Ubiquitous Demonization

A question we are often asked is, “Who needs deliverance?” The answer is: Everyone! Everyone who comes into the Kingdom of God. That’s why Jesus made it the centerpiece of his mission statement in Luke 4:18-19 KJV 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Underline mine)

Let’s peruse this text to discover the root of my answer. First of all, who in the Kingdom of Darkness is not poor? Everyone is born into darkness, schooled in darkness, and lives out darkness thinking and is therefore poor; poor spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, financially; one or two of these, or all the above. We all, without exception, need the good news of the Kingdom of God.

How about broken-heartedness? Who among us came into the Kingdom of God without brokenness in our being? Obviously, everyone who makes the leap from darkness to light requires healing in the deep places of their person. The Hebrew concept of the heart is not just referring to the emotional being, but indicates the very core of the person. Each of us was damaged – whether severely or lightly – by the nature of darkness: to steal, kill, and destroy. Perhaps it was abuse of some sort, or neglect, or just the absence of the active presence of the Living God. But darkness injures. Therefore, Jesus’ mission is to heal that brokenness.

Let’s skip to preach deliverance to the captives for a moment and move on to the next section. Blindness, by its very definition, is darkness. The inability to experience the spiritual sight necessary to navigate the treacherous roads of life on this planet leaves us alone in our own wisdom, alone in our own darkness. Everyone who squirts through the birth canal into the Kingdom of Light is in need of sight, not just open eyes, but the equipping required to see for both personal and relational benefit. This understanding is not automatic but acquired through training and practice.

I find it intriguing that the bruised need liberty, as opposed to healing. This is another reference to the restriction, the constraint, the bondage in which we lived in the Kingdom of Darkness. Have you ever stubbed your little toe trying to make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night? For the next few days you will be dominated by the pain coming from one of the smallest parts of your body. Every step draws your focus; every time you roll over in bed your toe shrieks enslaving your entire consciousness. Anyone who has spent more than fifteen minutes in the Kingdom of Darkness has been bruised. Oh sure, we all develop coping mechanisms to cover for our hurt – arrogance to cover our insecurity, shyness to cover our shame, ferocity to repel anyone who would touch our injuries – and we live out our miserable existence pretending to be free when we are enslaved by ancient pain.

Who is really convinced that they are the favorite child of the Living God? The acceptable year of the Lord is the promise of the Year of Jubilee: no work, no striving, debts paid, and freedom from slavery. How many of us who have crossed over into the Kingdom of Light are convinced of this miracle? After a lifetime of relationships with church people, I assure you that rare is person who doesn’t just perform religious activities, but really thinks like the child of the King. Most of us have carried our rejection thinking from darkness into light without so much as a hiccup. It’s one of Satan’s best weapons. He’s convinced us that Father has rejected us; after all, didn’t He throw us out of the Garden?

Now for a quick philosophy class. If everyone is poor, necessitating the good news; and, if everyone is broken and in need of healing; and, if everyone is blind, demanding sight; and, if all are deeply bruised requiring liberty; and, if no one knows true acceptance; then, does it not follow that everyone who comes into the Light is in desperate need of deliverance?

What do I mean by deliverance? Deliverance is simply this: casting out the demons influencing one’s life. It’s not deliverance from attitudes, addictions, or thinking. It’s liberty from the demons assigned to maintain one’s darkness thinking even though the leap has already been made from one kingdom to another.

Deliverance is part of the atonement. That is, it is part of the salvation process. It is not automatic – just as the other five parts of the mission statement are not – but is something to be pursued once the threshold of the Kingdom of Light has been traversed. Therefore, just as one only needs to be born into the Kingdom once (assuming one does not get a case of the stupids and jumps back into darkness) so deliverance is necessary only once. After that, it is a matter of spiritual warfare: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

That’s the way to stay demon-free.

So, what about it? Do you really think like the King or just perform nice things for Him? Are you still wounded, even though nobody else would suspect? Are you aware of internal influences you can’t seem to overcome? Are you still as blind to the things of the Spirit as ever? And what about the bruises that control you?

Wouldn’t it be nice to not just be free but to have liberty? Freedom is the lack of bondage – liberty is the ability to think free and to act upon that freedom.

Today might be that day. Pursue deliverance as a part of working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Pursue freedom and liberty; it’s within your reach!

