Posts Tagged ‘Isolation’

The Garment of Praise

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

The answer against a “spirit of heaviness” is to put on the ”garment of praise.”

Satan hates praise:

Praise exalts Jesus no matter what the circumstances may look like. It engages our trust in God and activates our faith like nothing else can do. You see, praise introduces light and supernatural life into our circumstances. It is the ultimate release of spiritual freedom. Just listen to the following verses and let something click inside.

(2 Cor 3:17) “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

(Gal 5:1) ” Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

(Jn 8:36) ” Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Praise is Agreement with God!

Praising the Lord and agreement with the truth of God’s Word, renews the mind and lifts the spirit of heaviness off your shoulders. Notice the Prophet Isaiah says that your life is designed to reflect your calling as “trees of righteousness”. Its your destiny to become the “planting of the Lord”. As you praise Him daily, you will release the stature of Christ within you… “that He may be glorified”, seen and celebrated as your Deliverer! Nothing so clearly displays the power of God like our freedom in the spirit.

The Effect of a Spirit of Heaviness:

It darkens our countenance. Our hearts are down cast. This spirit brings a “heaviness” over us and dims our vision, robs our hope and crushes our sense of purpose. There are testimonies I’ve heard from people who say “when this spirit comes it even makes the room feel darker”. It brings a heavy and oppressive atmosphere that restricts and quenches our perception. It may come like a cloud hanging over you or your location, but the most difficult part to deal with is that it causes isolation. The devil’s goal is to remove you from the atmosphere of love and approval. Think about it, if Satan can get you isolated, then he can break your spirit and remove your source of inspiration and hope.

Recognize it:

This is the first step. You are a Child of God! This is not God’s will for you!  “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Don’t believe the lies… Praise God instead! Accept no criticism and carry no extra baggage. You must learn the art of selective hearing, so that you choose the things you ignore and the things that come from the Throne of Heaven. We destroy arguments and pull down strongholds, so that every thought is made captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). That means I am actively discerning where my thoughts are coming from and believe me… I can rule over them with praise!

Put on the Garment of Praise!

This literally means to be “wrapped up in praise”. God has given it to be worn and provide insulation. So put it on like a jacket every single day. Take a few moments each morning and every time there is a battle raging, to put it on like armor on a soldier. You will watch your enemy run for cover with his tail between his legs… like a whipped puppy. That’s right, praise is your most effective tool in magnifying God and shrinking the influence of the devil. Get loud, get aggressive and set your heart on spiritual freedom!

It is the anointing that breaks the yoke! (Isa 10:27)

No Open Doors

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” (Eph. 5:8-21)

The Apostle Paul says, “… give no place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27)

As believers in Christ, we must leave no open doors for Satan to have access to our lives! In essence the Apostle Paul is saying, “Don’t give an inch, or the devil will take it all!” We must learn to hold our ground and leave no room for evil. When a person is being harassed by the devil, I believe there is always a reason… its a dominion issue!

Give No “Place”:

Here is an insight I find helpful: the Greek word for ‘place’ – means a legal foothold; an opportunity; a legal right to enter and occupy. Demonic influence comes to occupy unguarded places in our heart and mind. By using spiritual “gateways”, or giving “place” to the devil; we are allowing darkness to have influence in our lives. When we allow darkness to have a voice, we are foolishly beginning to embrace twisted perceptions of reality. The devil’s strategy is simple… he wants to steal, kill and destroy (Jn. 10:9). Evil spirits look for ‘gateways’ to enter and begin to control parts of our life (Jn. 13:27). No matter how the access comes, the goal is to convince the person to walk in spiritual darkness, shame and isolation. The devil’s strategy is for the oppression or “works” to lead us into bondage and corruption. That is why Jesus was manifest on the Earth… to expose and destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8). God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power, to restore the sick and troubled people within His reach; by breaking the oppression of the devil (Acts 10:38).

3 Powerful Ways to Shut Open Doors:

1st) Walk as Children of Light!

Recognize whose you are (1 Cor. 3:16)… and walk daily with an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s closeness and the Father’s love covering you. The atmosphere of God’s Presence is permeated with goodness, righteousness and truth. His desire for you is that you live in the Light, walking as Children that have an increasing revelation of God’s hand upon them.

2nd) Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness!

Break the covenant of agreement with unrighteousness. Darkness is a “kingdom” with governing principles, requirements and evil intentions. Its not who you are any longer (Col. 1:13-14)… so begin the New Life (2 Cor. 5:17). Find out what pleases God and enjoy the experience of knowing the Creator of the Universe. This relationship has the potential of satisfying every need of your life and offering you purpose beyond all imagination (Eph. 3:20). The works of darkness offer nothing… they are unfruitful, dead and corrupt.

3rd) Stay filled with the Holy Spirit!

Have some encounters with God. Live under the influence of the Holy Spirit at all times… singing, speaking and submitting to one another in the fear of God. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). So live like a believing – Believer… keep the songs of the Lord and the worship of Jesus in your heart and mouth. People will recognize your passion… and better yet – you will become a threat to the kingdom of darkness.

