A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts

April 11, 2021

How Would Our Nation Be Different If The Church Acted Like The Ekklesia?

I would like to submit to you that there is not a single citizen of our great nation who would testify that nothing has changed in our country. And in the eyes of the righteous of the nation, there are many demonic strongholds that are attacking the fundamentally Christian foundation of our homeland... and appear to be winning!

But what would it look like if the Church/Body of Christ actually followed Jesus's instructions that He gave to His disciples in Matthew 16:18-19? Before we consider how those instructions could be carried out in the 21st century, let's remember the verses and their context ... Jesus says, "on this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades (death) will not overpower itI will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will  have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.”  

To begin, there are a couple of ways that we can discern who or what "the rock" is that Jesus is referring to. It could be Himself, who is the foundational rock and cornerstone of the body of believers who are to become the church. Alternatively, the place they were standing [in Caesarea Philippi], was at the rocky base of Mount Hermon, the exact location where the Fallen Angels descended to corrupt humankind by mating with human women. Then there is the fact that instead of the word "church", Jesus actually used the Greek word (adopted by the Romans) of Ekklesia. Jesus very deliberately used this word, and it means “legislative assembly” or “selected ones.” This is not a religious term at all, but a political and governmental term that is used many times in classical Greek for a group of people who have been summoned and gathered together to govern the affairs of a city. For Jesus to use this term means He is giving the keys of governmental authority in his kingdom on earth to the believers who will follow His commands and His Father's form of heavenly government. 

This area [and those terms] would have made Peter and his fellow disciples very uneasy.  They knew they were standing on ground that the Nephilim had inhabited, and in Jewish theology, the spirits of these dead warrior-kings were demons.  They believed that this area, with its connection to Fallen Angels and temples dedicated to Zeus and Baal worship, was the entryway to the underworld -- the gates of Sheol, which simply means “the place of the dead” or “the place of departed souls/spirits.”  (The New Testament Greek equivalent is Hades).  In this case, with its history involving Fallen Angels, it was an area of evil departed spirits, or demons.

Therefore, Peter might have understood what Jesus was saying in this way -- that when He referred to "the rock" on which He would build His Church, He did not mean either Peter or Himself.  Peter and the other Disciples knew Jesus was talking about the very rock on which they were standing -- the foot of Mount Hermon, the demonic headquarters of the Old Testament and the Greek world. And they were to be obedient to taking back dominion and authority of the earth from the demonic influence and strongholds to which they were in bondage.  Nothing has changed in 2000 years. That was the disciples' mandate, and it's ours, too.

So, now back to my original question .... what would it look like if we were to step into that mandate as the true Ekklesia? What is our responsibility to effect change on this earth; to take back territories from the kingdom of darkness and transfer them into the jurisdiction of our Father's Kingdom in Heaven? What if the Ekklesia was to divide up into small groups of 5 or 6 and across the Southern border states, thousands of these groups met to determine the areas in their communities and counties that are under bondage to the strongholds that are orchestrating an invasion of our land ... and what if each of these groups met at a particular place on the map and prayed and confessed the sins that have been committed in and on the land, asked God for forgiveness, then prayed for reconciliation, restitution and restoration? What if tens of thousands of the Ekklesia were committed to doing that and to consecrating the land [with holy oil] to break the strongholds of Freemasonry, human trafficking, drug addiction, poverty, murder, and the breakdown of the family unit?
I know that just in the section of the Southern border where I live, the land is saturated with the influence of false gods from the generational iniquity of worshiping the pagan war gods of the Mezo-American era; it has literally been bathed in the blood of human sacrifice for centuries and generations. The Ekklesia groups in the East and the Deep South could do the same, confessing the sins over the land that were committed during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and covering those bloody grounds with holy oil and the Blood of Jesus. And so it would go throughout our nation -- from the war-torn cities of Chicago across the plains of our nation's mid-section to the West Coast -- every person who calls themselves a Christian confessing and repenting for the state of our country due to the neglect of the Body of Christ to steward it, protect it, and repent when we have sinned. 

