I Choose to Live
Part 3: Daring to Step Out in Faith
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 30 October 2004
Click here for Part 2
It comes as a great surprise to many to learn that the key to deliverance lies in this one very simple scripture: "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt.6:33, NKJV). What specifically are "these things"? The verses before tell us that they are food, drink, and clothing. The simple people of Yah'shua's (Jesus') day were worried about earning enough money to buy the necessities of life. And because the Kingdom ranked low on their list, they ended up idolatrously serving mammon (v.24). Mammon - or money, however, does not provide for the most important drink, food and clothing a man needs - it does not provide spiritual nourishment nor the spiritual covering against the attacks of the enemy.
The one consistent message that Yahweh has given me over the years - and you will find much on this subject in the Olive Branch - is that seeking the Kingdom of Heaven before everything else - and that includes your career and family, but without excluding or irresponsibly neglecting them - gives you everything you need to live in this life.
A lot of people come for deliverance who do not want the Kingdom. And a lot of people remain in spiritual bondage because of that attitude. I reminded you last week of another key scripture which reads: "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matt.10:39, NKJV). Notice that there is a qualification for "loses his life" and it is "for My sake". People lose, sacrifice or dedicate their lives for all sorts of causes apart from themselves - mothers sacrifice everything for their children, often neglecting their husbands; husbands sacrifice everything for their careers, often neglecting their families. But those who lose their lives for the sake of Yah'shua (Jesus) will find them. This is the promise He gives. In short, anything that is ego-motivated and not Christ-centred will eventually slip through your fingers. Christ clarifies His words even more in another scripture where He says:
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Matt.16:24-26, NKJV).
Whether you are trying to find your life or save your life, you will end up losing it if that is your attitude. How does a man lose his life in order to find it or save it? By seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Jo found her life because she was seeking the Kingdom of God with all her soul even though she was imprisoned inside. Today one very brave and courageous victim of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) remains physically imprisoned and abused by her captors so that she may witness of Yahweh's love to them. She has had a major impact on the kingdom of darkness. And because she has sought the Kingdom of Heaven before her own self-interest, Yahweh has revealed many wonderful things to her and empowered her in a unique way. Most of you know of whom I am speaking. Yahweh Himself is completing her deliverance.
Over the last two weeks I have been telling you the story of Jo. Today I'd like to tell you about another spiritual prisoner whom I shall call Frank. The deliverance minister was again in vision and in it he saw an old ramshackle wooden cabin. Frank was locked inside it and chained to a bunk bed in a corner. As it turns out, Frank had experienced such a cabin in real life, had feared it irrationally, and saw the whole scene in vision as the minister prayed, sometimes in advance of the minister describing it, and exactly as the minister was seeing the drama unfolding. In another case, the man saw the victim symbolically frozen in an iceberg because his heart was completely frozen. Another minister saw yet another client in a birdcage, unable to sing, and another client in a hole in the ground covered over by grass. I myself once saw a client imprisoned in a circus who was forced to act before an audience consisting exclusively of women - the performers were all men. These, of course, are parabolic descriptions of different kinds of spiritual imprisonment, the last one being to the feministic spirit of Jezebel, though Jo's case was as it actually was.
You would be surprised just how many people are actually imprisoned. Most, sadly, refuse to admit it because of pride or shame. That's natural and understandable but it doesn't help. At some point we have to humble ourselves and admit we have a problem and need help. And if we feel shame, it is important to understand that Yahweh does not judge you or view you as worthless or inferior - He wants you to be free so that you can be who you were made to be.
A couple of deliverance ministers whom I have very high regard for have systematically studied spiritual imprisonment and made some useful observations which I think would be helpful to run through. Most people don't even know they have a problem even if inside they feel frustrated about life. So join with me now as we run through this list of eight questions, and as we do so - especially if you feel able to identify with one or more of these questions - ask Yah'shua (Jesus) to shine the Light of Truth on any feelings you may have and reveal to you what He wants you to know:
- 1. Do you ever feel hollow, empty, or vacant, like something is missing?
- 2. Do you ever feel deeply lonely, alone, way off somewhere, even in the middle of a crowd?
- 3. Do you ever feel persecuted, tormented or afflicted when on the surface no one is bothering you? (In this connection, please note that demonic spirits do torment the spirits of captive people, and they feel it like a subcurrent river of pain without knowing what it is).
