Tag Archives: deliverance

Who Does What?

Today I would like to discuss something rather simple, yet something which will no doubt rock many people’s understanding of the Bible. Who does what? Yes, what is God’s job to do, what is our job, and what has God already set in place (like natural or spiritual laws)? I know that there is much to discuss here, so I will try and let you know my thoughts as quickly and as thoroughly as I can.

One of the biggest issues amongst Believers now days (in my opinion) is that we think that God can do what He wants, when He wants. Dare I say a ‘reformed’ view that God’s sovereignty means that He can do anything. Truth is, He can’t. (Shock!). Before you get all angry and start sending me emails, can God lie? Can God forsake us? No. Now I know what you’re thinking. It is not that God CAN’T do it, it is that He said He WOULDN’T do it. That is my point. God can do anything, but there are certain things that He won’t do, because He said He wouldn’t. Those are the bad things though (lying and forsaking). What about some ‘good’ things? Healing the sick, preaching the Gospel, casting out demons. You see God told us to do this, so He won’t. You may say that this doesn’t make a difference, but it does. Why do we pray to God and ask Him to heal? Why do we pray and ask God to get the demons away from us? Why do we pray and ask God to bring people to Him? This is what He told us to do.

If you’re a director of a company, and you delegate some responsibilities to your managers, would you then go and do the exact thing you asked them to do? No, not if you were any good at being a director. Once you delegate, you let them do it. Yes, you may help. Yes, you may want to be part of the plan. Yes, it is your authority that carries weight. Yes, they couldn’t do it without your backing and permission. But you don’t do it. This is the same with God. We need to do what He has called us to to. Yes, the power comes from Him. Yes, we couldn’t do it without God. Yes, we do it in the name of Jesus. But we have to do it.

Stop praying for Jesus to heal the sick. Jesus told us to talk to the mountain, and He gave us authority over sickness. Talk to the sickness and tell the person to be healed in the name of Jesus. Now I know that there is more to healing than the way we say it, but this will change our attitude. It is relatively easy to have faith, when we know we have the authority, and Jesus has already done the healing (by His stripes we are healed). The healing is done, we have the authority to administer it. If you believe this, it is easier to have faith than if we think that we’re trying to ‘twist God’s arm’ to heal someone. Like we care about them more than God. Are you praying for God to give you release from the demonic? Why? God told us to resist the devil, and he will flee. Do you pray that God will lead people to Himself? He told us to preach the Gospel. It is our job to tell people about Jesus. Yes, the Holy Spirit plays a part in calling people, but we have a responsibility.

Does this mean that God won’t help? No, obviously He does. We can pray that God helps us, that is what the Holy Spirit does. We can pray that God gives us the opportunity, or the wisdom, but we still need to do what He has told us to. The things that God has told us to do is in line with His spiritual laws, things that He has set into place. One that we all accept is salvation. If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, you will be saved. That is the law, and if we do it as God has instructed, we will be saved. There is no other way. It is similar with other things too, although our default is to ask God to do everything.

Have a think about this. Do you ask God to do things that He has told you to do? Do you know how to do what God has called you to? Maybe this is the time to rethink how you do things, maybe it is time for change. Stop asking God to do what He has asked you to do, learn how He wants you to do it, and then get out and do it in faith. When we do what God has asked us to do, in the name of Jesus, just see what happens!

Richard

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Time to Acts – Part 16

This is one of my favourite passages of scripture (Acts 16), so let’s take a look at what we can learn here.

We start with a rather awkward part. Paul decides to take Timothy along with him, but they are going to a place filled with Jews, so Timothy needs to get circumcised. Now Paul speaks about the fact that we no longer have to get circumcised, so why did he circumcise Timothy? I believe that he did this to overcome any barriers with the Jews as they were going to minister to them. I’m not going to spend too much time on this, but if Timothy scarred his body to overcome a hurdle of engaging the people that he was ministering to, what do you do? Do you try and adapt to fit in with the people that you have been sent to minister to, or do you expect them to bridge the gap? What were the chances that someone would see that he was not circumcised? Yet he still did it. I hope this makes you think about what hurdles you need to overcome to minister to the people that you have been sent to. Just remember, this is NOT an excuse to sin, we are called to be in the world, not of it.

