of Jesus in healing, preaching, deliverance, prophecy, and so forth. Jesus clearly stated that all who had faith in him would not only do what he had been doing but would do even greater things (Jn.14:12). The promise was not just for a few or just for a few years,but for anyone and everyone who had faith in him.

 

I must admit that the baptism of the Holy Spirit has often been sensationalized and misunderstood. Many who begin to seek Holy Spirit baptism expect (or hope) to get thrown thirty feet across a room with feelings like electricity surging through their bodies for hours. I’m not saying that such moments don’t happen. They do. But I believe they are the exception and not the rule. Sometimes, the experience is more like being overwhelmed with joy or love or peace – which makes sense because those are fruits of the Spirit. Many say that the only evidence of being baptized in the Spirit is to speak in tongues. That is one evidence and seems to be a normative response in scripture, but scripture nowhere says that it is the definitive proof of the baptism. Scripture also suggests that prophecy or boldness in sharing the gospel are also responses to Holy Spirit baptism. However, it is always risky to judge what is happening in the spiritual realm by what we see in the natural realm. Some experience physical or emotional sensations when they are saved, but most simply take it by faith and the proof comes in a changed life. Baptism in the Spirit can be the same.

 

What we do know is that Jesus baptizes with the Spirit and that the Spirit subsequently empowers us for ministry in ways that cannot be duplicated by those operating in their own strength and natural talents. We know that in the heavenly realm, we receive things by faith and not by sight. Therefore, we simply need to ask and believe that Jesus will baptize us. Sometimes we receive it through others laying hands on us and sometimes it comes directly. We may experience something immediately that we believe is evidence of our “baptism,” but we may not. The proof of the pudding is in ministry and boldness and, I believe, a hunger to begin to function in certain gifts. Even after baptism in the Spirit, many gifts will need to be developed rather than suddenly operating in a fully developed mode.

 

In addition, if you read carefully through Acts, you will see that even after initial baptism in the Spirit there are subsequent “fillings or refillings” by the Spirit. The proof is in effectiveness. Jesus said that the power was given for becoming a more effective witness for him. If we are becoming more effective in our ministries and witness, then there is the evidence and that should also be our motive for asking. Every believer should ask for Jesus to baptize them in the Spirit. He is certainly willing. If you want Spirit-filled people to lay hands on you and pray with you for the baptism, that is fine. The main thing is your desire and your motive. Ask and expect Jesus to keep his promise and then expect to minister in ways you have not known before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God seems to be highlighting the power of words lately. It is an extremely important issue in the life of a believer. Because we are made in the image of God our words carry creative power. Because we have been given authority on the earth, our words set things in motion in the spiritual realm. The good news is that we can release blessings on the earth with our words. The bad news is that we can also release curses.

 

James has a lot to say about our words in his letter. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10). He instructs us to be sources of blessing at all times. We are to choose to speak life over ourselves and others whenever we speak. That is a simple rule but is one of those things that is much easier said than done.

 

Earlier in his letter he talked about how difficult it is to tame the tongue. He says, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:3-6).

 

In fact, if you were to read the entire letter of James you might get the sense that the tongue is almost impossible to control…even for those who try. Many of us who want to be obedient to the Lord have found that James is correct. We want to keep our mouths shut, we want to avoid critical speech and speak only life…but something else often comes out. However, God does not command us to do what is impossible to do. What we need to remember is that all things are possible…with God.

 

If we try to govern our tongue in our own strength we don’t have a chance. But with God, we can control even our tongues. David had a handle on what we can do when we partner with God in any battle. He proclaimed, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me” (Psm.18:29-35).

 

God revealed his ability to work with our tongues when Moses protested that he didn’t have the word power to speak to the ruler of Egypt. “Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’”

Jesus told us that we also have another who will help us with our speech. “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt.10:18-20).

 

So…if you have been struggling with your words and have not been able to be a source of life and blessing to all those around you, verbally submit your tongue to the Lordship of Jesus each morning when you get up. Ask the Holy Spirit to govern your tongue that day and give you the words to say in every situation. Ask the God who made your mouth to be with your mouth and teach you what to say. The transformation will probably be a process rather than an event, but keep placing your tongue under the Lordship of Jesus and the operation of the Spirit and you will see that God is very willing to lead you to victory over your enemy….even when the enemy is your tongue.

 

Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord assures us that when his word goes forth it always fulfills its purpose. “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:10-11).  For us the question becomes, “How does God’s worth go forth?”  Under the Old Covenant, God told Jeremiah, “I have put my words in your mouth.” He went on to tell him that he was appointed over nations and kingdoms to uproot, tear down, plant, and to build although he would never lead an army or a political movement.

