Sunday, May 22, 2016

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 5B - Oppression & Opinions)

If you missed Part 5A (and you want to read it), please click here.

I briefly mentioned opinions of others, now let’s go deeper in this area! Everybody has an opinion – which there is no shortage of for some. I heard a pastor say that we actually enter another dimension when we divorce ourselves from the opinions of others. Dr. Price made a comment back in 1998 as it relates to denominations and how many in their respective denomination swears it's the right one. It's an opinion of course and for many that have opinions, they hype it up to the point that it trumps the Word.  That should never happen. Some have been bold enough to use the Word to hype up their opinions when the truth is they are really misusing it. Of course, this creates oppression to the one who falls from the opinion. Let me stay there, because I see an epidemic on social media (where there are single pastors with no covering or accountability promoting their agenda – really shearing those who are babes and have itching ears). I speak against that in Jesus' name.

Now I’m not saying denominations are totally a bad thing, just focus on how they started. And that’s simply an opinion that may or may not be Scripturally based.

The ones that make me laugh and frustrated are the ones who say, “The Lord said…” and there’s no Scriptural content contained in it. This right here is one example of someone who’s in the childhood stage. People that have opinions with no substance are dangerous to themselves and to others.

Let me give a great example: when you’re going through spiritual warfare or dealing with a crisis of any type, opinionated people say “you need just a little more Jesus.” You have my permission to slap them! Jesus is more than enough. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need to surrender control, you are your own and you are self-made. That, whether you know it or not, can cause oppression. Jesus wants whatever control you think you have. And let’s be real, what we’re thinking isn’t always the mind and heart of God. In Jeremiah 29:11 (from the Message Bible), it starts off saying (God speaking) I know what I’m doing. If He knows what He’s doing, that should give us every reason to trust Him with everything. Let’s add to this, He knows what we’ve done and are currently dealing with, yet He still wants us. Just because pastors, brothers and sisters in Christ, and the world will reject, God won’t! He wants you so He can lavish His love and healing over you. What the devil is doing with many people is to get them to agree that you don’t have to follow when you have can do it better than others (and inadvertently better than God). Look at what you’ve been through, you need to gain control of your life, don’t surrender it to anybody including God. The key to getting out of this oppression is stop knowing what to do. Let every thought and decision pass through the filter of God. If people want to hurry you, let them, but stand still so God can speak through you. I’m a living witness in that whatever is not in God’s will, will become my bill (in other words, I’m going to have to pay for it). But watch this, confess that to God, don’t carry that burden. Your body wasn’t designed to carry it. And besides, what good is it doing you by carrying it?

If you don’t remember anything, remember this: the enemy will use people (in and out the church) to oppress you with their opinions. The enemy will get you to question God’s Word (like he did Eve in Genesis 3). You see, in the pews, we have people like Eliphaz, Bildad & Zophar sitting right next to you, waiting for you to slip up so they can attack you. Jennifer LeClaire (from Charisma Magazine nailed this): Eliphaz is one who will come over your house to tell you that it’s your fault because of sin. Bildad will confirm everything Eliphaz said and Zophar will condemn you in the battle. How is that for opinions?

And while I’m on it, she expounds further about legalistic Christians who throw their jargon out there to puff themselves up especially when they know someone who’s engaged in spiritual warfare. She said: The enemy uses those close to us to add fuel to his fiery darts when what we really need is someone to stand in the gap for us. Of course, we should all examine our hearts when the onslaught comes to make sure we don't have any open doors, but too many well-intentioned Christians give pat answers and platitudes that do not reflect God's heart in the midst of our battle.

And we want to throw darts, instead of praying for reconciliation, restoration, and for recovery? The devil doesn’t have to win even though we may have intently or unintentionally taken the bait! I serve a God who is in the healing business, restoration business, reconciliation business, and who loves us despite the mistakes we made and sins we committed. If you look at the Scriptural text for this blogpost, what stands out to me is the fact that Jesus came to heal the sick and the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18). But the leader of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. You have some people in church that will become so legalistic saying that they don’t deserve to be healed, or they have to go through some form of ritual, or they have to bear the shame of the sin they committed, they must be exposed to the church and to the public that they are a disgrace. The leader of the synagogue cared about the law (while he truthfully was breaking that very law) and didn’t care if she ever got healed (because they wanted to be seen by the crowds as holy and untouchable, when they truthfully were full of sin and needed a Savior). I like that Jesus called them for what they were, hypocrites (and the Amplified Bible used the terms play-actors and pretenders). And you’ll find that hypocrites, play-actors and pretenders are experts with opinions and parroting Scriptures to prove that they are all that and they got this life so down to where they really don’t need Jesus themselves. That’s a sad place to be.

Think about it, if you have ever been oppressed, everything is out of whack. If you’re not careful and you’re not going after His Word with all you have, it’ll be real easy to fall for the opinions of others that are not even scripturally based (like God hates divorce, so stay in your abusive relationship). And when you’re oppressed, there’s a strong you may not be able to see yourself (and others) free from the oppression? And most opinionated people have done so much damaged to those who are oppressed that they will turn their backs on them because they did their damage. Faith and agape love won't allow people to stay oppressed or under the web of an opinion that’s not of God!