As we read on, we see Paul, Silas and Timothy get lead to Macedonia, with some saved on the way. It doesn’t take long for the demons to get upset, and one decides to interfere. A woman that is demonised starts following Paul saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” I have heard people say that demons can’t tell the truth, that they have to lie. I have even heard people say that if you do the opposite of what they tell you, you’re on the right track. Please let this verse show you that these statements are complete rubbish. They will tell you whatever they need to to cause you to stumble. Don’t listen to them at all, listen to the Holy Spirit instead, you can’t go wrong doing that! Paul gets upset and tells the demon to leave, which it does as it has to listen to us when we command it in the Name of Jesus. This doesn’t go down well with the ladies masters. They made money from her fortune-telling, now without the demon, she can’t do it anymore. I hope that this is also clear as to where fortune-tellers get their power from (see Difference Between Prophets and Fortune Tellers). As per normal, the guys get falsely accused, beaten and thrown into prison. Again.

Now this is the part that really encourages me. Paul and Silas are praising God. If you were beaten and thrown into a high security prison after doing the right thing, would you be praising God? I’m not sure if I would. Next thing, there is an earthquake and the doors swing open and the chains fall off. Freedom! No, the guys stay put. That is what astounds me, they could have run, would you not see the chains coming off and the doors opening as a chance to run? I would. Paul and Silas decided to stay where they were. Look what happened. The guard decides to kill himself as he will be killed if the prisoners escape, and he thinks that they are gone. Paul calls him and tells him not to do it. Next thing, we see that the guard and his family are saved and baptised! The guard then helps Paul and Silas by cleaning their wounds and feeding them. If Paul and Silas had run, they would have been fugitives and the guard would be dead. Now they are on their way to being freed and the guard and his family are saved. This is what happens when you listen to God and not do what you think you have to. This also shows us that when we have (figurative) chains holding us down, we can break them (in Jesus Name and by worshipping God), and they will be broken. This doesn’t necessarily mean that our circumstances will change, it just means that instead of our circumstances dictating to us, we (with the power of the Spirit) dictate to our circumstances. The chains will go but our situations may not change, but once the chains are gone, our situations will work for our good. I hope that this passage encourages you as much as it encouraged me when I read it. This is the God that we serve!

One last thing, even after this, Paul still refuses to leave the prison. He (and the others) were put there after doing nothing wrong. Paul knew this, and he wanted to magistrates to sweat a little. Only after they came down and apologised to Paul, did he leave. That is the advantage of taking the high road.

God’s power, our actions.

Richard

The Passive Fight

I recently wrote a post about the authority that we, as Christians, have over demons. What I wrote in the post is absolutely true, but not everyone is comfortable taking demons on directly. I would go as far as to say that we are all capable of rebuking demons, but they are rather clever, and I wouldn’t recommend that you go into this as a ministry unless you are called by God. If God hasn’t called you to fight the demonic (as a ministry), you probably don’t come across it too often, so you may not feel up to taking on something of this magnitude. I would say that this is fair enough, however that doesn’t mean that you should be out of the fight completely. So what can you do to join the fight, without actually taking demons on directly? Glad you asked, here are some suggestions.

Choose your words wisely. This is such a simple thing to do (in theory) but yet it can have such a huge effect on your life. Proverbs 21:23 says, “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.” Need I say more? Have a look at a previous post of mine entitled Mind Your Tongue and it will explain about this in more detail. What you say has a direct effect on your life, I have learned this the hard way. My wife and I are so careful what we say now. God SPOKE the world into being, Jesus SPOKE and people were healed, Peter SPOKE and people were raised from the dead. What will happen if you were to SPEAK the right things into your life, instead of all the wrong things? Think about it.

Think about what you think about. Let’s not beat about the bush here, the number one way that the devil attacks us in in our mind. You don’t have to try too hard to find something by Joyce Meyer that talks about the battle in our minds. The reason why she teaches so much on this is because it is so extremely important. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise that what goes on in your head will eventually come out in your words and your action. We’ve covered your words, so we also need to cover your thoughts. I have been through such a battle of late, and I can honestly say that getting my mind in order was a huge step in the right direction. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” This doesn’t mean that we should sit day dreaming about heaven, it means that we should have ‘Kingdom thinking’ instead of ‘earthly thinking’ while we are here on earth. Read Think About It for more about this.