Tim Mather
More Info about Tim Mather Tim's Recent Articles Tim's Recent Webinars

Love With My Whole Heart?

February is usually the month that we think of decorating with hearts and sending Valentines to those we love. Have you ever said or thought, “I love you with my whole heart!”

With Christianity we are told, “In order to be saved, ask Jesus to come into your heart.” The problem with that statement is that it is not particularly biblical. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus mention coming into a person’s heart, nor is there any gospel presentation that uses the image of Jesus coming into a person’s heart. The scripture that is usually presented to “ask Jesus into your heart” is Revelation 3:20. But in the context of that scripture, Jesus is talking about intimacy with believers, not about a person getting saved.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20

When the New Testament gives a presentation of accepting Christ, it encourages people to believe (John 3:16), to receive (John 1:12), and to repent (Acts 3:19). To repent is to confront unbelief and change the way we think. Not just change our minds intellectually but to change in the inner person, the core of our being.

The ancient Hebrews understood that the heart is the inner person, the seat of emotions, thought and will. So when Peter stood in Solomon’s Colonnade after healing the crippled beggar and spoke to the people who gathered and said, “Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” they understood that it meant to change the way they think in the core of their being, They were to change in their very identity.

Most Christians are taught that “to repent” means to feel sorry and contrite and confess. But that is only a small beginning of true repentance. To actually repent means to allow change so deeply that there is a transformation that occurs from the inside out. Most attempts at “repentance” are attempting to change one’s behavior which is change from the outside in. Even Jesus chided the Pharisees calling them hypocrites and white washed tombs. They did everything right… on the outside with death on the inside.

So accepting Jesus is not about changing behavior. It is not about going to church more, reading the Bible more or praying more. It is not even about believing a new list of facts and rules.  It is about allowing a change in heart, in the core of one’s being: changing identity.

So how does one change their identity?

We have to hand in the old identity, the one that we have been building since we were born. That is the inner healing, transformational journey. That is true salvation, being made new through the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

Then we can say, “Jesus, I love you with the core of my being!”

Katie Mather
More Info about Katie Mather Katie's Recent ArticlesKatie's Recent Webinars

Fat Fantasies

I’ve been on a hundred diets. They don’t work. In fact, while starting a new diet produces some dramatic weight loss in the short term, inevitably, I find the weight I had lost and then add maybe five pounds to my original weight just for good measure. That’s how you create a fat guy.

But I’ve found out some stuff in all these weight wars: it’s a marathon not a sprint. For the past decade, I’ve been leisurely losing weight – a pound here and there – since I quit dieting. I have learned my needs; I’ve harnessed my wants (those stupid wants); and, sadly, have come face to face with the realization that magic does not exist, at least on the fat farm.

In watching the fat flow past in these deliverance retreats, I try hard not to be skeptical of any long term results in the pursuit of wholeness. Fat is relative. Spiritually speaking, it is the buildup of hurts, abuses, ignorance, and ridiculous doctrines making the Saints so sluggish and unhealthy that our lives are relegated to just making it through the next week until we can assuage our consciences in the confessionals of whatever religious system we choose.

Then the weekly diet begins: I will do better, I will pursue Jesus more . . . but real life appears every stinking Monday and poof! the diet disappears. For the rest of the week we choose the Twinkies instead of the organic, gluten-free, farm-fresh food that is good for us, that with make us healthy and strong. So we lose a couple of spiritual pounds on Sunday only to gain them back and add a few more on top.

That’s called yo-yo dieting.

Now we observe the event diet. Conferences, special meetings, or, maybe even retreats come along and we tend to leave all pumped up with rapturous revelations, intentions as high as ever to reject the sugars and fats of real life in favor of these new superfoods.

But alas, the scavengers quickly steal our new thinking, or the crises of life in our own particular circle of hell come back into focus and the stress fries us to crispy critters, or friends, family, and co-workers demand we return to our default thinking so as to keep their world in order and the good food is strangled (see Matthew 13:3-9). In any case, the fat of our existence once again takes up its role of ensuring lethargy, heart disease, or the myriad of other maladies associated with morbid obesity.