Take a slow, deliberate look at this oft-quoted verse in 2 Chronicles, chapter seven: [If] My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land. Our nation stands no chance of being healed unless we can confess our wicked ways in the here and now, and own up to our generational and historical iniquity! I've heard the excuse that the pastors are tired ... but if they are unable to lead the remnant of their flocks to be obedient to 2 Chronicles 7:14, then are they perhaps guilty of not equipping and training their church members to do the ministry of God in the world (Ephesians 4:11-12)? Shouldn't there at least be a remnant that is capable and willing to pray, confess, repent, and turn from the wicked ways of the world, and ask God to forgive us and heal the land?

We are commanded by Jesus to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God that is on earth and in heaven; to make disciples; and to baptize those who receive Christ as their Savior. That is doing the work of the ministry of the Father and Son. But when it becomes clear that our communities and cities across the nation have fallen from God's original design, and our families are in bondage to strongholds that result in addiction, persecution, murder and death, then there is no excuse for the Body of Christ failing to be the Ekklesia and governmental authority of the Kingdom of God in people's lives. If everyone who professed faith in Jesus was committed to joining with a remnant of fellow believers to confess their sins and the sins of the nation -- and then repent and ask for forgiveness -- and then bless the land and ask God to heal it, just think of the impact that would have against the kingdom of darkness!

And for all of you who are walking this out already, God bless you! Join with me to pray that this will become a wave of revival among the Body of Christ, and that we will begin to see this nation be freed from the demonic strongholds that threaten to bring us down. I believe that there are legions of Heaven's angelic army just waiting for us to ask that they be unleashed to fight in the spiritual realms. Let us partner with them, under the leadership of Jehovah Sabaoth, the Commander of this mighty heavenly army, and may we see the darkness defeated in our generation. Amen!

Hosea 14:9     Whoever is [spiritually] wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is [spiritually] discerning and understanding, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble and fall in them.


November 14, 2020

Lord, Let It Begin With Me!


This nation and its people find themselves in a season of acrimony; marriages, families, and friends find themselves at deep odds with each other over differing political and cultural views and hastily spoken words uttered out of anger and antagonism. The division is at a level that I have never seen before. And I believe that we need the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of it all. I know that I do. You see, I am writing this post as a personal testimony of how the Enemy can use your sin to cause division and chaos in families. It is my testimony of humbling myself to allow Jesus to heal family discord that I caused. And I am writing it now -- particularly now in this season of our nation's history -- so that you will not fall into the trap that I did, and you will be able to find your way out of the pit by the grace of Jesus Christ. It begins by me being honest.

I have been writing this blog for nine years and I have never been afraid to stand and express my opinion, especially when it is something I feel strongly about. In fact, it was revealed to me that my boldness is what most threatens the devil. And if you have been with me from the beginning, you have seen [through my writing] the journey that the Lord is taking me on. You have been a witness to my newfound awareness that something vitally important was happening in our country and change was on the way -- profound changes that my spirit was not comfortable with. And you have seen my faith change and morph from being consumed by the world and how it was affecting me, to discovering the Kingdom of God on earth and my identity and purpose in it. I have tried to be less self-centered and more Jesus-focused. That is my current priority.

But seven years ago, in 2013, I wrote an article expressing my opinion on the state of government involvement in education and how I felt it had changed the character of our nation and its youth. And I wrote boldly and from my soul how I had seen it affect my family. And that fearless, thoughtless, and self-absorbed conviction opened a spiritual door these seven years later to offend my family. I wasn't writing the article to intentionally hurt them or cause anyone pain; I was using something personal to illustrate the point I wanted to make. It is sometimes easier to speak to an unseen audience by using details that have personal significance to you. But it was wrong. And now, all these years later, when that article found its way into the hands of my family members, I was faced with my sin. I had hurt people that I dearly loved, and the Enemy was having a field day!

I was immediately embarrassed and ashamed. There was no denying it. I could easily see what I could not in 2013 -- I had crossed a line then, and now I was going to have to pay the price. The Enemy immediately tried to get me to rationalize my actions. I could justify my decision to write as I did by this or that reasoning. And I probably would have done that seven years ago. But I have spent these intervening years growing with Jesus and I knew what He wanted me to do. I wrote to each of the offended members of my family and apologized for my rash words and told them I was sorry. I let them know that I had deleted the posts. Then I acknowledged the pain I had caused them, and humbly asked for their forgiveness. I knew I didn't have a right to expect it; I didn't deserve it, and they certainly didn't need to give it. But I knew it was the only way those spiritual doors I had recklessly opened could be closed.