Base your actions on scripture. God has given us a whole book, explaining how we should live our lives. We don’t like that because we don’t want to be told what to do. God gives us instructions in the Bible, and that is not to control us or get us to do what He wants, it is to protect us. Protect us from the attacks from the devil. When Jesus tells us to forgive, is it so that we will be the ‘weak link’ or is it so that we can be set free as we forgive? Seriously, try and find one ‘rule’ that God has put in place (which is still relevant in the new covenant) that is not there to protect us. You’ll struggle. Our actions will have a massive bearing on our lives, even a simple comment like ‘if you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime’ is relevant. Have a look at Actions Speak Louder Than Words to see some more about this.

There you go, three simple things that you can do which will drastically decrease your vulnerability against satan and his helpers. Please note that this doesn’t mean that he won’t try, it just means that he is less likely to succeed. Think about what you are thinking about. Run all of your thoughts through scripture, and when they are found wanting, throw them out. Make sure that you only speak positive words over yourself and others, make sure that your words are lined up with scripture. Act according to scripture, do what is Godly and right. You do this, you are well on your way, and that means that you are on a much stronger footing against the devil. When I have delivered people from strongholds before, this was the advice that I gave them, why not start doing it before you get to the point where you need deliverance.

Don’t let them get a foothold.
Richard

Authority Over Demons

This is a follow on from Our Authority in Christ, and it came about as I read a passage of scripture, which at first confused me. I then turned to the internet for some possible answers for my questions. That confused me even more. I eventually found an explanation by a pastor, which made sense, so I read the passage again and this time it made much more sense. A combination of what this pastor said and what I believe the Holy Spirit said to me has lead me to a conclusion which I will share with you here. The passage was the one where Jesus casts out the demons into the pigs. Here it is from Matthew 8:28-34.

Jesus Heals Two Demon-Possessed Men
When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.
They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”
There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”
“All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.

So many questions. Why were they scared and why did they react? Why did Jesus let them go into the pigs? Why did the pigs drown? Why wouldn’t the people accept Jesus? Let me start at the beginning. These men were known to be there, people avoided this spot because they were so dangerous. These men were dangerous, but it was actually the demons that were dangerous, not the men. In fact one of the men ask to follow Jesus at a later stage, but Jesus says that he would do more good in his own village. So if the demons were so dangerous, why did they react to Jesus in that way? Because He was (and is) God. The demons recognised the authority that He had and they were scared. Manifestations are very often just because the demons are cornered and they are scared. They would much rather fly under the radar, so they only really have an outburst like that when they feel threatened. The other thing that fills me with hope, is that they are so powerful, yet they are terrified of Jesus. Jesus hasn’t even said anything to them yet, but they are already trying to get away. Demons are no match for Jesus, not even close.

The next part of the story is interesting, why the pigs? I’m not sure why the demons wanted to go into the pigs, maybe they prefer to inhabit some ‘earthly being’, I don’t know. I’m more concerned about why Jesus ‘gave into them’. Jesus showed everyone compassion, demons are not anyone. I don’t believe this was an act of compassion. You can’t have compassion for people and then have compassion on the very evil that is trying to destroy those people. Don’t think for a second that we have to show them compassion. I believe that Jesus sent the demons into the pigs to show the severity of the situation. The bible mentions that there were about 2000 pigs (Mark 5:13), which would give an indication as to how many demons there were. I believe that Jesus wanted the people, disciples, and us to see how many demons fled. All he did was tell them to go. That was the severity of the situation, and that was the ‘simplicity’ of Jesus’ response. That shows the authority that Jesus had (and has).

Now what happened to the farmer afterwards is unclear, but Jesus saw fit to use the pigs as an illustration. What concerns me more is the people’s response to Jesus. They ask Him to leave. Here is someone who has just rid them of thousands of demons and made the area safe again, and they ask Him to leave. I’m not sure why they did this, but it serves as a warning for us today. Firstly, let’s not reject the Word of God just because we may not understand it all. Maybe they asked Jesus to leave because they felt sorry for the farmer, I don’t know. If they did, then they threw away an amazing experience which would have changed their lives forever, over a misunderstanding. Let us not do the same. The other idea is that they were scared. Maybe all of this ‘supernatural’ stuff scared them. This is also a warning to us. We now have the authority that Jesus had in this story, yes, He gave it to us. He gave us the authority to cast out demons and heal the sick in Mark 16:17-18. This is now our responsibility, we too have the authority over demons. We too just have to say the word and they will flee. Don’t be scared of it, welcome Jesus in and take up the challenge. By the way, it says that we have the authority to heal people, not to pray that God heals them. Think about it.