- 4. Do you suffer from the sense that there are talents, powers and energies in you which you can't reach, as though they are locked away from you?
- 5. Do you ever feel desperate and lost and futile inside when on the surface everything seems to be going fine?
- 6. Do you ever feel like trouble and danger are all around you, when in fact everything and everyone around you is perfectly safe?
- 7. Do you ever have unaccountable inner rages? Do you get furiously angry at something, when actually there is nothing to be angry at? (The spirits of imprisoned people rage against the chains that bind them).
- 8. Do you have trouble staying awake during church meetings which are quite lively and exciting? Just when the pastor is preaching a really good sermon, do you find it difficult to keep your eyes open? (Remember, Satan is a hypnotist).
Not all of these symptoms are necessarily caused by an imprisoned spirit, of course - people fall asleep in meetings sometimes because they are tired or ill or because the sermons are plain uninspired!
If you are uncertain having considered these questions, then let me pose three more to you which often help pinpoint spiritual imprisonment:
- 9. Do you, or did you, ever suffer from vertigo (dizziness)? In the presence of the power of Yahweh in a worship service, have you felt weak or dizzy? Commonly, imprisoned people break out in a cold sweat and/or become dizzy when others feel uplifted, warmed and joyous under Yahweh's anointing.
- 10. Have you ever suffered from any dyslexia? (Imprisoned people commonly, but not always, have had some degree of dyslexia in childhood, or currently suffer from it).
- 11. In the midst of a powerful time of worship, do you feel at peace and joyous, or nervous and unaccountably upset? Do you feel agitated, or calmed, when others around you pray and thank Yahweh for being present? Perhaps this reaction happens because like blind Bartimaeus they want to call out all the louder when Yah'shua (Jesus) passes close by (Mk.10:46-52) and/or perhaps their demonic captors are made nervous and fearful by His presence, and they feel it.
Last week I told you that much spiritual imprisonment occurs even before birth while the child is still in the womb and it is here that we can find many clues. This means finding out the circumstances behind conception, the period of pregnancy, and birth. Here are some other questions which are important:
- 12. Was the new baby invited, or did he just 'happen' (i.e. unplanned pregnancy)?
- 13. Were the parents happy to be expecting a child, and were they happy with each other?
- 14. Was the mother a drinker or smoker at the time of pregnancy?
- 15. What number child was the person?
- 16. Did the parents have strong desires for a baby of either sex?
- 17. Were there separations due to business, war, or other matters?
Sometimes people can be slumberers and imprisoned. Those who are not asleep spiritually, but are imprisoned, experience a lot more inner pain and sometimes physical pain which are outer symptoms of spiritual imprisonment, than those who are both. Such people feel and sense many things keenly in their spirit, which only increases the bafflement and pain when they find themselves locked away from an inability to live life. Satan being the hypnotist that he is, they may fight to stay awake, becoming more and more fatigued and strained. Usually, however, people are both asleep and imprisoned.
So what do you do when you discover you are spiritually imprisoned? The first thing that you must understand and realise is that your own sins are involved. In other words, you are accountable and responsible in some way. Without that truth firmly accepted, you will make no headway in healing. People don't spiritually fall asleep or become imprisoned because it's entirely someone else's fault. Others may have acted wrongly towards us but we - and we alone - are responsible for the way in which we deal or cope with that negative behaviour towards us. When we react wrongly, because we believe in a lie (usually about our self worth), that is sinful behaviour and gives demons legal rights to enter and oppress us. And there's no escaping that. You may convince yourself you're 100% innocent but I guarantee that will not solve your problem. Being mature enough to admit responsibility at some level is the first and most important step towards healing. Once you have done that, then it will not be long before you discover that the cause of your sinful behaviour originates in one or more of three different areas:
- 1. Rebellion;
- 2. Shrinking back (withdrawal); or
- 3. Amniosis (trying to hide back in the womb)
Each of these is sinful behaviour because they are based on a denial of Yahweh's ability or willingness to love and take care of you. They often result in resentments towards God. And the only way you can deal with these behavioural problems is by being willing to pay the price of pain and vulnerability in order to choose and risk life anew every day. In short, if you want to live - and to live abundantly - you must be willing to make yourself vulnerable again, with all that that entails, and be prepared to experience pain. And that's not easy for someone who hasn't met Yahweh personally and who doesn't know how to trust Him. I am going to suggest that this is one of the hardest things for anyone to do. And it's so common! We all do it. But if we do nothing about it, it invariably leads to spiritual slumber and/or imprisonment, and an inability to live life properly.