You know how to lose the fat, right? It’s not quick, it’s definitely not easy, but it is simple: stop consuming junk and, wait for it… EXERCISE! It’s a spiritual work out, dudes and dudettes (Philippians 2:12), not a commitment to sitting (in a couch, a pew or otherwise).

I find it inconceivable that folks put their lives on hold, take time off work, travel long expensive miles, and pay real money to come to a Deliverance Retreat, hear what most agree is life-changing teaching, receive rare and effective ministry, and in a few days or weeks so easily succumb to the pressures of life under the tyranny of the kingdoms of this world and return to their impotent, overwhelming, life-sucking default.

So, here it is: maybe it’s time to get off the couch pew and eat pure food you grow and prepare and consume. What we have been getting is empty, over-processed calories full of false preservatives and contaminants. It’s probably time for some roughage, some hearty meat full of protein to empower us toward changing our domain and maybe the world.

Take a minute out of your day and go over the notes from your retreat, especially if you went to Death Camp as well (aka the Advanced Wholeness Retreat.) Then use the other tools you’ve gather in your walk and find Jesus’ identity in you. If you aren’t changing into Him, life is just spending time spinning around the drain.

Suck it up and be Him. Nothing else matters. But beware: Wholeness isn’t for sissies. 

Tim Mather
More Info about Tim Mather Tim's Recent Articles Tim's Recent Webinars

No More Derek Jeter

Yankee fans (I can sense the puke rising in the back of my Southern friends’ throats) are still in mourning at the retirement of the Captain, Derek Jeter. He has been one of the greatest shortstops of all time, endearing himself in the hearts of the fans and ensconcing his name among the immortals enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But I would guess there are a couple of guys secretly thrilled at the news that Number 2 is flying the coop: the backup shortstops for the New York Yankees.

While we celebrate the talent of the man and sit in awe at his graceful play, his greatness has been in the way of others realizing their dream, their vision, their talents, and gifts.

The kingdoms of this world are smitten with celebrity. Whether it’s sports figures or actors or maybe even politicians (there comes the puke), we love them in all their natural charm and gifts. In fact, we often live vicariously through their accomplishments and calamities. When some famous person passes on, people weep and mourn as if they actually had a relationship with them.

But here’s a thought: Don’t we live in the upside-down Kingdom, the Kingdom of God? In this Kingdom there is only one celebrity and He sits on the throne above all things, the King of the Universe, the Living God, the Ancient of Days, and He shares His glory with no one. Yet, we Saints foster our own celebrity culture, degrading ourselves at the feet of mere men, forsaking the inheritance of the One True God.

We sit with our collective tongues hanging out as these self-appointed “giants” of the faith parade before us singing, teaching, preaching, healing, or prophesying without a whiff of concern that OUR gifts are being forfeited on the altar of celebrity.

What to do? I think it’s time to stand on our heads and let HIS blood rush to our heads.

Let’s talk titles. A point from our big brother:
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.       And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 
Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 
The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Matthew 23:8-12 (underline mine)

It’s pretty clear, I think: Jesus hates titles. Why? Because it is diametrically opposed to upside-down Kingdom concept of brother-kings. Look back at the underlined part. The gifted, the anointed, the talented are to be servants of the rest. Does it mean that we despise their skills? No. In fact, in our study of societies with servants (as opposed to slaves) it is a despicable thing to acknowledge a servant or the work he/she is doing; it is offensive to the servant because if they did their work well they would not have been seen. If they were acknowledged that meant they performed poorly.

That’s really upside-down thinking, especially for those of us who’ve grown up in a culture that craves fame.

The celebrities reinforce – adamantly – the ultimate celebrity culture: what they call the Five-Fold Ministry.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God
and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-13

Titles everywhere! Not so much.

Notice a few things:
      1)   Christ gave people, not gifts, talents or anointings. These aren’t intended to be titles;               they are a recognition of the nature and characteristics of a person out of whom flows some sort of activity beneficial to the Body of Christ. They are not offices or spiritual gifts, as is most often taught, but identities of individuals given as gifts to the rest of us. While we are thrilled to have them among us, they must not be placed on pedestals since that will destroy them as well as render them ineffective to those they serve.
      2)   The identities of these five kinds of people are true reflections of Jesus, the one sent with orders to reproduce himself, the prophetic voice of the Living God, the source of the good news, the good shepherd, and the model for us to follow in our quest to know Father. These folks are the five faces of Jesus.
      3)   These people must only do as models to assist in our transformation into the image of  the Most High. The danger of them doing is that the image of Christ naturally flows out their innate identity, so they will appear to be superstars to those of us who weren’t born with one of these identities.