Truth & Freedom

“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” (Mt. 10:7-8)

This may go against some of our religious sensibilities, but Jesus told us to do more than just agree with the Gospel of the Kingdom. He declares the necessity of advancement… healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the leper and driving out demons. Jesus was promoting a spiritual revolution! The Kingdom of Heaven was designed to be a movement with forward progress. It was to carry a spiritual authority that displaced the ruling dominion and release God’s reign of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit… for all who would receive it. If somebody was in need, Jesus had an answer that would shake the enemy’s hold… by confronting the dominion of darkness head on.

The Apostle Paul said, “…nor give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27)

In essence the Apostle Paul is saying, “Don’t give an inch, or he will take it all!” We must learn to hold our ground. When a person is being harassed by the devil, I believe there is always a reason… its a dominion issue! Here is an insight I find helpful: the Greek word for ‘place’ – is a legal foothold; an opportunity; a legal right to enter and occupy. Demonic influence comes to occupy unguarded places in our heart and mind. By using spiritual “gateways”, or giving “place” to the devil; we are allowing darkness to have influence in our lives. When we allow darkness to have a voice, we are foolishly beginning to embrace twisted perceptions of reality. The devil’s strategy is simple… he wants to steal, kill and destroy (Jn. 10:9). Evil spirits look for ‘gateways’ to enter and begin to control parts of our life (Jn. 13:27). No matter how the access comes, the goal is to convince the person to walk in spiritual darkness, shame and isolation. The devil’s strategy is for the oppression or “works” to lead us into bondage and corruption. That is why Jesus was manifest on the Earth… to expose and destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8).

Freedom:

Lasting freedom can only take place if the Kingdom of Heaven draws near and darkness is displaced. The gates must be identified and closed. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, to identify and reveal personal issues that expose these gateways in our lives.

  • Jesus truly is the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6)…
  • And when the Son sets free you are free indeed (Jn. 8:36)…

Its God’s Way, Truth and Spiritual Life that Frees the Oppressed:

What we fail to recognize sometimes is that the devil has blinded our eyes to the truth and clouded our judgment of reality (2 Cor. 4:4). To know Christ and abide in Truth… is to find the freedom of heaven’s “Family” order. Its a freedom that cannot be achieved any other way. The Holy Spirit brings us into sonship… its the Spirit of Adoption (Rom. 8:15) and it offers transformation by breaking the hold of Satan on the human mind and spirit. When we come to know who He is and who He has declared us to be… we are confronted by the Truth and those lies of our heart are made visible. You see, the Truth is reality from God’s perspective! Therefore, when we see Christ for who He is, a vale is lifted from our hearts and we are given the choice to embrace what is real, as apposed to lies (Rom. 1:24-27).

When the veil is lifted… truth & freedom are a wonderful bridge!

Oppressed by Demons

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

Demons work hard to deceive and bring all kinds of oppression into our lives. Satan acts like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8), because he knows the impact of a fully equipped Child of God (Jn. 10:9-10)(Eph. 6:10-12). Remind yourself that life is a wrestling match and there is power available in Christ to overcome him… the oppressor! Contemplate some of the following ways in which you have found yourself in the midst of battle…

  • Accusation: To be plagued with unworthiness and guilty feelings
  • Affliction: To inflict something hard to endure
  • Fearful Expectations: To consistently assume the worse outcomes
  • Harassment: To annoy or wear us out by frequent attacks
  • Influence: To exercise power over us to affect our mood
  • Opposition: To resist or hinder seemingly simple tasks
  • Torment: To cause severe suffering of body or mind
  • Torture: To punish or coerce by inflicting excruciating pain
  • Unbelief: To create deceptive and unreasonable doubts
  • Worry: To disturb or destroy our peace by persistent torment

How Does Satan Oppress:

The question arises whether or not demons know our thoughts. Are demons able to read our minds? The answer seems to be that if the demons are “inside” a person that they can, but they cannot if they are on the “outside”. For most of us, we fight the battles of his oppressing, tormenting or accusing lies and threats. It seems obvious that demons do find ways to plant thoughts in our minds, so they must know what we are thinking by observing our behavior! They study us and attack our weakness, confusion and failures.

I believe the first goal demons have, is to prevent us from receiving forgiveness and salvation in Christ. If that fails, they work at preventing Christian maturity. They try to shut us down and make us ineffective. Their chief strategy is to try to get people to turn away from God. They do this through many forms of oppression such as temptation, shame and isolation. Any way they can challenge God and His Word, they will fight for control over our hope and faith. Demons lie to us and work hard to get us lying to ourselves! Remember the devil is a thief, looking for easy access to unguarded treasures!

Another form of harassment is accusation and criticism. Demons will interject condemning thoughts into the minds of anyone who is willing to listen. They particularly like to stir up the past with thoughts of, “You really should have…” or “If only you had done… (whatever) differently”. Demons are on a “seek and destroy” mission. They can “gang up” on us to undermine our sense of reality and control our behaviors. They take advantage of our “blind spots”, and they love it when we are physically or emotionally weary… it makes us vulnerable to defeat. They attempt to affect every area of life: spirit, soul, and body. They don’t play fair, in fact they don’t play at all! They will kill us if we allow it!

