March 01, 2008

dealing with demonic affliction over the telephone with a gulf arab believer

Last night I got a call from a friend who's been a believer for about 1 year. I could tell by her voice that something was wrong. She told me that there was a small lump on her lower back and that she was in a lot of physical pain. This young woman was gripped with fear as well having already convinced herself that it must be cancer.

To reassure her, I told her that dealing with this situation was going to be easy. God had already healed her several times before over the phone (see Feb. 2nd blog post, "gulf arab believer healed of a migraine").

I had complete confidence that we would see the breakthrough. I knew it was totally a spiritual problem because it had started out with a sensation as if someone had a hand on her back. From there, a lump developed and the pain increased. All of this happened in the course of a week.

I prayed for her and the pain left, but the lump was still there. Next, I instructed her to tell the lump to go and whatever spirit was attached to it. When she did that, the lump disappeared.

After this, I talked with her about the issue of fear, and how fear was like an 'open door' that had enabled the enemy to attack and afflict her. Then all of a sudden she says, "the lump is back".

A righteous anger rose up inside of me and I was thinking "this thing is so done"! Then I instructed to ask forgiveness for her fear and command the lump to leave a final time. The lump left again and we gave thanks together.

My preference would have been to minister to her in person - especially since it was clearly a demonic problem. This wasn't possible yesterday. We are discovering that our authority isn't limited to ministry in person - as we have been seeing God's Kingdom released over the phone and even through emails.

God breaks into a group of hindus

Isaac of Ninevah and I had a 'bad night' a few nights ago - we waited on the Lord, got some words of knowledge and then for about an hour or so seemed to 'miss it' with just about everyone we approached. We literally saw nothing happen.

While out at a park yesterday, I was anxious to 'get back in the saddle'. A group of Indian hindus were having a picnic, but this was obviously a religious group as they were having some sort of 'religious study' (doing Q&A regarding the hindu scriptures).

While watching them, I got a word of knowledge for a left arm condition and decided it was time to forget our 'bad night' a few nights before. I approached them and after some explanation, one man with a left shoulder and neck condition (not exactly where I got the word, but 'close enough' I figured) allowed me to pray.

I asked him if it was hurting at that very moment, which it was. We prayed once and he said that the pain decreased a little. I decided to "swing the bat" again (if you only knew how many healings have come after a 2nd or 3rd time of prayer). This time I could really sense the Kingdom come and the Lord took away all the pain in this man's neck - who subsequently began testifying to his friends.

We were in the park close to them for more than an hour after that. I had hoped that some more of them would come to us for healing, but I think their 'hindu scripture study leader' may have discouraged that.

February 29, 2008

which ministries should we be evaluating? the ones that demonstrate NO POWER

Today there are numerous Christian ministries who in the name of 'discernment' and correcting 'false doctrine', spend the majority of their time attacking and/or attempting to discredit Christian ministries who are contending for signs, wonders and miracles. All you have to do is to do a "google search" with the name of a ministry and/or minister who is seeing healing miracles and up will pop numerous Christian websites warning you to beware. Tragically, many Christians have been manipulated by these so-called 'discernment ministries' and are crippled spiritually because fear and suspicion have been sown. The 'fear of deception' continues to cripple believers everywhere. The fact is that their devil is way too big and their God, way too small. It is almost as if God isn’t able to keep His Bride from being deceived!

Why am I prompted to post a blog about this issue? Because from a New Testament perspective it is in fact the ministries with 'no power' that should be under scrutiny. Jesus didn't teach without demonstrations of power, nor did the Apostles, and nor did the Church in the Book of Acts. However, today there are thousands of Churches and ministries all around the world that hardly ever see (and most definitely do not expect to see) the miraculous signs of the Kingdom – healing, prophecy, deliverance, etc. Why aren't these powerless Churches and ministries the ones that pop up in 'google searches' as being the unBiblical ones who are in serious error? Perhaps it is because those who do move in true signs and wonders are too busy demonstrating the Kingdom in power to a lost world and simply don't have time to criticize other Christians.