And then my spirit bowed at the feet of Jesus and confessed my sin, repented and asked for His forgiveness. As sorrowful as I was over the pain I caused my family, I wept for having sinned against my Lord and disappointing Him. I knew in my spirit that He forgave me, but the Enemy continued to attack my soul through the night, and the spiritual battle was on!  Satan told me the damage had been done; and somehow the fact that the words had been written years ago magnified their effect. I needed to prepare myself for permanent rejection. He also whispered that this was the price that my pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness had cost me. My family would now look upon me as a hypocritical Christian. Then my spirit would counter with thoughts such as Jesus's forgiveness was not dependent on my family's forgiveness. My sins were forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus. And then I would recall prophetic minister Graham Cooke's own testimony of Jesus demanding that he, Graham, give Him, Jesus, back His stuff! When Graham continued to question, "What stuff, Lord?" Jesus responded, "I died on the Cross to take away your sins, and you keep hanging on to them!" 

In the morning, I knew I had done all I was asked by the Lord to make things right... the most important things were to humbly admit my sin, express my regret over the pain, and then ask to receive their forgiveness. It was time to leave it in the hands of Jesus. And as I prepared to begin a Bible study, I received two texts just seconds apart. Both thanked me for reaching out and unselfishly blessed me with their forgiveness, recognizing that it was a long time ago and families could be messy. There were more kind words but they made a point of extending their love and a desire to put it in the past. Oh, what a merciful and gracious God we serve! If we confess our sins, He is [truly] faithful and just to forgive us those sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!

I then had a picture in my spirit -- Satan, as my Accuser, standing in the Court in Heaven, accusing me of slander and maliciousness. But there was Jesus, as my Advocate, showing the heavenly documents that testified of my repentance, and that forgiveness was asked for and received. Case closed! I saw the article on that date in 2013, first covered by His blood, and then cut out of my earthly timeline. It no longer existed nor had any power in the spiritual realm. But my testimony is not finished. There is still one family member that I have not heard from. And that forgiveness will be harder to come by. I will not force it. And so I pray that the Blood of Jesus will be applied to her heart so that my words can no longer cause any pain or anger, and she can be set free of the ways the Enemy is trying to destroy our relationship.

Because you see, I can now discern just how this spiritual attack has come into play. My witness for the Kingdom of God is strong, committed, and persistent. There are no open doors in the present. But the Enemy was able to go back seven years and find something that he could use to throw a wrench in my work for the Kingdom. He wanted to weaken my spirit with righteous anger [on the part of my family]; self-doubt and self-condemnation against myself; and a lack of faith that I was not fit for the ministry to which the Lord has anointed me. If he could destroy me with those tactics, then perhaps I would have nothing left to give to ministry and I would begin doubting [and surrendering] my power and authority. But the power of Forgiveness has healed wounds -- both the wounds I caused and the self-inflicted wounds I received for my actions.

So, I write this to you today, not to receive a pat on the back for "doing the right thing", but to warn you that the Enemy is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. And he has sowed such chaos and bedlam in our hearts and homes, and on our streets across the land. Our nerves are frazzled; we are prone to anxiousness and anger; and violence is on the increase. I'm going to be honest, there is real evil waiting to take advantage of our humanness. So, please, learn from my mistake. Do not be naive and think that everything is good today, when as you can see from my testimony, the devil is able to go back in time and pull up something in the past to instigate upheaval and turmoil in your life. He will use anything that gives him legal authority to accuse you; whether it was intentional on your part, or not. Our land is ripe for division! Do not play into his hands! Our sinful choices create wounds and scars, and Satan won't miss any opportunity he can take to rip open the fabric of your family, your marriage, your business, or our beloved country. 

But take it from me -- Forgiveness covers a multitude of sins with the Blood of Jesus! If you sin against someone, go immediately to them and ask for their forgiveness. And if you are sinned against, don't waste a moment in anger, but instead, extend your forgiveness to the one who trespassed against you. Through the compassion and mercy of the Lord, our sins can be pardoned and blotted out. We don't have to give in to the discord and disunity that is so prevalent in our discourse today. I am a living witness of the power of God's love for us when we are able to ask for forgiveness and to give it. Learn from me -- do not give pride or arrogance a foothold in your heart. Walk in humility before others, exhibiting the plentiful redemption you have received from the Lord. And join me in praying, Father, let there be peace on earth and in our Homeland, and let it begin with me. Amen! 