So we spend year after year sitting on the bench watching them be them, intimidating us into nothingness, worthlessness, and pew-warming boredom. When this revelation hits us, we will move Derek and those like him into the position they were created to play: COACHING.

If you are sitting under someone’s ministry (not that I would tell anyone what to do) get what he/she can teach you and get out onto your own team where you can be a starting player. At the very least, you’ll have fewer splinters in your posterior. 

Tim Mather
More Info about Tim Mather Tim's Recent Articles Tim's Recent Webinars

Deliverance is Messy

Deliverance creates chaos in the church. Why? In our 30 plus years of deliverance ministry we have seen pastors fear and avoid deliverance. Pastors spend much of their ministry focus and time on trying to keep the ship/church from rocking and keeping its course. Deliverance ministry is messy, not in how it is administered. If ministered correctly, prophetically, it is a simple prayer ministry that frees the individual from the strongman and his entourage. They are embedded within an individual’s thoughts and beliefs to “steal, kill, and destroy” one’s ability to experience abundant life in the Kingdom of Light.

Deliverance removes this foreigner, this squatter. Deliverance is also like surgery to remove a tumor (the demonic presence) that toxifies the whole person. But just like the need for post-surgery recovery, one needs to pursue the rest of Luke 4:18: healing the broken hearted and liberty from the bruises that rule us.

Demons are focused on maintaining the bruise in our soul. They want us to be focused on our pain, rather than experiencing the liberating healing that God provides. When we are emotionally wounded in life, our emotions are frozen at the emotional/physical age they occurred. How absurd that we Christians are working so hard to be spiritually mature when we are so broken and emotionally immature. Deliverance is the first stage of walking away from emotional immaturity. The soul healing journey pursued after deliverance is the process of maturing emotionally and therefore walking into spiritual maturity.

Comparing the church to the family, parenting immature toddlers is easier than parenting teens and young adults. Toddlers are focused on their most basic needs: food, attention, and comfort. They are immature in how to meet their own needs and are dependent upon others for meeting those needs. Teens are discovering and pressing toward independence. They want responsibility and are learning how to meet their own needs to develop a life independent of their parents.

Young adults, while physically more mature than toddlers and teens, struggle with responsibility. While they want to be on their own, often face difficult decisions and make mistakes. Life gets difficult and messy. Teens reject the strong parenting controls of their childhood, but young adults also may reject the gentle life coaching they so desperately need. In the church we call these kinds of people “rebels” because they are judged as rejecting “spiritual authority.” But refusing authoritarian controls and not wanting to be treated like an immature child is simply “growing up.”  In Ephesians 4:14-15, Paul says that we must become mature.

Growing up is messy.

That is why lots of parents emotionally abandon their grown children. It is too hard and too messy. It has easier when they were little and parents had absolute control. Very few parents teach their children how to grow up. Even if they do teach them to drive, maintain a checking account, and get a job, very few parents train them how to have healthy emotions and relationships. Even fewer parents coach their children how to function as successful adults.  The church or pastor’s goal should be to train up disciples to leave them and the safe “crib” of the church, to go into all the world and reproduce for the Kingdom. Growing up is messy and deliverance is messy but it is the beginning of spiritually maturity.

Katie Mather
More Info about Katie MatherKatie's Recent ArticlesKatie's Recent Webinars

The Secrets Behind Dysfunctional Families

God’s original plan for families is that parents would have a close relationship with Him so that they would naturally reflect God’s nature to their children. As children would see the nature of God in their parents, this would create a healthy, nurturing environment for all family members.

After the Fall of Adam and Eve, mankind was no longer able to reflect God to their children. Since then, no one has been raised by perfect parents, so all parents are to some degree dysfunctional.

Families are to meet the physical needs of children like food and shelter. Parents provide training and instruction in life skills. Healthy parents should also meet the emotional and relational needs of children.