 

Concerning prophets, God’s word goes forth from his lips to theirs by revelation from the Spirit or from the lips of angels and when his prophets declare it, his power is then released and his word fulfills its purpose in lives and nations on the earth. In the Book of Hosea, speaking of his judgment the Lord says, “Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you” (Hos.6:5-6). The declarations of God’s prophet released the angelic realm and even the Holy Spirit to make God’s word a reality.

 

Under the Old Covenant, God’s Spirit would reveal his will to those upon whom the Spirit operated – typically those appointed to the office of prophet.  Under the New Covenant, the Spirit of prophecy lives in every believer and each of us can hear directly from God and can declare his word over a person or circumstance.  Admittedly, those with a residing gift of prophecy can do so in just about any setting,  but all of us can receive a prophetic word form time to time as the Spirit determines.

 

Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Like the Old Testament prophets, uur words in prayer and prophetic declarations release the heavenly realms to fulfill God’s purposes on the earth. So why does he wait on us? He waits for his people to declare his word or lift up prayers because he gave his people – his children – his representatives – dominion over the earth and the works of his hands from the very beginning. He simply continues to honor that intent and honors the authority he has given us. Much or even most of what God desires to do on the earth will depend on our prayers and declarations. God is willing to run and if he runs he will win the race.  But he waits on his people to fire the starting pistol.

 

Even when we recognize the essential place of our prayers and declarations in releasing God’s will and purposes not he earth, it’s important to notice the analogy God uses for his word as it goes forth from his mouth. He uses the analogy of seed that sprouts and grows, of planting and harvesting. Jesus used the same analogy when he talked about the word of God being broadcast and the different soils it might encounter (Lk.8:4-21). As microwave Americans, we expect instantaneous answers to our prayers, instantaneous healings, and instantaneous shifts in relationships and cultural issues when we have prayed or declared God’s word over a situation. But when seed is involved, we must allow time for cultivation, watering, growth, and then the harvest.

 

It is true that sometimes, our prayers or declarations will release almost instantaneous results. A person may be healed immediately or within hours. A prayer will bring a check in the next day’s mail. A house will be sold in the afternoon when the prayer was offered in the morning, and so on. But typically, like seeds, the words we have offered up will seem to make no difference for a season. Like a woman who has just planted a garden, we will go out daily to see if anything is pushing up through the soil. Initially, there will be no evidence of God moving to establish what we have prayed or declared or even commanded. Like a master gardener, we will need to have faith, watch the soil, and continue to water with our prayers and declarations until we see the first green sprouts breaking through the soil. Even after the first evidence of life, we will need to guard the initial progress with faith, diligence, and prayer. We will need to pray against the involvement of the enemy in the same way that we would be vigilant to keep insects and “critters” from killing the young plants. Eventually, we will witness a plant growing but that is still only the promise of a harvest. Then, after a season of growth, the harvest will come and there will be the full answer to our prayers or the full impact of our declarations.

 

Paul encourages us by saying, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9). The harvest comes if we do not give up. Undoubtedly, much of what God wants to do or is willing to do on the earth gets choked out because his people plant their seeds but do not continue to water them with prayer and expressions of faith. After a short season, we too often decide that God is not going to answer our prayer or honor a declaration so we stop tending the plant and it is choked out by the enemy or by our own unbelief. We need to be confident of our standing in the kingdom and of the authority our words carry in declarations and prayers. We need to be confident that if God has placed something on our hearts or has given us a word by his Spirit or a prophetic declaration, then we are the carrier of his word that is to go forth from our lips. We should then stand on that word until it is fulfilled or until God releases us. What a privilege and what a responsibility. Enjoy both. It comes with our dominion over the earth.

I keep encountering good Christian people that simply do not believe that Christians can be oppressed or afflicted by demons. For my first 20 years of ministry, I also held that position. I had not been convinced of that through study but simply came to that conclusion because we never talked about it or considered it. It wasn’t considered an issue, so I assumed that it wasn’t an issue.

 

However, in retrospect our people suffered because of my ignorance of the spiritual realm. People who loved Jesus spent years unable to gain victory over painful issues in their lives – depression, anxiety, anger, sorrow, and a bevy of addictions common in American culture. I just helped a church in another state with their first Freedom Weekend. There were several participants in their sixties and seventies. They received healing and deliverance from issues that had plagued them for decades stemming from childhood abuse. That was wonderful but how much better if they had received that healing and freedom fifty years ago.

 

When we begin to talk about Christians needing deliverance the objection is often raised that Christians do not need deliverance. The argument is offered that believers cannot be possessed by demons since: (1) We belong to God, (2) He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world, and since Satan has been defeated by Christ, he cannot exert any power over a follower of Jesus. (3) The Holy Spirit lives within us and would not coexist with the demonic in “His temple” (1 Cor.6:19). A few others give room to the idea that demons might tempt believers externally but could certainly not be “in us” or attach themselves to us because of the reasons listed above. All of these objections are worthy of consideration.