I heard a pastor give a great example of an opinion that can literally oppress someone (especially if they’re not strong in their faith): Let’s take the word “grace.” When you ask the question, “What is grace?” They will say that grace is unmerited favor. The truth is that grace and favor mean the same thing, but the question still wasn’t answered. So, they’ll say it’s something you don’t earn, knowing full well that wasn’t what you asked. So, you then ask them, “Why don’t I deserve it?”  You now have to tell me every bad thing that I did to show me that I don’t deserve it.

I now ask you, what’s wrong with that picture? Considering you’ll never hear God say that about anybody! So, if you’re one who says that grace is unmerited favor – you’re not looking at God, you’re looking at man. When you say that grace IS a gift, that’s pointing to God. So many Christians (well, people of all walks of life for that matter) feel condemned because people are going around saying that grace is unmerited favor and you don’t deserve it.

Can I just give you one more example? I’m sure you’ve heard this from a pastor, a coach, a counselor or someone sitting in the congregation with you (or at another church) the following: we are the initiators and create our reality. We don’t have to follow and why do it like someone else considering that we can make it better. And just because you’re saved and a Christian, doesn’t mean that you have to submit to Him. You are your own man and your own woman. Whoever is telling you that may sound good, but it’s contrary to Scripture and will actually hinder your healing from oppression and the opinions of others. The Word is the final authority and the final say so in your life. We have to make sure that what people say is lined up with the Scripture, otherwise, get away because their agenda is to bring oppression onto your life. They say misery loves company.

Many of us are on the path to healing and wholeness, and I’ll be honest with you, it will require some spiritual warfare. You will be challenged and tried on many levels. The key is to stay committed to the fight (and yes, it’s a faith fight and the faith fight is a good fight) when everything inside you and those opinionated people will tell you to quit, and put bugs in your ear saying, “you can never heal, you’ll never recover!” Don’t buy into that. The devil IS a liar! Romans 8:31 says if God be for you, who can be against you!

I was truly blessed by this article entitled What Your Friends Don’t Want To Hear When The Devil Is Attacking written by Jennifer LeClaire (I quoted a little bit of it above, so just click on the title to read it). What I like about it is that it exposes how the enemy will use people (it could be a counselor, a coach, a pastor, those in the pews, and the list goes on) and their opinions to oppress you and to bring condemnation to your mental/emotional psyche. She says this:

Spiritual platitudes—banal, trite and stale remarks—are not as painful as pious calls for repentance for sins you haven't thought about committing. But spiritual platitudes are unhelpful at best and admittedly annoying. Let's face it, pat Bible answers—"cast all your cares" and "those whom He loves He disciplines"—that really don't apply to your situation are anything but a word in due season.

When people are going through hell and back, most people don't need to play patty cake with verses about not growing weary in well doing, fighting the good fight of faith, standing and withstanding or counting it all joy. That may be helpful for baby Christians, but mature warriors usually don't need to be told what is obvious: Have faith in God; only believe; the battle is the Lord's.

God wants you healed, whole and thriving into what you were predestined to do. We don’t define our assignment; we discover it through Him. Are you willing to break free from the opinions and the oppression? I pray that you can shout YES when asked this question knowing and having confidence that healing is the children’s bread according to Matthew 15:20-28. Let’s finish 2016 strong by going hard for God and His Word!


The Mayne Man

Will You Be Made Whole? (Part 5A - Oppression & Opinions)

Last Saturday, I woke up with a vision and it was brought further to light as the days progressed. This blogpost is going to be very touchy and it may offend those who are chief offenders. I pray that those who have suffered (or are currently suffering) under the weight of demonic oppression as well as the opinions of others (especially from those sitting in the pews) that have led to you being plagued with oppression will find refuge in this blogpost (but more importantly with His Word). Healing is the children’s bread and you can be healed and be made whole from what the devil did to you (or from what he’s trying to do to you). The foundational scripture for this series is John 5:1-9, but I want to focus on Luke 13:10-17 for this particular blogpost.

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had an illness caused by a spirit (demon). She was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are released from your illness.” Then He laid His hands on her; and immediately she stood erect again and she began glorifying and praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work ought to be done; so come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord replied to him, “You hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders)! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead it away to water it? And this woman, a daughter (descendant) of Abraham whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As He was saying this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things that were being done by Him.

Before I dive into the passage above, I’d like to talk first about demonic oppression. I would like to reference a blogpost from 2013 that was written on this very topic. If you want to read it before I dive into it, you can right here (in fact, I’ll be referencing a few things from it for this blogpost) ->

One thing A’ndrea said that stands out: Demonic oppression is simply having an influence on a person via their thoughts or emotions, but unable to have access to the person’s mind and body. The spirit can only impact the individual using their senses (what the person sees, hears, smells, touches, tastes). An oppressive spirit might try to get the person to believe they are depressed, angry, lonely, vengeful, tired, etc. Simple prayers and a refocusing of thoughts are enough to overcome an oppressive spirit. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” We are encouraged to keep our thoughts on what is positive right after we are told not to be anxious for anything, but to use prayer and petition, as well as to allow God’s peace to guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).

