Header 2 Col 972 x 157 w-Birds Personal

"Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!' But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, and come out of him!' And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him." Luke 4:33-35 What would the people of our day think if something like this happened, a man or woman suddenly crying out strange words like these? Most would think he or she was mentally ill. I know a man who worked as a social worker at a psychiatric hospital, and when I mentioned to him that some people who are deemed "mentally ill" are actually under the control of an evil spirit, he laughed at me. A hearty laugh at that! Sadly, this is the response most would give today. So ...the problem is not being addressed correctly and these people will stay in their affliction. Medications might be of some help in controlling some of the symptoms, but when it's a case of demonic involvement, the only real remedy is the remedy given to us in the Scriptures: deliverance. "And these signs will follow those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons;" Mark 16:17 "...those who believe." That's all of us who have been born again. The ministry to those in afflictions like these is sadly missing in the church of today. In some churches, some will pray for the afflicted. They might anoint the person with oil and gather round and pray, and that's good, it should be the first step. But if the affliction is demonic in nature, until the demonic spirits are cast out the person's affliction will remain. An intercessor said to me one day that the Lord spoke to her heart: "If something doesn't respond to prayer, consider that it may be demonic in nature." How can we ignore this? The common response to anyone with a message like this is that a believer cannot be "demon possessed." And that is correct. The problem is that the word is mistranslated. The correct translation is "demonized." People don't think twice when someone says a believer can be afflicted with bacteria, or viruses. They are not "possessed" by bacteria or viruses, they are under the control of bacteria or viruses until they are cured. In the same sense, a person can be under afflction of demonic spirits, as the Scriptures clearly tell us. The only cure is "deliverance," where the demons are cast out. Until then, the condition of the person will not be changed. It is a great disservice to the body of Christ that this ministry is rejected. Deliverance can change a person, and the change is often dramatic. Deliverance was a large part of Jesus's ministry while he walked the shores of Galilee. Where did those demons go when they were cast out? They are still here with us today, causing incredible suffering to God's people. If you have prayed and prayed for someone with no real change, go to the Lord and ASK him if the cause is demonic. Then follow his directions in how to proceed. It can mean a whole new life for someone. “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, TO SET AT LIBERTY THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED;" Luke 4:18 Pray with me: Father God, your Son Jesus Christ has given to the church the ministries mentioned in Mark chapter 16, but today they are sadly missing, and without these ministries people stay in their afflictions. We ask you in Jesus's Name to restore this ministry to the church and to us as individual members. We're in a dry land, in a Laodicean time, but you change not and your gifts are still available. We ask you to empower us to use them in response to your leading. Raise us up, Lord, those whom you have called to bring comfort and healing to suffering brothers and sisters. We will gladly give you all the glory. In Jesus's Name. Amen

"But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my Word." Isaiah 66:2 On reading this, one can't help but think of the "prosperity gospel" peddlers who tell you to demand that God's Word be activated by you the claimant, and to obtain your desires by naming them before him and claiming them. "You can have your best life now," say the peddlers, these wolves in sheep's clothing. These are con men, wolves who have made their millions by convincing you that you can do the same. They will receive their just dues when they stand before the God they misrepresented. On that day they will have nothing to claim as they are humbled by the God whose Word they perverted. Where has the reverence gone? How does one DARE to stand before God and demand that God give him whatever he's naming, claiming, and demanding? God forbid! No, THIS is the one whom God will hear: the person who humbles himself, that is, who is poor in spirit, and who comes with repentance, the one “who trembles at his Word.” Where has the reverence gone? How can man dare mistreat the Word of God as they do? Father forgive them, for they have no idea what they are doing. They have no concept of your holiness, your majesty, your glory. We are not to throw around the Word of God like a magic wand. We are to TREMBLE at his Word. And that is one thing the prosperity peddlers will never do. They tremble before no one and nothing. They are there to demand what they want and sadly, that's what they'll get, their best life now, because the life to come will be a terrible shock to them. My New Testament reading today showed a different picture entirely. Hear this: "So he himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed." Luke 5:16 It's hard to fathom the Son of God, the King of Glory, going off by himself into the quiet of the wilderness to PRAY. He who could command angels, instead humbled himself before the Father and approached him in all humility. Amazing! This is the very Son of God! What a picture! Would you dare walk into a king's throne room and say "howdy," and hand him your list of demands? If you were invited into the office of the CEO of a great company, how would you behave? Picture yourself visiting a far-away country and for some reason being invited into the king's throne room. How would you act? How would you prepare? First of all, you'd spend days choosing and preparing what you would wear. You'd get a fresh haircut. And when you entered, you'd bow. But before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords you run in and give him the list of what you're "claiming" today? Are you kidding??? How shameful! Friends, consider the idea you have of God. From where have you derived the image of him that you have in your mind? Is he the go-to guy waiting patiently for you to come with your demands? No, it is in his mercy that he does not knock them on their face. This is the Most High God! The creator and sustainer of all that is ...who breathes out galaxies and calls stars by name! When you come before him, come on your knees. Give him the reverence due him. Jesus Christ, the Son of God went off alone into the wilderness to humble himself before the Father in prayer. He didn't present the Father with his list of what he was claiming for the day. He bowed before him and waited to hear from him. How does mortal man dare do any less?

"Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation; preserve my life from FEAR of the enemy. Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows..." Psalm 64:1-3 Notice that the psalmist isn't asking the Lord to preserve him from the enemy, he's asking him to preserve him from FEAR of the enemy. We know that the enemy of our souls devises plots and plans against us, but we are not to walk in fear of him. Nothing can happen to us without God's permission, and ALL things thrown at us will be worked together for our GOOD, and that's a promise: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 Nevertheless, we're walking in enemy territory and the enemy will do all it can to stop us. Many times we will even be unaware of the schemes devised against us. "They devise iniquities: 'We have perfected a shrewd scheme.'” Psalm 64: 6 We need to be mature enough to understand that the enemy will plot against us, and we need a depth of trust in the Lord to be unmoved by it. The apostle Paul endured numerous assaults against him, he was beaten, imprisoned, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked; there seemed to be no end to the assaults of the enemy against him. Yet he endured. Not only endured, but triumphed over them. HOW did he do it? HOW did he triumph? "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed." Acts 16:25-26 Imprisoned in a dungeon, their feet bound in stocks, their backs bloodied by whips, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God. Sang praises to God??? How on earth did these two men have such peace in such a desperate situation? And the answer to that is that they UNDERSTOOD the warfare they were in. The Lord had shown Paul from the beginning what he would have to suffer for his Name's sake: “ But the Lord said to him (Ananias), 'Go, for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. FOR I WILL SHOW HIM HOW MANY THINGS HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME'S SAKE.'” Acts 9:15-16 God showed Paul how many things he must SUFFER.... So Paul knew from the beginning that the enemy would throw all kinds of things against him to discourage him, to stop his witness. But Paul was so surrendered to his Lord that he "counted it all joy" (James 1:2) and sang praises to God in a dungeon at midnight. Notice that Paul did not "claim" his deliverance or "command" Satan to let him go; he surrendered. And sang praises in the dungeon. Then God moved: "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed." Acts 16:26 Brothers and sisters, we are not to live in fear. We are to live in surrender. We are to live knowing the enemy will throw all sorts of things our way, and we are not to be overcome by them. Once we reach this understanding, nothing can touch us anymore. Our hearts are placed on the solid rock of trust, no matter what. And when we sing praises while in the dungeon, there just might be an earthquake that will open our prison doors and set us free.