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Archive for August, 2010

Deliverance Dictionary: D

Posted by owner on August 13, 2010

Deception The Bible portrays Satan as a “liar from the beginning,” with deception as perhaps his primary strategy. We see that strategy employed in the temptation of Eve, described in Genesis 3. God had warned Adam against the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and identified “death” as the consequence of eating the forbidden fruit. Satan attacked, asking “did God [really] say.” He denied the consequences God had laid out, arguing “you shall not surely die.” Satan even impugned God’s motives, suggesting “God knows that you will be like him.” With her trust in what God had said and in his motives eroded, Eve relied on her senses to evaluate the fruit. Since it looked good, and smelled good, and since it seemed to Eve that to “be like God” in any respect was a desirable thing, Eve ate. Eve had been thoroughly deceived, with tragic results.

This early Genesis scene provides a template of Satan’s strategy of deception. In his word God provides an accurate description of reality, marking out how we are to live our lives in fellowship with him and to avoid the disasters that follow when we stray. Satan focuses his efforts on distorting our understanding of reality and on undermining our commitment to live by God’s revelation. When a person has been deceived he is left with his or her distorted perceptions of what will help and not harm, and is forced to rely on illusions when making moral decisions.

The Bible portrays humankind’s cultures [called “the world”] as a web of distorted ideas, desires, and passions under the control of “the wicked one.” Trapped in distorted ideas about ourselves, about God, and about every aspect of our life on earth, we are vulnerable to manipulation by demons. Deliverance thus calls for more than casting out any demons that may have found an opening. Deliverance requires closing open doors by teaching the truth about God, ourselves, and how to live a life that is in harmony with the Holy Spirit. The truths that Paul emphasizes in Ephesians as the “armor of God” are critical for lasting deliverance.

Deliverance. In its broadest sense “deliverance” involves guiding Christians into the fullness of the new life which Christ won for us in his cross and resurrection. More narrowly, deliverance is viewed as freeing believers from the influence of demonic powers who are intent on thwarting God’s purposes in them. In the narrower sense, deliverance often involves healing deep emotional wounds and casting out demons who are oppressing believers with psychological and/or physical disabilities. More broadly, deliverance involves discipling by providing the teaching, fellowship, and encouragement which enables believers to grow to maturity in Christ.

Deliverance Evangelism. In cultures in which demonic activity is widespread, effective evangelism often involves open, public conflict with evil spirits. As demons are cast out and demonically caused illness and afflictions are healed, those who have lived their lives in fear of supernatural beings realize the power of Jesus and come to him for salvation. Many revivals in the developing world feature deliverance evangelism.

Demons. They go by a number of names. The gods of the pagans named in the Old Testament are identified in both testament as demons (cf 1 Cor. 10:20). In the Gospels they’re known as demons and. evil spirits. In the Epistles they’re called powers, authorities, rulers, and principalities. Whatever name is used, “demons” are spirit beings who were created as angels, but followed Satan in his original rebellion, becoming demons. Like angels, demons are individual created beings. Unlike angels, they are utterly hostile to God and to human beings. Because God loves humankind, Satan and his demon followers hate us and are intent on doing us harm.

Demonic Oppression. Deliverance ministers have attempted to catalogue ways in which demons can adversely affect [oppress] human beings. Any such catalogue includes far too many items to list here. However a sampling shows that demons cause, or exacerbate, addictions and dependencies, feelings of anger, anxiety, and bitterness. Demons encourage manipulation and controlling behavior, depression, lying, anxiety and fears. Demons have also been associated with financial bondage and physical disabilities. Demons operate through cultural forms, from music to occult practices, as well as directly in our lives. They stimulate pride and rebellion, strife and hostility. It is not an exaggeration to state that demons may be involved in any harmful aspect of our lives. But it would be an exaggeration to claim that each problem a person has has its source in demonic oppression. Generally demons do not create our problems, but where problems exist they will seek to make them worse.

Demonization. This is the transliteration of the Greek word used in the Gospels to describe demonic activity. The verbs associated the daimonizomai make it clear that in some sense demons are “in” a demonized person, and that they can be “cast out.” Demonization, then, is the term the Gospel writers chose to describe the presence of one or more demons within the life [personality] of an individual. Unfortunately, the Greek word is often rendered in English versions as “demon possessed.” See below.