I once shared an apartment with a man who had been rejected by his family. He was actually a very intelligent man but for some reason was never 'good enough' for them, lost self-confidence, became neurotic, flunked his exams, and became quite mentally disturbed. He easily flew into rages but didn't know why. His father, a distinguished surgeon, wrongly concluded that he was mentally ill, and forced him to have a terrible brain operation which made him epileptic. He was very afraid to be rejected and stigmatised by his condition and did not tell me about his problems before I invited him to share my apartment. I learned about his condition the hard way. On one occasion he had had an epileptic seizure while I was out and upon returning I found him coiled up in foetal position in the bath. This was my first experience of amniosis - the desire to hide back in the warm, cosy and dark womb where there is no responsibility in life. He wasn't mentally ill - he was a spiritual prisoner crying out to be loved and accepted. Though he never did get better while I knew him - I knew nothing about inner healing and deliverance in those days - I do recall that he overcame at least in one area of his life: he rejected the false accusation that he was incompetent intellectually and, in his late 40's, got a place at college and qualified for a degree. Others who knew him thought he was wasting his time but I don't think so: he took responsibility for his life, rejected the lie that he was stupid, and made something of himself. I am not sure quite what my part in this step forward was, but in those days I employed him as a teacher when I was the principal of a college because of his undoubted teaching skills even though he had no qualifications. I sensed that he could do the job even though educational protocol virtually demanded that I reject him. That man educationally fathered some young men whom others would have nothing to do with, men who have since gone on to be successful professionals. So you see, even without achieving a full deliverance, he did at least overcome one lie in his life. What his family did to him was very cruel and uncaring (they were all distinguished professionals in the medical or financial fields) but his choice to believe their lies and to hide away was his responsibility. And in one area, at least, he overcame. I only wish I had known then what I know now and could have helped him to a full deliverance.
Once you recognise that you have responsibility and accountability in your own healing, and once you have discovered the lies you have believed about your own self-worth, the next and most vital stage to healing is forgiveness of those who abused you. It doesn't matter whether they abused you in ignorance or total awareness - to hate anyone is a sin. Hate, rejecting life, rejecting God, trying to hide away - all of these open demonic doorways to the powers of darkness to imprison the soul. And if you don't know you are imprisoned by this time, you soon will - if you are working out a genuine repentance and are committed to a path of reformation in your life. Once you have got this far, the possibility for a complete healing and deliverance becomes possible. Once you have got this far, you are well on the road to recovery, for all you need to do now is to ask Yah'shua (Jesus) into your situation and set you free. It must be done in faith, with sincerity and conviction and a commitment to live the full Christian life from that moment. In short, you must be willing to surrender yourself to Him in body, mind, heart, spirit and soul - all of you. Without that, you will neither attain your deliverance nor maintain it.
Acknowledgment of responsibility, being willing to be vulnerable and experience pain, exposing lies, accepting that you are loved by God, repenting of rebellion and hiding away, reconciliation with those you have wronged or have been wronged by (if at all possible), commitment to the Gospel life - these will open the doorway to a complete deliverance leading to victorious living. You will need prayer cover and, more than likely, some kind of counseling from an experienced minister, because Satan will not sit back idly and concede an inch of occupied voluntarily. Demons will need expelling once the lies are exposed - you can be sure they're there.
Next week I want to talk more about the actual setting of people free through prayer. In the meantime, I want to invite everyone to start working on the issues I have raised today. All this basically requires is that you open up your heart to Yah'shua (Jesus) and ask Him to guide you in the process, having as goals some of the issues I have raised. This will require a certain amount of courage and determination. For some, this is an urgent matter. Moreover, we are smack in the middle of one of the Satanist high seasons (Halloween) where much evil is done and people are oppressed more than usual, so there is a need to get kitted up for spiritual warfare. So let us finish with a prayer today: "Dear Father, you see the needs of your people and of their struggles against the enemy. We ask you to bind to all of us, and shine upon us, the bright light of Your Truth so that every dark corner within our souls can be lit up and every dark entity expelled. Liberate the captives, we pray, through the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus) and lead us all onto the path of complete healing and deliverance, in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name. Amen."
Click here for Part 4
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