Psalm 51:3-4, 9-10    For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight ... Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.

October 2, 2019

Have You Given Christ What He Died For?

     I ask that question because I am always astounded at the power of forgiveness whenever Mark and I meet with someone for Inner Healing. It's the first thing we do when they come to the table that Jesus has set for them in our home. And the same thing always happens ... they tell us that they have already forgiven everyone in their life. But we explain to them that we've been given a way for them to express forgiveness that takes unforgiveness off the table as a weapon for the Enemy.
     It works like this -- it is important that we speak our forgiveness out loud because when we do it silently in our mind [with Jesus or the Father], it is done in secret and remains hidden from the very spirits that are tormenting us with our unforgiveness. We need to realize that forgiveness is an act that we must do. God or Jesus cannot do it for us. So, when we speak out loud WHO we're forgiving, and WHY, and then HOW IT MADE US FEEL, before releasing them to the Father in the Name of Jesus, we are working in spiritual mechanics to establish a record in the spiritual realm that can be attested to in the Courts of Heaven.
     You see, the devil is a liar and he comes only to kill, steal and destroy. He knows that our Father in Heaven is a legalist; He has established "laws" for us to live by [according to His righteous government in Heaven] and Jesus, when He went to the Cross, paid every legal requirement for us to be reconciled back to the Father. The devil knows what Jesus meant when He said, in Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Forgiveness of others is a legal requirement of Heaven if we are to expect forgiveness for ourselves. That's why Mark and I take it very seriously when we come to Jesus's table to assist Him in setting free those who are in bondage to the devil.

     So, when we're told, "Oh, I've already forgiven everyone", we gently encourage them to just do it one more time, using the method we described above. And it happens every time -- they realize that the forgiveness they thought they had extended to those who have hurt them didn't complete the process. Very often tears are shed as the fullness of the wound that led to the unforgiveness is exposed, perhaps for the first time. And when they are able to reveal all the ways that they were hurt and how it made them feel, and then see themselves releasing that person to Jesus to tend to, they are finally free of all the residual pain that surrounded the unforgiveness they were still carrying.
     And then we explain that this is a spiritual exercise that will most likely need to be repeated in the future. We explain that for the last 20 or 30 or 40 years, the devil has reminded them of that hurt and pain whenever he was able to bring that person to their mind. But now they know how to defeat that plan to steal and destroy their peace and joy. And they shouldn't be surprised the Enemy tries the same tactics again; it's worked so many times in the past. Plus they need to remember what the Lord tells Peter in Matthew 18:20-22 ... Peter asks Him, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, "Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven!!" That offense can keep happening even if the person is not present by the Enemy simply whispering their name or reminding you of what they did.
     I love how the writer of Hebrews, in Chapter Nine, ties all this together; how it helps us to understand that if we are unable to forgive, we are essentially denying Christ one of the most important consequences of going to the Cross. The writer carefully explains that under the Old Covenant, the shedding of blood was necessary to purify everything -- the people, the tent, even the vessels used for worship. He says, "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."  Can you see why Jesus's blood had to be shed on the Cross for us to be forgiven?

     He goes on to explain that the blood sacrifices instituted by Moses were a copy of the sacrifice in Heaven, which was a better model. The writer says, "For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
     So, can you see that when we think we've forgiven someone, but the Enemy is still able to stir up old feelings of pain at just the thought of that person, we are in essence, asking Christ to be crucified again in order for us to be forgiven of our unforgiveness? Christ wants to take that pain and unforgiveness away once for all, and deny the devil one of his most potent weapons for keeping us in bondage. And I can personally attest to the fact that Jesus has often asked me to give Him what He died for. It's a sober reminder that my unforgiveness is not for me to harbor or accommodate. He paid a great price -- He shed His precious blood, as required, so that I could receive forgiveness for my own sins. How can I even think of hanging on to unforgiveness against another? Take it from me, and all those who have received the peace of Christ at our table, when you are able to release that pain of unforgiveness to Jesus, a weight is lifted and you experience freedom from the chains that have bound you. We praise You, Lord Jesus! You give us life, and give it abundantly!