If you are a believer, you know that there are three stages as to how we develop. There’s the baby stage, the childhood stage, and the manhood (womanhood) stage. The area where we can actually face oppression the most I believe is in the childhood stage. You see, the childhood stage is where we grow in understanding, but you are vulnerable to unsound doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). I’ll elaborate more on that when I talk about opinions later. But in this childhood stage, there’s a strong chance that you will not be speaking right (whether it be evil, vain or foolish). That can bring oppression whether you may know it or not. Unfortunately, many people are in this stage.

Demonic oppression can come as a result of childhood abuse. When you were supposed to be protected and covered, the devil gained a foothold as a result and tried to oppress your life. I don’t know where you are, if you’re reading this, many of you are stopping this generational curse by calling this oppression out and striving for healing/wholeness in your mind, body, soul and spirit. Hallelujah! You have latched on to who God is and are starting to know who He is by becoming one with His Word.  Let me encourage you to keep going with this (and I ask that you encourage me to do the same). Don’t let the devil stop you from becoming one with His Word. He wants to do everything he can to keep you oppressed and tormented. If he can do that, he can keep the generational curse going. I know I’m jumping ahead, but the devil will send his imposters to you to say that you were the cause of the abuse.

Demonic oppression can also come from bad relationships. Regardless of how you landed in it, the demonic may have gained a foothold via your mental and emotional psyche as a result of what you had to endure. Don’t let the devil and his impostors come up and tell you that you can’t heal or you won’t recover! The devil is a LIAR. I stand in agreement with you and intercede for you calling that oppression out and covering you with His Word, speaking words of healing/wholeness in your mind, body, soul and spirit. Hallelujah! I encourage you to latch on to who God is and get re-acclimated in who He is by becoming one with His Word. Don’t let the devil stop you from becoming one with His Word. He wants to do everything he can to keep you oppressed and tormented.

Sometimes we can be our worst enemy, and give the devil access to oppress us. Think about it, we can sing, “My life is not my own, to You I belong.” The minute something doesn’t go your way, you take matters into your own hands without thinking to God. Granted, you can repent, but between the timeframe you took matters into your own hands and repenting, you stand a risk of being oppressed.

I could talk about a few other areas that can lead to oppression, things like denial, pride, living in a state of offense, unresolved anger and hatred. But I do want to say one thing about denial. When you deny something, you are actually living in a state of torment (which is oppression) because when a trigger sets in, the torment will manifest itself. Now keep in mind, if you were abused, that torment/oppression wasn’t your fault (meaning, you weren’t the one who created that oppression). That was brought on you through someone else. But it’s now up to us (yes, this includes me too – as I’m dealing with some areas of my life that need healing via oppression brought on by others). We have to fight to be delivered from oppression – but we fight knowing that we win according to 1 John 5:4 – this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith! Now there’s a denial where you know that you harmed others and you don’t want to own it. In my opinion, that’s intentional torment (borderline possession – and that’s not good). You see oppression doesn’t just come off of us just by saying, “Leave!” We need supernatural assistance from the Throne Room!

Can I ask a question: do you trust God with everything that concerns you? If the answer is no (and I’ll wave my hand and say no), don’t beat yourself up. Now you should be able to locate yourself. If you have ever felt that you can do it by yourself and you cringe at the thought surrendering all control to Him, then it makes sense not to trust. But refer back to Jeremiah 29:11 (from the Message Bible). He knows what He’s doing. Think about this, Jesus could do nothing apart from the Father. As I think about it, our lack of trust in Him can actually come as a result of how we grew up (especially if it was a house full of rejection, neglect, abandonment). So for many of us growing up, we had to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. So, we have to seek God to help us and cradle us in His arms so we can know what it means to trust a God who really loves us even though our mother and father forsake us (Psalm 27:10). The beauty of God is that He sees us as special and redeemable even though we may be struggling with some form of oppression.

As I wrap up the first segment on demonic oppression, let me shame the devil right now. If you’re sitting here right now condemning yourself for the mistakes you’ve made (and I have to constantly cast these childhood mistakes as well as mistakes as of current that the enemy is throwing at me), I say this: So what you made a mistake! So what if you did this or that (knowingly or unknowingly it was contrary to Scripture)! It’s not over for you. You can heal, you can be made whole and recover and launch into what God has for you without the bitterness, anger, the shame, and the condemnation that the devil and you yourself may bring unto you. The God that I serve loves you, and He’s not counting you out. He wants you to co-operate with the plan He has for you. We have to go hard for God and be one with His Word. 

If you want to read Part 5B, please click here.