A family is dysfunctional when emotional needs are not met and relationships are not affirming. Often a dysfunctional family focuses attention on an emotionally needy family member while other’s emotional needs are neglected. Children learn that their needs and emotions are not important. For whatever reason, a dysfunctional family fails to provide appropriate nurture for developing children.

Children are taught lies about themselves which can cause lifelong damage. These are the same lies that parents learned from their parents. Children accept destructive roles within the family like: role reversal where the child emotionally takes the responsibilities of the parent, and a surrogate spouse to the opposite-sex parent. Children can feel responsible for the peace in the family or be the one who is blamed for the problems of the family.

Functional families consider conflict a normal part of life but a dysfunctional family discourages open talk about obvious problems. It is closed to the outside world and attempts to keep problems hidden and therefore family members lose perspective on what is considered normal and have an inability to communicate.

When feelings and emotions are portrayed as unimportant, children are taught to stay out of touch with their feelings by intellectualizing, minimizing, denial, isolating and stuffing their feelings. Compulsive behavior is another way to avoid feelings through repetitive behavior. The compulsion to control develops as a response to a family-life out of control.

Parents are only functional when they have dealt with their own emotional baggage and can be emotionally available for their children’s emotional issues. Dysfunctional parents carry their emotional baggage and pass it on to their children. Children can feel shame for the parent’s problems. Shame is transmitted through direct statements or a parent’s attitude towards life. Family secrets, abuse, unresolved traumatic events and unmet needs all produce shame.  A shame-based identity says to hide who you are and try to work for acceptability. People try to hide their shame by acting shameless, or through rigid, religious activity and perfectionism.

1 John 3:1 says, “How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” We are his children and He is the perfect parent we never had. God wants to undo all the damage we have accumulated in life, heal our broken hearts and extract all the lies we believe about ourselves.

God has provided a plan all throughout the New Testament of His healing and restoration for broken lives. Deliverance is the first step to remove the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy, “infesting” the wounds of the soul. After Deliverance the broken heart needs healing.

At our Wholeness Retreats, we facilitate the healing journey after deliverance. All sessions are designed to take people to another level of freedom. Whether you are stuck in your recovery or just want to get a boost to more healing, call to register for our Wholeness Retreat. Get a good start on discovering the you Father meant you to be! Please see our website page on Wholeness Retreats for more information.
Katie Mather
More Info about Katie MatherKatie's Recent ArticlesKatie's Recent Webinars

Circling the Wagons

Sometimes you just need to step back from the mess and reassess. Life is messy. Relationship is messy. Family is messy. We’ve just moved to north Georgia and are living with my sister until we sign on our new house. Things are getting messier in this unique situation and chaos has ensued.

Our five children have had varying reactions to moving. Some were thrilled, some don’t care but will be excited when we get to our own house, and some are struggling. Day after day is filled with a busy schedule of school, work, gaming, eating, cleaning, watching TV, sibling spats, shopping, and more. But when the kids start fighting more than usual, we know we need to bring them together.

“Family meeting!”

The kids come from all directions in the house. There are offenses going untended. There are bad attitudes creating more bad attitudes. Everything seems to be toppling out of control.

When we call a family meeting, we never do the same thing, except one major detail—pry open the lines of communication. We talk about all the negativity floating around. Oldest girl keeps bossing around the younger kids. Son keeps calling sister names. Middle sister hit the other middle sister. The usual family stuff.

But the offenses and attitudes are not really the issue. It’s a heart issue. Under the surface of their behavior, there is something painful hiding. It is their motivation for fighting or bossing or name-calling.

I wish we could have figured it out sooner that these unseen wounds were hiding. Physical wounds are much easier to see and tend to. Wounds deep in their spirit are unspoken but are more real than the physical. They dictate whether they feel safe, whether a bossy sister will bother them, and whether being called a jerk will hurt.

We lay our children in the Father’s arms and ask him to guide us toward the hidden wounds. We talk about it, bringing light to it. We acknowledge how much it hurts. We invite the Holy Spirit into those painful places.

When it seems things are out of control and chaotic, don’t hide and ignore it. The chaos may stop temporarily but will surely return—sometimes in more painful ways. Press into your family, circle the wagons and unite your family in defense against the wounds that rule their hearts—and yours. Bring the healing presence of the Holy Spirit into the core of your home.

Heather Trim
Heather's Recent ArticlesHeather's Blog