Ephesians 1:7    "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace."   

September 19, 2019

The Pain Called Suicide

     It is heartbreaking to read of the deaths by suicide of such young pastors like Jarrid Wilson and Andrew Stoecklein. Suicide is such a complex issue and it is hard for the Christian community to understand how such vibrant men of God could take their own lives.
     Both suffered from depression and anxiety, and it is too easy to label these spiritual roots as "mental illness" and "a disease". I want to be sure you understand that I do not speak as a medical or psychological expert. I have no degree that gives me secular authority to speak on the subject. I can only share my experience as a follower of Christ who continues my Lord's commission to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, and release the prisoners from their darkness.
     Yes, I believe that suicide is an attack upon the mind of people, both believers and non-believers. But through the ministry that we've been called to, my husband and I know that the mind is a battlefield and the Father of Lies can cause so much pain with his false whispers. And, yes, we've been instructed to keep our helmet of salvation tight upon our heads to protect our minds, but the Bible tells us that the Enemy is cunning; he is a murderer from the beginning, and that he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I lay suicide at the feet of the one who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
     I will tell you that Mark and I have encountered suicide in our ministry and it nearly devastated us. In respect for this individual and his family, I will not mention his name or details, but I will tell you this... just like Jarrid Wilson and Andrew Stoecklein, this young man deeply loved the Lord. And as I sat with him during a session a couple of months before his death, I was overwhelmed with the spiritual sense of how much Jesus loved him! He was one of the most loving and beautiful human beings I've ever met, and I was only in his physical presence once. But he was believing a lie from the pit of hell.  His pain came from the fear that Jesus would be unable to forgive him, and that spirit of fear led to spirits of anxiety and stress, and perhaps even self-hatred. But I knew Jesus loved him! We tortured ourselves with thoughts that if we could only have been better at helping him to believe that Christ's love was for him, too, maybe he would still be here.
    But we quickly understood that the Enemy was lying to us, as well, and if he could get us to stop trying to set the captives free from his lies, then maybe we would stop our ministry. No way, Satan! If anything, we would pursue freedom for others even harder, in honor of our young friend. Because, I believe the Holy Spirit showed me that Jesus was right there with him, as the Enemy roared in his mind, and our Lord told him it was time for the torment to stop and it was okay to come home. I am not saying that Jesus agreed to his suicide. But I believe that Jesus was there with him when he capitulated to the Enemy's continued torment. And yes, I am one who does not believe that suicide leads to hell. Depression is a physical manifestation of spiritual attacks caused by fear, self-hatred and guilt. 
     One of the things that helped Mark and I to heal from the pain of suicide was the information we gleaned from Dr. Henry Wright's book, A More Excellent Way; Be In Health. Dr. Wright is the Senior Pastor of Hope of the Generations Church in Thomaston, Georgia. Dr. Wright has dedicated his life to God and helping others find the spiritual roots to disease so they can live in wholeness. He holds a doctorate of Christian Therapeutic Counseling from Chesapeake Bible College in Ridgely, Maryland. This is what he writes about Depression:

     "You need to know what the medical community is not telling you ... Your homeostasis (equilibrium in the body with respect to various functions and chemical composition of fluids and tissues) is controlled by the release of various hormones. You are very chemical in your creation. You are very nuclear, you are very sexual, you are very spiritual, but you are also very chemical. You have a number of organs and glands, particularly in the endocrine system, which secrete a particular chemical. It goes like this: a squirt here, a squirt there, here a squirt, there a squirt, squirt, squirt, everywhere a squirt, squirt.
     And your Enemy knows he can control the rate of your squirts by your thoughts and by your soul and by your spirit. Your Enemy knows things like bitterness and guilt and fear, if allowed to remain within your consciousness, can be used to control you. When your spiritual dynamics are compromised by the Enemy in a manner in which he can control your body and your chemistry, then he can put depression or any other psychological or biological malfunction on you when he feels like it.
    He can do this because depression, by definition, is no more and no less than a chemical imbalance in the body induced externally or internally. Your Enemy knows that if he can get you "unspiritual" and he can manipulate you in areas of lack of sanctification, then he can control your very thought process.
     And when Satan can control your thought process, he can also control your chemistry. When you have serotonin deficiencies, you do not feel good about yourself because there is a deficiency of the chemical God created in you to make you feel good chemically. For every thought you have, conscious or unconscious, there is a nerve transmission, a secretion of a hormone or neurotransmitter somewhere in your body to react to it.
     When you start listening to fear, you start listening to self-hatred, you start listening to guilt, you start listening to rejection, and then your body secretes chemicals in response to those spiritual attacks that are counterproductive to your peace. Your Enemy knows this very well. But you do not have to be a victim nor do you have to be ignorant nor do you have to die of a disease and go to heaven to find out why you died."