Biblically, a Gospel without miracles is a deficient one. Jesus boldly proclaimed that if he didn't do the works of His father (i.e. the miracles), that people SHOULD NOT believe His message (John 10:37). How many Churches would need to be closed down tomorrow if we applied this same criterion today? How many ministries would be able to keep their donor bases if they declared, “Unless we perform the miracles of Jesus, stop supporting us”?

The Apostle Paul was no different than Jesus. He was a preacher but refused to preach without power. His declared boldly that his preaching was not simply with "wise and persuasive words, BUT with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that [the Corinthian’s] faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God". (1 Cor. 2:4-5). Paul goes further – In 1 Cor. 4:19-20, he says, “But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, NOT THE WORDS of those who are arrogant BUT THEIR POWER. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power. In other words, he is rebuking the other teachers who are trying to influence the Corinthian Church by essentially mocking their lack of power. They only brought ‘words’, Paul brought ‘words with demonstrations of power’.

How ironic that today it is just the opposite. How far have we moved away from the Scriptural model, when those who move in power are suspect and those with no power are considered 'doctinally sound'. Let us hope that neither Jesus or Paul decide to come back today for a ministry visit, because there is little doubt their ministries would considered dangerous and even heretical by many Christians today.

I want to honor each and every ministry that is pursuing God’s power to be demonstrated today on the earth. It matters not that we currently don’t see true Apostolic Christianity on the earth – praise God for those who are contending for its return. Praise God for those who are even believing for John 14:12 – believing that one day we will even see the “greater works”. It is these who are the TRUE FUNDAMENTALISTS. They are the ones who truly stand on the God’s Word and choose not to water it down – regardless of what their experience (or rather lack of experience) tells them. It is these are the true champions of FAITH, choosing to believe even when they are not yet seeing.

Rather than criticizing those who are contending for signs, wonders and miracles, we should applaud those who are at least swinging the bat. Yes, it is true that many ministries are 'on the way' (including our own) where they are not yet seeing what they believe they will. Many wheelchairs are not yet being emptied and many blind eyes are not yet opening, but SOME are and more and more will be.

Rather than throwing mud at other Christians because someone who seemed to get healed actually didn't (a common accusation against healing ministries), why aren't those same ministries lamenting the fact that they have never seen a miracle of healing ever take place through their own ministry?

February 26, 2008

one sure way to lose friends (and gain new ones)

For years, our lives and ministry wasn't characterized by much power. Theoretically, I always believed in God's power but didn't see much. About 8 years ago I got provoked. I saw something; I saw power demonstrated that I knew I didn't have. It wasn't a healing or a demon being cast out either - it was prophetic power. I saw for the first time the gift of prophecy under a powerful anointing function. It was absolutely stunning. I could have dismissed it, I could have tried to theologically explain it away (or at least reason it was merely a 'sovereign anomoly' and not to be expected as normal).

Well that was then and almost 8 years later a Christianity with power has become what we expect today as normal. When we don't see regular miracles today, we think something is wrong.

We try to blog the things God is doing, but in addition from time to time I send out a more personalized email update to a group of friends (and/or acquaintances) who through the years have expressed a desire to know more about the things God is doing in the Middle East amongst muslims.

Why do I mention this? Because each time I send out an email update, I get at least one or two people who write back and ask to kindly be taken off our emailing list. For years, we saw little or no miracles happening and no one every asked to be taken off the list - but in the past few years, since our ministry has begun to see supernatural things, people no longer want to hear.

I know we all get lots of junk email and I don't fault people who simply don't want to receive more emails that they aren't reading. I just find it ironic that for years our ministry really looked nothing like the type of ministry that we read about in the pages of the Gospels and the New Testament and people never seemed to want to be taken off the mailing list. As our ministry began to resemble more and more the ministry of Jesus (admitting that we still a long way from anything resembling His life and ministry), people ask us to stop sending the reports.

As sad as this is, I can say that for every friend we have lost moving in this direction, we have gained even more. For every Church that no longer wants to associate with us, we have gained a couple of others that do.

Miracles always have had this effect upon people (they sure did in Jesus' life - He wouldn't have been crucified if he had simply stuck to his teaching ministry). Supernatural occurrences have always either repelled people or drawn them - rarely do people remain neutral.