Thursday, January 23, 2014

Disrespecting God and revering demons

I know that no true Christian would willingly honor or revere the devil.  Even so, the devil will steal as much credit as he can get, no matter how he gets it.  A sincere Christian who inwardly blames God for the suffering he goes through, is honoring the devil.  He's letting Satan and his demons get off, scott free.  He becomes ever so slightly embittered towards God.  He reasons that if God, who is all-powerful, doesn't remove this injustice, then God must want him to suffer. Therefore, God is cruel.

He may not know that God is requiring him to fight against it, to rebuke evil in his prayers and to persist (like the Bible teaches) until God's justice shines through.  And most Christians do try somewhat hesitantly, unsure if it's God's will or not of them to pray in such an audacious way.  They may see God mercifully answer right away, but often when there's real demonic resistance to their attempts, the answers don't appear as soon as they'd like, and they give up discouraged.  Of course they would never  outwardly blame God, but in the back of their minds a thought grows - God let them down. It gradually eats away at their faith so that any future spiritual battle is already lost.

Christians who don't even try anymore are the saddest and most defeated.  They find themselves in the worst position of being a poster child for the devil's campaign called: God Doesn't Care.  God's people are rendered impotent.  They may be good and kind, but they have lost the will to fight.  Meanwhile the devil is basking in his glory.

For God to be given true honor and glory, His children need to be unrelenting warriors in prayer, and in determination to see His Kingdom advance.  If it's fighting for the spiritual freedom of someone who is lost in addictions, or fighting their own fleshly desires, or fighting for the salvation of their cities and towns, God's Word needs to be taken seriously.  If He promises victory, we need to insist on victory, and if that means we need to change for Him, to purify our hearts more, to become more humble or more courageous or more whatever it is that He wants, we have to be stubborn in our pursuit to do so so He is honored.  Christians who fail to do this, by default, disrespect God's promises and honor demons.

Read the next post coming up:  Restoring Awe and Respect for God: the New Temple of Solomon

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What to do about deliverance and demons

The expected answer should be obvious, but the true answer for most individuals is the opposite.  Just look at the typical American Christian.

Deliverance from demon possession is not common here.  Some churches don't want anything to do with it.  Their doctrines state that the moment someone repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, all evil in their lives is spontaneously defeated.  No point in making deliverance prayers for the saved if demons can't affect them any more other than just tempt them to sin.  And why go through the fuss of deliverance for those who are not saved, if all they need is to answer an altar call, repent and say the sinners prayer?  Get them baptized, give them a certificate, and once they're teaching Sunday School and know the appropriate lingo, they are as good as gold. Nope, no demons there!

Yet other churches do have deliverance prayers.  They acknowledge that even though people are sincerely seeking God, have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, something very evil continues to work in their lives.  They may suffer depression or the trauma of childhood abuse.  They sincerely want to follow Christ, but struggle with addictions, anger or self-hatred.  Just reading the Bible isn't enough, and so a deliverance ministry is formed to help them.  But what do most deliverance ministries entail?  A group of very concerned people, under the leadership of a minister or deliverance counselor, who gather in private to respect the very delicate nature of the person who is in suffering.  With great sensitivity, they gather information about their past, deduce what might be going on, lead the person in a sinner's prayer, go through a process of helping them repent and forgive their abusers or those who have hurt them, and then begin the mysterious process of the casting out of demons.  Much singing, speaking in tongues and waiting around for God to give words of revelation goes on in these sessions.  Demons do manifest, speak, fight and react, but it can last for hours, sometimes needing breaks to reassemble another day when all are worn out.

So we have one set of churches that gives no credence to demons, just teaches the basic gospel truths of salvation, while the other group gives an honored place to the process of deliverance.

Church type A, doesn't know what to do with the alcoholic father who leads the choir and coaches the kids softball team.  He's such a great guy… when he's not drunk.  Rehab hasn't changed him, prayers of repentance haven't changed him, he's eager to help and so friendly but is a real embarrassment when  he's locked up in jail for public disturbance.  They don't know what to do about the gossip that is rampant in their church, the bickering between the church committee members, how to stop the teenagers from getting pregnant and so on.  Keep teaching people to repent, and hope that they change.

Church type B, may be very involved with deliverance, or may just allow a traveling deliverance ministry to come through and set up a series of sessions that are not held during the normal services.  Cleansing Stream and others like that, provide specialized demon-casting-out services so that pastors can continue their regular functions and not have to get all messy with the business of deliverance.  As they say in their website, "The thought of a church of people equipped and functioning in such a manner [doing deliverance] can be scary for many pastors." Pastors scared of the devil.  Go figure.

It's very convenient for the pastor who doesn't want to get his hands dirty, like calling in a plumber when Drano doesn't do the job anymore.

There are other churches that are more hands-on, where the pastors incorporate deliverance into their regular ministry of preaching, teaching, discipling, evangelizing, healing and community outreach.  These churches are few and far between.  And even those I have come across, the prevailing attitude towards dealing with demons is a sense of awe and gravity.  Nothing like Jesus and his disciples.

So it all comes down to two general categories: denial of demons, or awe and respect for demons.  Both of course, are just fine as far as demons are concerned.

Coming in my next post:

The great deception:
How God is disrespected in the American church, while demons are revered

Watch this video about our first deliverance meeting in Brazil for this trip beginning January 17th.