But Jesus Heals… The Oppressed!

“Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” (Mt. 12:22)

And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed“. But He answered her not a word… Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs”. And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table”. Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire”. And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Mt. 15:22-28)

Healing & Deliverance:

The word healed means to be made whole or cured of something. When Jesus healed those with unclean spirits, He was making them whole and restoring them by removing those unclean spirits. By “casting out” the unclean spirit deliverance was achieved and freedom allowed the person to regain their sense of balance and reason! What Jesus was dealing with was spiritual blindness caused by a demonic stronghold in the mind. The Biblical idea of an “unclean” spirit is simply to identify what that spirit does to the human soul… it pollutes and defiles the thinking process so that the person looses control of their ability to reason. When a person is oppressed by the devil, they will often be confused and disoriented… “blind” to the realities right in front of them. Jesus would heal the oppression, by casting out the unclean spirit and speaking the Truth of His Father’s love (Jn. 15:9)! He would say things like, “The Father loves Me, and in the very same way the Father loves Me, I have loved you… therefore, abide in My love.”

Jesus was the Truth in human flesh and He carried the authority that challenged every lie that stood in opposition to reality from God’s perspective. Notice that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit and went about healing the oppressed. The beauty of His ministry was that He brought the Kingdom message… with Kingdom power and authority. The Good News is that no power on Earth or demons of hell can stand against the revelation of Truth as anointed by the Holy Spirit. Today, it is not normal to be unable to process your thoughts. Its not God’s will for anyone to feel confused and oppressed by the devil! But for healing and deliverance to bring freedom… we must allow the Truth to break in, anointed by the Holy Spirit; and set our minds free from spiritual blindness!

Jesus’ words: “These things I have spoken to you (and over you) while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (Jn. 14:25-26)

One Body in Christ

“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (Rom. 12:4-5)

Three important Truths are emphasized in the Apostle Paul”s use of the “body” analogy in explaining the Church. Simple as it may sound, there is and always will be a need to remind ourselves that there are no super- Christians and no professionals in the family of God. God is a Father and expects us to recognize that He knows what is best for His Children. I hope you can hear the “Fathering” voice of God flowing through the Apostle Paul’s words.

1) No Lone Rangers: 

No individual Christian can function effectively in isolation and sustain any longterm victories for God. The Church’s highest goal is to embrace the value of standing with one another… as One Body in Christ. Our calling is the advancement of Christ’s victory in the world. Just as there are many parts of the human body and the individual parts enable the effective performance of that body, so we are part of the body of Christ. And His ongoing power is made most effective when we stand with each other. Its true, we are many individual members, but each member is important! We are tied together in our offensive posture in proclaiming the Gospel and defensive posture of protecting the weak… ”members of one another”. No member of Christ’s body can battle against our adversary alone and win. We lock arms and lift the burdens together. The devil is a fierce and cunning warrior. His demonic host of wickedness are accustom to the spiritual realm and understand invisible realities that are difficult for us to maneuver. The Church of Jesus Christ is an army that can only function as one dynamic, faith filled unit, when interdependant and coordinated as one in Christ Jesus.

2) Humility Matters:

No member of Christ’s Body should feel more important than any other member. No Christian has exclusive rights to God’s grace nor can any single member move without an effect on the rest of the body. This, perhaps, is one of the Apostle Paul’s major teachings in the passages dealing with the body function.

Some of the Corinthians were saying, “I don’t need you” and/or “I’m more important than you” and Paul made it clear that humility must be at the center of their attitudes. In a parallel passage in his Romans letter (Rom. 12:3) Paul says “…don’t think of yourselves more highly than you ought”. He also wrote, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). These are powerful exhortations considering the explosive nature of the Kingdom at this time in history.

Why did Paul emphasize humility, gentleness, and patience in these passages? Because, attitudes define altitude in the Kingdom of God. As he went on to say, “There is one body and one Spirit”  (Eph. 4:4). This is essential when we understand, we get our source of life and revelation of God from the Holy Spirit! He said to the Corinthians; “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). These are powerful realities that make the focus of our faith produce real impact. Though one person may have a more public position, in God’s sight even the person who may go unknown and unnoticed, is just as important and necessary to the body (1 Cor. 12:22-23).

3) Unity Releases Blessing:

Every Christian should work hard at creating unity and aligning their hearts to one another in the Body of Christ. Just listen to these words of the Apostle Paul:

  • “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Cor. 1:10)
  • “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of Peace.” (Eph. 4:3)
  • “…let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Rom. 14:19).

The Apostle Paul was exhorting these Believers to do everything they could to “build one another up”. The atmosphere of mutual edification is the anointed place where God commands blessing and favor (Ps. 133). We want impact and we long for God’s voice to carry weight in the culture… well, this is how we do it! Unity is an awesome platform that establishes the authority of God and produces supernatural influence in the world around us.

“For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:20) 

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