     This is just a portion of Dr. Wright's book and I would recommend that if you desire to know more about the spiritual roots of many physical illnesses, then this book is for you. Of course, I do not claim to know the personal issues that both of these well-loved young pastors faced. But I believe that Dr. Wright's discernment on the spiritual roots that lead to suicide have a lot of credibility. And I know that Jarrid Wilson's wife is absolutely correct when she says she knows her husband is in HIS Presence! Jesus's death on the Cross pays for all of our sins... all of our sins. So, my heart goes out to anyone who has suffered the pain of losing a loved one to suicide. We don't always get all the answers to what drives someone to that decision, but we can know that our Lord, full of compassion and mercy, cancels all our sins as He reconciles us to God, the Father. This is the beauty of Mercy triumphing over Judgment. 

Romans 8:38-39      So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles,  fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!

November 14, 2018

The Power Of The Spoken Word To Bring Inner Healing

     I have to share the amazing works of my Lord Jesus! First of all, He never ceases to surprise me with how He makes His presence known in ways I'm not expecting. In addition, He will bring forth concepts from those encounters that I had never before considered. And He did all that this weekend.
     Mark and I were blessed to be invited to speak before a small group of Evangelical Millennials who were interested in learning more about our Inner Healing and Deliverance Ministry.  All I knew was that they were involved in something similar to "Street Ministry" in which they canvassed their neighborhoods and apartment buildings, sharing the Gospel Message. I assumed they wanted to know how to incorporate Deliverance into that short amount of time they would have the opportunity to speak to people on the street.
     So, as in our more formal sessions of Deliverance, we always begin with the issue of Forgiveness. We explained to the group that unforgiveness is the single most powerful weapon the Enemy has to keep us in bondage. In fact, when people come to our Table of Healing, we often find they can't explain the feelings of depression or heaviness that keeps them from feeling the joy of the Lord. The first question we ask is, "Who are you angry at", followed by "What do you need to forgive them for"?
     We then employ an exercise that has profound effects on breaking those chains of bondage that keep people tied up in anger and unforgiveness. We have them recite [out loud] the following: Father God, I forgive ________ for _________.  It made me feel _________. Father, I release him/her/them to You, covered by the blood of the Lamb. It may sound too simple but we explain that the act of saying this out loud and releasing the person(s) who have wounded their soul and/or spirit has a profound effect in the spiritual realms. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that words have the power to give death or life, and the person who speaks will bear the fruit of those words, whether good or bad. When we are able to forgive someone who has deeply wounded us, and state the act and how it affected us, the power of that wound is mitigated because it is no longer held in secret for the Enemy to use against us. Both the Beloved and the Enemy sees the persecutor released to God [covered by the blood of Jesus]. Then the wound can no longer fester in darkness, but has been exposed to the Light of Jesus, which heals all things.
