Posts Tagged ‘spiritual freedom’

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)

Healing & Deliverance

…a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at His (Jesus) feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
“First let the children eat all they want,” He told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
Then He told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. (Mark 7:25-30)

She was expected her daughter to experience freedom… and she was not walking away without a word!
So many wonderful accounts of faith in action, desperate and unrelenting. Did you catch what Jesus said about freedom from demons? He referred to spiritual freedom as the “children’s bread”. In other words, deliverance is the rightful, normal, expected substance of the Children of God. It’s their inheritance!

Deliverance is our Inheritance:

I have found that many Christians are really not sure if deliverance belongs to them through God’s redemptive plan of salvation. This uncertainty is always an open door for the enemy to sow confusion. Its a breeding ground for fear, doubt and unbelief. As believers, we need to have our feet planted upon solid ground, knowing with certainty all that belongs to us, so that we can apply the Word of God in any given situation and receive the promised benefit.

The Promise is for the Child of God:

Where do you stand? Are you a Child of God? Have you asked Jesus to become Lord of your life? If you answered yes, then the deliverance you need is yours today… right now, in this very moment. Just as it was then, it is still the Children’s bread today.

Biblical Faith:

True Bible faith can only act where the will of God is known. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17). That’s why we have the Bible, so we can know His will in written form and act upon it daily for the sustaining Bread of Life. Jesus makes this truth very clear when He stood before Satan and said “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4) Drawing upon what has been written and living by what we know to be the Will of God is the pattern of faith.

Revelation Activates Faith:

This woman had a revelation that Jesus was the Messiah, that He was not only able to deliver, but that He was willing to do so right then. Based on that understanding, she was not going to let Jesus pass her by. She had bold faith that was based upon knowledge and she acted on it. In one sense she was saying – “I know the truth and I will not be denied!” Her desperation was turned into boldness simply because she had a revelation.

Hesitation Exposes:

Most people would have looked at their own inadequacy, their own unrighteousness, their own shortcomings and would have been stopped right there – but not her. She was not stopped by her lack, instead she was moved by His supply. She got her eyes off of herself and onto the Author of Life!

If it matters to us… It matters to God!

There’s no mistaking the fact that it was her faith that stopped Jesus in His tracks. It was her faith that pulled Him into her desperate situation. Faith that knew of God’s will to deliver, would call her to the feet of Jesus. Faith is what makes the heart posture itself against impossible odds and dare to believe in the power of “crumbs”. Faith makes all the difference and moves a person past the obstacles. She may have been a “little dog” in the eyes of the world, but she understood herself to be in line for God’s love to touch her daughter. If it matters to us, it matters to God… Its faith that makes this true!

Set Free By Christ!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Gal. 2:20-21)

Almost all denominations of Christianity have valued portions of the Laws of Moses (Mosaic Covenant) and added them to the New Covenant established by Christ. Without being aware of it, this has made most Christians guilty of the whole Mosaic Law… which says it all must be kept. At the same time, there becomes a growing hypocrisy in our understanding of the New Covenant. We teach about grace, and want the guidance of the Holy Spirit; but keep mixing it with Laws that no longer serve the same purpose for the Christian Believer as they did for the Jew. This is not to say that we cannot learn many wonderful truths from the Mosaic Law. We are just no longer bound relationally with God through that “spiritual agreement”. We are in covenant relationship with God through a New Covenant ratified by Jesus Christ, not by Moses!

The Issue is Spiritual Freedom:

The fact that most churches have not understood this vital point, has caused us to loose sight of ”grace through faith” and minimize the very power of the New Covenant itself. Most denominations have become very good at mixing the Old Covenant instituted by Moses with the New Covenant. They have forgotten that the Old Covenant has become obsolete while the New Covenant is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It is our freedom. The problem is that there are consequences to stepping away from grace… a loss of freedom.

The Issue of Life or Death:

It all has to do with what you “behold” or set as your standard of relational truth! One covenant brought death (and always will); the other brings Life (Rom. 8:2). If you believe any of the Old Covenant is still binding to a believer in Christ, then it will become the basis of your perception of obedience. We must, however; read what the Apostle Paul has to say about the cornerstone of the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandments (2 Cor 3:4-18). The central goal of the Old Covenant is to behold our sin and make sacrifices according to how we have fallen from glory (Rom. 3:23), but the goal of the New Covenant is to behold the Glory of God as it reveals itself in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6) and is manifesting itself in our personal transformation (2 Cor 3:17-18). We are moving from one level of glory to another level of glory by the Spirit of the Lord… its our freedom in Christ.

Again… “We are moving from one level of glory to another level of glory by the Spirit of the Lord.” That’s our freedom in Christ!

How Jesus has Set Us Free:

The Holy Spirit is changing us… and it effects our behavior, our attitudes and our giving. Yet, to live under the law of obligation (like the tithe or circumcision) actually releases two deceptive realities… shame or pride. Both of these problems are “religious spirits” that aim to rule our behavior and limit our relationship with the Lord Jesus and those in the Body of Christ. When we find ourselves unable to live up to the standards set by those more mature than us, it releases a false sense of guilt, shame and condemnation. When we live according to some arbitrary religious standard and find ourselves successful without the need of faith, we become vulnerable to personal pride and boasting.