 

First of all, those who say Christians can be demonized and those who say they cannot, must both acknowledge that their positions are not based on direct statements from scripture. Nowhere does scripture clearly state that demons can enter into believers nor does it say they cannot. So, conclusions drawn from an accumulation of evidence and experience may be the best either side can offer. I simply want to suggest some things for your consideration, if you struggle with the concept of Christians needing deliverance.

 

Secondly, we need to clarify the term “demon possession.” That is not a biblical term and I do not believe Christians can be possessed by Satan as that term implies ownership. Obviously, Christians have been bought by the blood of Christ. They have been purchased by His sacrifice and so are “possessed” or “owned” by God. The idea of “demon possession” also implies that individuals are totally controlled by demons to the extent that they can no longer exercise their own will in any area of their life. I have never met a Christian in that condition.

 

However, I have met many Christians who seem unable to exercise their will in certain areas of their lives at certain times. They suffer from emotional torment (depression, unrelenting grief, anxiety, self-loathing, feelings of rejection, shame, unworthiness, etc.), compulsions, addictions, rage, fear, lust, and a host of other sin or tormenting issues that they cannot seem to overcome.

 

Those believers usually hate the sin or the torment, feel shame about it, pray against it, receive counseling for it, attend weekly support groups, take medications to control it, and still experience no victory or lasting freedom in that area of their lives. Their best hope is to manage the sin, addiction, or emotional condition but have long given up getting victory over it. We are left with only a few options to explain these situations:

  • Christ is either not sufficient or not willing to heal us and set us free from emotional brokenness or bondage even though Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 declare that has come to heal the broken hearted and set captives free.
  • Those individuals haven’t worked long enough or hard enough to overcome the issues in their lives or simply lack the faith to believe God for those things.
  • Those individuals really don’t want to be healed and set free.
  • God has decided to leave those areas of sin and brokenness to secular doctors, psychologists, and pharmaceutical companies.
  • If demons are present, it is because these people really aren’t saved and do not have the Spirit of God living within them.
  • The demonic is exercising control over a part of their life from time to time (or most of the time) so that therapies in the natural realm and ordinary spiritual practices are not sufficient. Deliverance and divine weapons are needed.

 

As Christians, we must reject the idea that Jesus is not sufficient or willing or that God ordained that our only hope for healing and freedom is in doctors and psychologists – most of whom are secular. The world should be coming to us for answers rather than us going to the world. We should also reject the idea that sanctification and overcoming sin in our lives is all about our effort and hard work. Certainly we have a part in the process, but we are clearly told that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers (Eph. 6:12). We are also instructed to employ “divine weapons” (2 Cor.10:3-5), which are necessary to tear down strongholds in the lives of believers.

 

There are certainly some who are not truly saved and some who do not want to be set free. But I also believe that many who love God and hate sin are oppressed, afflicted, and tormented by demons that have attached themselves to the believer or “entered into” that person to take up residence. That condition is better termed demonization (affliction, oppression, harassment, torment) rather than possession. Salvation is not an issue in these cases but our effectiveness, spiritual maturity, the work of the Spirit in us, etc. are greatly hindered.

 

Demonization does not cost us our salvation but does greatly minimize our sanctification. In most cases, a demonized person is only out of control in one area of his or her life while functioning normally in all the others. However, that one area can create a great deal of pain and chaos for those individuals and their families.

 

The believer’s ability to continue to function in other areas of his or her life is what keeps us from looking deeper and, perhaps, seeking answers in the spiritual realm. Satan is a good strategist. He keeps attacks toned down so that we are hindered but still feel that something in the natural realm is the cause and that something in the natural realm can still provide a solution. So we seek more meds, more counseling, more dietary solutions, more of whatever science and medicine offers. I’m not saying that we should never use what science and medicine provides. I believe they are a grace from God for a fallen world but if the issue is demonic, those things will have limited benefits. Our conviction that our problems and solutions are grounded in the natural realm is what keeps the stronghold a secret and what continues to give Satan power in the life of the individual.

 

Our people look to the natural realm because the church has taught them to do so. The majority of churches do not teach on the spiritual life and battles in the spiritual realm nor do they access the powers of heaven for solutions. They teach that Jesus came to forgive our sins and help us to live a moral life so we can go to heaven but help for the rest of life’s big struggles must come from the world. What a deception. Jesus came to give us abundant life and victory over the enemy. We don’t have all the answers yet for healing and world peace, but those answers exist in heaven and our job is to keep stepping into the realm of spiritual warfare, healing world peace, and aggressive prayer until the Holy Spirit downloads the answers. It is only a matter of time of we ask and then the world will see the glory of God like never before.