     So I introduced that simple exercise as a "quick and easy" way to bring healing to someone they were evangelizing to, at the same time stressing that it is extremely effective and profitable for the Beloved. I soon realized that this group wanted and needed more information on the whole process of Deliverance and its Biblical foundation. So Mark and I expanded our testimony and training to the group. What we didn't know was that one of the young people had quietly got up and left the room. The spiritual leader of the group got up to minister to him, and actually used the Forgiveness exercise. When they rejoined the group, they gave their own testimony of what happened... At first, the young person didn't want to say the words out loud. The wound was so deep that they just wanted to write the name of the person and the hurtful acts -- not speak them out loud. But the leader encouraged the spoken word and it was truly liberating! He testified [with a face that beamed pure joy] that Jesus had truly set him free!
     And that's really the point I want to make with this blog post. Being able to confess the name of someone who has hurt you, what happened to you, and how it made you feel takes away the power of the Enemy to continue to lie to you about who you are. Releasing all that pain to the Lord cuts those bonds to sins of anger and unforgiveness, and Jesus takes it all away and covers it with His blood.
     As I meditated upon the grace of Jesus to allow this group to witness the power of forgiveness in their midst, the Lord broadened my understanding of why the spoken words of Forgiveness are so important. He showed me that when we are able to speak Forgiveness out loud, it is recorded in our Book of Life in Heaven. So when the Accuser comes before the Court of Heaven to accuse us of unrighteousness and unforgiveness (which we walked in [in silence] all the years we harbored it), there is evidence before the Lord that our Accuser is giving false witness.
     Now, I may not be able to show you Chapter and Verse where the Bible states this concept in precise terms, but I can tell you that I see enough of the shadow of this theory in Scripture to call it real. In Daniel 7:9-10, the prophet is given a vision and he tells us that he saw thrones put in place in Heaven, and the Ancient One sat down to judge. Millions of angels ministered to Him, and millions stood to attend to Him. Then the court began its session, and the books were opened. There is little in Scripture to tell us exactly what was written in those books, but perhaps we can see a parallel "on earth as it is in heaven". Consider the books of I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles. There we find the acts and deeds recorded [both good and bad] of the Kings of Judah and Israel. In fact, 1 Kings 11:41 says, "The rest of the events in Solomon’s reign, including all his deeds and his wisdom, are recorded in The Book of the Acts of Solomon".
     But there is a particular verse in Malachi that I discern gives credence to what the Lord recently showed me. Verse 3:16 reads, "Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name".  When we participate with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a Deliverance/Inner Healing session, we are most certainly people who fear the Lord and we are speaking with one another, confessing forgiveness and reconciliation, and being healed in the process. And I know that the Lord pays attention and hears us, because I have witnessed the consequences of those actions, and it is called spiritual freedom! And I do believe that our faith and reverence for the power of Jesus "to forgive our trespasses and to forgive those who trespass against us" is recorded in Heaven as witness to our esteem for His name, and as a challenge to Satan's charges against us. 
     Our obedience to forgive, and then announce it so that the spirit realm hears, causes our testimony to be recorded and preserved in the books of heaven, whether it be the Book of Remembrance in Malachi or the Lamb's Book of Life in Revelation. In the end, I cannot really explain the spiritual mechanics of why it works ... I just know it does! 