Demon Possessed. The translation of the Greek diamonizomai (demonized) as “demon possession” has unfortunate connotations. This translation suggests that demons control those who host them, while the Greek term merely indicates that a demon or demons have in some sense taken up residence in the host. Deliverance ministers are convinced that only in extreme and unusual situations does a demon actually control a person. What demons seem to do is to fasten on something already present in an individual’s personality or makeup and exaggerate it. Thus a person who has difficulty with his temper may be pushed from anger to rage. But the temper problem was the person’s before any demons were involved. For this reason a deliverance minister will normally attempt to find the root of the anger and deal with it as well as expel the demon.

Demonic Manifestations. Demons generally prefer to remain hidden both from an individual they inhabit and from others. The overly dramatic exhibitions portrayed in such films as The Exorcist are far from typical, although such phenomenon as levitation have been documented, as have exhibitions of unusual strength, falling to the floor, facial and vocal changes, etc. Most deliverance ministers prefer to minimize such manifestations and do so by commanding the demons not to cause any kind of disturbance. At the same time, it is important that any demon “surface” [by speaking through the victim] to confirm its presence.

Discernment. In the context of deliverance, this term is typically used of the ability to identify the presence of one or more demons, and also to confirm that they have left following an exorcism. So used, “discernment” sometimes refers to a natural talent for assessing evidence of demonization, and sometimes refers to spiritual insight given directly by the Holy Spirit. As a natural talent discernment is a skill, gained by experience, for reading clues in a person’s behavior or responses that indicate the presence of evil spirits. As a spiritual gift, discernment is a Spirit given ability to sense the presence of evil spirits, that at times may include specific information about those spirits. It is extremely helpful to have a person with a gift of discernment present when ministering to someone who may be demonized.

Dissociation. This is a phenomenon in which a person [typically a young child] deals with some extreme trauma by separating himself or herself from the experience. The product is one or more alters . . . personality fragments whose experiences and emotions are walled off from the dominant personality. Once called “multiple personality disorder,” the phenomenon is now understood as “dissociative identity disorder” [DID], and treated by seeking to make the primary identity aware of the alters, ultimately integrating them into the whole.

The reason that DID is significant for deliverance ministers is first, that a dissociated identity that surfaces during a session may be mistakenly identified as a demon, and second, that demons may be linked to one or more of the alters but not to the primary identity. It takes great skill and understanding to work with individuals suffering from DID, especially if one or more alter is demonized.

Satan and You #8

Posted by owner on August 13, 2010

The eighth in a series of studies of references to Satan in the Gospels

This eighth mention of Satan in the Gospels is an enigmatic response to awed disciples.

Luke 10:17-18
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The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” ________________

Background

Jesus has commissioned seventy-two of his followers to travel through Galilee preaching and healing (Luke 10:1f). They return bursting with excitement.

Observations

1. “returned with joy.” The seventy-two are sent out by twos to visit “every town.” Their mission: “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you.’” (10:9). This is exactly what Jesus himself is doing, preaching the kingdom and healing. But when the 72 return what they talk about is that “even demons submit to us in your name.”

2. “even the demons submit.” The original commission is to “heal the sick.” The Gospel accounts make it clear that some [but not all] illness is caused by demonic oppression (cf Luke 13:16). Jesus commonly heals this type of illness by casting out the demons who cause them.

3. “even the demons submit.” The phrasing suggests that not only are the seventy two giddy with joy, but also in awe. It is one thing for demons to submit to Jesus. But for demons to submit to them!?!

4. “in your name.” The seventy two command demons “in the name” of Jesus. They have no intrinsic power over demons. They rely on the authority that Jesus delegates to them. Even when reporting they are careful to give Jesus the glory for what he is doing through them.

5. “I saw.” Jesus’ first words have led to constant speculation. When did Jesus see Satan fall from heaven? Is Jesus referring to Satan’s original rebellion? Is Jesus standing outside of time and referring to a yet future fall? Or perhaps Jesus is summing up Satan’s career? Whatever the reference, the speculation is irrelevant to the point that Jesus makes.