Jesus came to do away with the “measurements” on all levels and substitute His life for any standard – perceived or real… we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). He became our standard bearer so that we could walk in freedom, being led by the Holy Spirit and feeling the joy of a living relationship with the Father. Its a freedom to live, grow and serve as God would have us serve. Its not a license to sin any longer, but a freedom to live by faith and relationship with Christ, through the Holy Spirit… and where the Spirit of the Lord is – there is liberty!

Whom the Son sets free – is free indeed! (Jn. 8:36)

Humble Flesh

Scripture: “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish… And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16-26)

Thought for Today: “Humbling the Flesh”

The Bible seems to emphasize the idea that man was created by God with three parts (1 Thess 5:23) spirit, soul and body. The spirit or inner-man is where the Holy Spirit makes its dwelling. The soul or outer-man, consists of our mind, will and emotion and is where man processes natural realities and makes decisions. The body, called the carnal man or “flesh” is the visible part. It responds to our five senses; taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, and becomes the means of expression… activity.

Sanctification:

Now in order for us to understand the value of spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, we must first recognize the broken state of our human condition. Sin separates us from God and causes us to rely upon natural sight and human reasoning. The point of spiritual discipline is to restore our connection to the voice of God by separating our spirit, soul and body from sinful behaviors, habits or thought patterns that are in opposition to the will of God.

Restoring the Connection:

Its like removing the insulation from an electrical wire so that a connection can be made between a power source (God) and an appliance (activity). This process of removing the insulating barrier is what the Apostle Paul called sanctification. He felt the struggle we all have with sin and taught about dying to self, letting go of flesh desires and yielding our lives to God’s purpose (Rom 12:1-2)(Phil 3:3). He practiced and encouraged disciplines that would release and multiply the fruit of the Holy Spirit and free us to walk like Jesus.

Quieting the Flesh:

In order for us to hear the voice of God we must quiet all the other voices that compete for our attention and affection. The voice of the flesh is like a dripping faucet, consistently crying out to be fed, clothed and nurtured. Its been doing this all of our life, from a baby until now. We have given in to its desires and unless we discipline its voice, it will try to rule us.

Jesus said – “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!” (Jn 8:36)

Spiritual Freedom:

Freedom is not just living without the hindrance of the old patterns, but its the ability to live with fresh purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that God gives more grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Fasting does more than just quiet the flesh… it humbles the flesh and trains it to obey the spirit, when done in unison with prayer. By making room for the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we are free to live by the spirit and fulfill the will of God!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

God’s Chosen Path

Scripture: “Why have we fasted,” they say, “and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?”

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” (Isaiah 58:3-9)

Thought for Today: “Authentic Revival”

The most significant reason for the Christian to develop a lifestyle of prayer and fasting is to be heard in heaven (Ezra 8:23) and begin to hear from heaven (2 Chr. 7:14). We desire a dialogue with God so that we see the way He sees and carry out the mandate He has on His heart. God has an agenda and our sense of destiny and spiritual peace will always be tied to it.

God’s Chosen Fast:

What we must recognize is that “why” and “how” we fast and pray is as important as “what” or “when”. God tells His people through the Prophet Isaiah that they cannot fast in the way they were in their day and expect to be heard in heaven (Isa 58:4). Clearly, there is a chosen fast that offers real impact on our lives and the world around us. There is a chosen path that advances the Kingdom of God. When the heavens feel like brass (Deut. 28:23) and our prayers go unanswered, then it is time to re-evaluate our responses to God (Ps 139:23-24). Notice how prayer and fasting shapes Jesus’ thoughts about His ministry to the world.

“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; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.” (Lk 4:18-20)

Clarifying the Vision:

Prayer and fasting clarified His vision for the task at hand. Jesus was not becoming more religious, but feeling the urgency of heaven’s revealed destiny. God’s agenda has always been about reclaiming His people and restoring their original place in His heart… this is the essence of authentic revival. This is why Jesus’ passion was focused on breaking the yokes of injustice and crushing the barriers that seemed to stand in the way of spiritual freedom. Authentic revival begins when we see what God sees and passionately live for His purpose! We must shift our focus and efforts toward God’s chosen path!

* Authentic revival begins when we see what God sees and passionately live for His purpose!

Getting God’s Ear:

I love what the Prophet Jeremiah said. “When you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you …and I will bring you back from your captivity” (Jer 29:13-14). When we are willing to set aside legitimate appetites of the flesh and concentrate on seeking God as He longs to be sought after, He promises to be found by us. God seeks worshipers, but because He is spirit, He longs to fellowship with those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23-24).

Pressing In:

We must recognize the warfare, the wrestling and the prevailing over spiritual forces that it takes to effectively hear from heaven. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), we do not fight as those beating the air (1 Cor 9:26), our warfare is not carnal (2 Cor 10:4), but we take our stand against spiritual authorities in heavenly places. The anointing of God is for breaking yokes and releasing authentic revival in the world around us (Isa 10:27)!

Sacrifice:

“What will it cost us? What price will we pay?” Perhaps these are the wrong questions… “What could be?” and “Why not breakthrough?” These are the quests that lead to authentic revival. Breakthrough matters… yokes being destroyed offer freedom; yet, when the eyes of the world are fixed upon us, as they were on Jesus; what will we be contending for? These are the reasons for a lifestyle of prayer and fasting…

  • to lift up your voice as a trumpet… telling people of their transgressions and how to get right with God.
  • to get through to a people who delight in their approach… when God is not pleased.
  • to loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free!
  • to share your bread with the hungry, embrace the poor, cover the naked and not hide yourself from the needs of others.

Yes there is a sacrifice, but the benefits are eternal!

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