2 Corinthians 4:13   Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had, who wrote in Scripture, “I believed, therefore I spoke.” We also believe, therefore we also speak.." 

October 6, 2018

John 20:21-23 ... The Authority to Forgive Sins

     My husband and I will be traveling for the next couple of weeks, and it will be difficult for me to get an internet signal to upload new posts for you. So I have decided to take a look at several Scriptural passages that I have talked about before and present them to you again. I have chosen those I feel are the most relevant to us leading our lives in Spirit and Truth. 
     Repeating the Word is never a bad idea, and these particular passages are speaking to my spirit, even as I see them particularly appropriate for some issues my fellow Christians are dealing with today. So even though I may not be writing in a current time-frame, I think you will still find value in what the Bible speaks to us through these powerful words. So, if this is the first time you've read this post, or the second, I pray it will bless you.

Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives]. And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].

     This is an interesting passage, whereby the risen Jesus is appearing to the Apostles, who are hiding out in an undisclosed room in Jerusalem, fearing retribution from the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman government because of their association with the crucified Christ.  Although they had spent nearly three years with Him, and Jesus had tried to prepare them for this time, you can imagine their confusion, dashed hopes, and fear of what the future might mean for them.
     But in these verses, Jesus appears to them to calm them, bring them peace, and remind them of their mission to co-labor with Him on behalf of the Kingdom of God.  He then breathed the Holy Spirit on them, and gave them a very important and precious gift: the authority to forgive sins.
     I know that is a foreign idea to us 21st Century Christians, and it certainly is not taught in the Church as a matter of our authority.  And I can hear the naysayers now ... Where do you get the idea that we have the authority to forgive sins? Isn't God the only One who can forgive us our sins? That second question sounds exactly like the Pharisees in Mark, Chapter 2, who, upon hearing Jesus tell the paralytic that his sins were forgiven, asked, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” I am sure there are some within the Body of Christ who would assign the same doubt to my statement that we can forgive sins. But let me see if I can explain my understanding of these verses in John...
     It is very important that we have a clear understanding when it comes to the dynamics of the relationship between the Father, the Son, and us.  Over and over, Jesus declares in the Bible. I only do what the Father tells Me ... I only do what pleases the Father ... I only do what I see the Father doing ... I only say what I hear the Father saying ... If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father.  Therefore, Jesus is an exact representation of the Father.  And here, in John 20, He is telling the apostles, Now, you're MY representatives; meaning by extension, they are representing the Father, too, just as Jesus did.  Furthermore, Jesus tells the Apostles that all authority on Heaven and earth has been given to Him and their Commission is now to teach all the nations what He has taught and commanded them to do -- i.e., we now represent Jesus!
     But there is another aspect of our relationship with Christ and how we represent Him.  In 1 Peter 2:9, the Bible calls us a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and power] of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Remember, God instituted the priesthood in the Old Testament as the means by which His chosen people could be forgiven their sins.  The priests served a particularly important function in the sacrificial system that brought the sins of the Israelites before God to be forgiven.  But in the New Testament, Jesus became our High Priest and the ultimate, once-for-all sacrifice, so that system is no longer needed.  However, as it is revealed in 1 Peter 2 and Revelation 5,  we are to still serve God as priests of His Kingdom, bringing people "out of darkness and into His marvelous Light (Jesus)".
     That is what I believe Jesus is telling us here in John 20... He is our High Priest, and as His representatives here on earth, we serve the Father's Kingdom as His priests.  So how does that work, and what are our duties as priests?  Have you ever known someone who has given their life to Christ, and declared Him their Savior, yet cannot seem to receive His forgiveness of their sins, even after they have confessed and repented?  Even though their salvation is certain, there is some area of their life that satan still holds in bondage, and they are mired in self-condemnation? 
     Even though the Bible tells us that Jesus has forgotten their sins, as far as the east is from the west, they still feel He is distant and they don't feel forgiven.  I believe John 20:23 declares our position as the royal priesthood and Jesus is giving us permission to declare to that tortured Christian that if they have faith, their sins are forgiven.  On the other hand, we must take our holy priesthood very seriously (as the representative of Christ), and when it is clear that a sinful lifestyle has not been confessed or repented for, and Jesus has been rejected, then we have no authority or duty to forgive anyone's sin.  Very simply, for me, John 20:21-23 is Jesus defining a priestly duty, and since we are called to be a royal priesthood of God's Kingdom on earth, it is part of our allegiance to our High Priest.  
     But, here's the thing ... the powerless Church, today, is all too eager to call themselves priests of the Kingdom, but only in the sense of a noun, and not as a verb -- meaning there is an obligation to act out our identities as priests, (and representatives of our High Priest) and to be willing to take the sins of a fellow Christian and wash them in the blood of Jesus, pronouncing those sins forgiven.  If that sounds anti-Biblical, think on this.... Are we not in Christ, and Christ in us?  Did He not take all sin upon Himself, and by His Blood we are forgiven and healed?  If Christ is in us, we can take those sins and present them to Him, being confident of His mercy and grace upon all who believe in Him.
     Personally, in our deliverance ministry, my husband and I have often reminded someone being oppressed by spirits of unworthiness, inadequacy, self-condemnation, shame, or guilt that their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and their confession of their sins allows us, as His representative, to speak Jesus's forgiveness into their life.  In that, we serve both our God and our fellow man.  That's why God sent Jesus, and that's why He sends us.  

Current Note: This Scripture has particular significance to me today because my heart is broken for the number of marriages that I see the Enemy attacking. I truly believe this Scripture is telling us that forgiveness is the key to the restoration of relationships, and this is especially important when it comes to the restoration of a marriage. If you are unable to forgive your spouse, then I think it is important that you remit their sins to Christ -- hand them over [or release] the sins to Jesus and let Him deal with them. You have a choice -- forgiveness or remittance. Either way, unforgiveness will not be a stumbling block to you.