6. “fall like lightening from heaven.” It’s a powerful image. Satan’s fall is sudden, decisive, as unmistakable as a lightening bolt that flashes across the night sky. But as spectacular as the lightening bolt is, it is also brief. It dominates the night sky, but for mere moments, and then is gone. .

Jesus’ remark is dismissive. It’s as if he is saying, “Command demons? That’s nothing. I’ve seen the chief of demons flash across the heavens . . . an impressive sight . . . but here only for moments and then gone forever.”

7. “rejoice” Moments later Jesus goes on. “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (10:20). Power over evil spirits appears special to us, and to some extent it is. But our focus, and our constant joy, is to be the fact that through Christ we are destined to experience eternity in God’s presence.

Implications

Believers do have authority over evil spirits in Jesus’ name. That authority is his, not ours, and we are to keep the focus on Jesus always. We are also to maintain our perspective. It is a joy and a privilege to free others from demonic oppression. But let’s keep our focus on the eternal salvation Jesus won for us and for others on Calvary.

Deliverance ministry is significant. But it must never take priority over sharing the Gospel of eternal salvation.

Living Free #9

Posted by owner on August 13, 2010

Applying biblical principals of Freedom* in Living Free support groups.

“Living Free Support Groups” help believers apply biblical truths about identity, faith, peace, righteousness and truth in order to experience freedom in Christ. New activities for Living Free Support Groups are published every two weeks on www.demondope.com.

Living Free Support Group
Activity #9

DEMONS

Activity
Have group members write down the first three words they think of when they hear the word “demon.”

Discuss. What do we know [or think we know] about demons that led us to write down these particular words? How accurate do you think your view of demons actually is? Why?

Then ask each group member to write down three feelings he or she associates with being demonized. That is, if you suddenly discovered that demons were operating in your life, what would your most powerful feelings be?

List the feelings identified by the group. Then talk about why you generated these particular feeling words. What do they tell you about your view of demons?

Recognize Satan’s Lie

C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased with both errors.” Satan is delighted when we focus our attention on demons and find ourselves either fascinated or fearful. The more we concentrate on the demons themselves the less likely we are to find freedom from them.

Hear God’s Truth

The Bible pictures the resurrected Jesus seated at the Father’s right hand
“far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can b e given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:21), Compared with Jesus, demons are weak and pitiful creatures, doomed for eternity and left with nothing but to scramble around like rats in garbage seeking to do whatever harm they can.

The key to getting rid of demons is not to focus on demons. The key is to get rid of the garbage in our lives that demons feed on, for it is what Charles Kraft calls “garbage” that serves both as an open door through which demons gain access to us and as the “legal basis” they claim gives them the right to stay. Once we’ve gotten rid of the “garbage,” we can use our authority as God’s children to cast the demons out in Jesus’ name.

Here’s some of the “garbage” demon’s exploit to gain access and to maintain a hold on our lives. Beside each “garbage heap” are some of the things we can do to get rid of it.

Garbage heaps Shovels

Buried shame, fear, anger, hatred Forgive, repent, give the pain to
growing out of trauma, hurts Jesus

Involvement in the occult Confess, renounce, forgive self

Associations and environment Choose friends wisely, leave
from unhealthy environment

Willful repeated sins Repent, confess, renounce

When we face such issues, we limit the ability of demons to influence us. And we weaken the grip of any demons who might have gained a foothold. With no basis [“legal right”] for their presence, demons may simply leave, or can easily be cast out.

Respond to God’s Truth

Rather than focus on demons, we need to concentrate on dealing with things in our lives that give demons access to us. Pray together, asking the Holy Spirit to show each of you any issues you need to face and to deal with. When the Spirit brings an issue to anyone’s mind, pray with that person that the Lord will heal, cleanse, or do whatever is necessary to provide freedom.

Unison Affirmation

Jesus, we praise you as resurrected Lord.
We acknowledge and rejoice in your supreme position in the universe.
We acknowledge your authority over evil and evil spirits.
We acknowledge your power to free us.
Jesus, we open our hearts and minds to you.
You who knows us fully and completely, yet has loved us forever.
Purge us of any garbage that clutters our lives,
Make us wholly and fully your own.

Copy this Bible Verse
Post it in your home, and memorize it

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31).