Fight the good fight.

Richard

Process of Freedom

In the last church service we had a visiting preacher who spoke about some things that were very close to my heart. Amongst other things, he spoke about the fact that we can be bound by evil; the fact that we can find ourselves incapable of breaking free of those ties unless we are set free by Jesus – whether it be alcoholism, a negative attitude or any other thing that prevents us from being the person God has called us to be. This is all true, but it does bring up some interesting questions, and I would guess that people will be divided on this issue.

You will get one group of people who would say that it is all about Jesus. We were bound by sin, but then Jesus came and died for us, so we are now free from sin. You’ll get the second group who will say that it is down to us and the decisions that we make. They’ll say that God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can resist, and it is our responsibility to resist. You’ll have a third group saying that we (as Christians) are told to deliver people from demonic strongholds (cast out demons), and that we should exercise that responsibility in order to see people get set free. If you ask me which group I agree with, my answer will be… all three!

You see, it is often not a simple solution. In fact, I don’t think there is a solution that can be applied to all situations, but there is a good starting point. I have had the privilege of praying for many people and I also don’t shy away from using my spiritual authority, but it needs to be used with wisdom. The conclusion that I have come up with, is that all three of the ideas presented above play a role in seeing someone set free. I will show you why I think this and what I believe needs to be done to see that someone is set free from these strongholds.

Firstly, we do have the authority to cast out demons, but we need to remember that we don’t have authority over someone else’s life, only they do. This is free will. I know that Calvinists may disagree when it comes to salvation, but I don’t think that many people will disagree that we have choices to make, and that those choices are up to us. So yes, I can command a demon to release you in the name of Jesus and, yes, I have authority over that demon. I don’t have authority over you. If you don’t want that demon to release you, I can’t make it. Now you may say that it is silly to have a demonic influence and not want to be set free from it. You’ll be surprised. People slip so far into these bonds and get so used to them, that they actually feel scared to break free. They don’t want to be in that situation, but coming out of it scares them too. They end up actually sabotaging the ‘rescue mission’ by choosing not to come out of it. Whether it is a conscious or sub-conscious choice, it is a choice none the less. This brings me to my second point, our free will. If someone doesn’t want to be free from the stronghold, then they won’t be, so they need to choose to be free. Now all of this is made possible by what Christ did, so yes, it is all about Him. Because He died on the cross, we have the authority to cast demons out and break demonic strongholds, and because He died, we have the ability to resist the devil so that he will flee from us. Note, not leave us alone, but flee!

Let’s have a look at a practical example; I’ll use a simple illustration. I have felt that there were curses over my life; a mind-set that I was stuck in and couldn’t get out of; a lack of self-worth. Where these things came from is debatable, but that is not the issue. Someone prayed for me and broke those curses (at my request), and I also prayed against them. This was step one. Thanks to what Jesus did on the cross, I had the ability to break those strongholds after many years of submitting to them. This didn’t mean that they would never try and bring me down again, they did. They still do. The difference now is that I can resist them, I know where they come from, and I don’t want anything to do with them. Now, when I get a thought which challenges my self-worth, I throw scripture at it. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, I am a new creation, I was fearfully and wonderfully made. For God so loved me. They go on and on. I make the decision not to give into it. And, do you know what, I not only defeat those thoughts but I am stronger when I come through this situation than when I go in. God really is good, even when I do get it wrong from time to time and give in to the wrong thoughts, for there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!

So, to sum up, it is not always a problem that can be fixed in one prayer, but it starts with one prayer. Remember, the Bible tells us to repent and, contrary to popular belief, repentance is not grovelling to say sorry, but making a change (read ‘Repentance is the Cure‘ for more information). Changing from a way of sin, to a way of righteousness. Jesus made it possible for us to do just that, and He made it possible for us to help others get on their way by releasing them from the chains.

Make the right choice.

Richard