Why This Ministry Came into Being
The Dream of Liberty; The Reality of Captivity
Throughout the Body of Christ there are those who suffer not only from diseases of the body, but from the many and varied dis-eases of the soul: stressed by anxious concerns, carrying deep pain from the past, depressed in heart and spirit or just plagued by that whole host of negative emotions which can so easily quench the simple joy of living. Rather than being released into the glorious liberty of the children of God, many believers have become captive to their inner lives —at the very time when the world needs a witness of the life-changing power of the gospel. As in Isaiah’s day we are a people in need of restoration.
But this is a people robbed and plundered; all of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prison houses; they are for prey, and no one delivers; for plunder, and no one says, "Restore!" Isaiah 42:22
This book grew out of a conviction that there is a real power of transformation available through faith in Christ, but that His words of life are somehow not reaching the people in a way that they can appropriate. As a pastor I knew the frustration of preaching and pleading “trust the Lord and follow Him” as the great answer to life’s problems and a very real means of recovering peace (which it is)—yet rarely saw the needed changes come to others. I was gently haunted by a passage in Jeremiah about speaking words that do not heal.
They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!' when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14
I realized that others needed more, because I myself needed more. From the first moments of my new life, I had been introduced to the ministry of deliverance and have been gratefully walking in the benefits of that early release from bondage ever since. But there would be much more in the tangled mess of my innermost emotional life than could be addressed by simple deliverance. It was of course very important that I was willing to try to trust the Lord and seek to follow Him—these two requirements of basic discipleship (along with Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship and service) certainly bring tremendous comfort, growth and healing to those who walk in them. Basic discipleship helped me live with my pain and damaged inner life, it even helped me prune away the unwanted fruit, but it was not mending my heart or getting to the root issues that were causing me such abiding anguish.
Again and again I discovered (happily) that God was sending into my life two other graces that did much to mend me: strong revelation of Truth and inner healing by His Spirit. Revelation and inner healing are therefore, two goals of this teaching series. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal Truth in the way we need to receive it and only the Spirit can do the transforming works of ministry. But there is much that we can do to position ourselves for grace to happen. Why else would He entreat us so often in scripture to seek Him (1 Chronicles 16:11)?
Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6
I leave it to God and the devil to provide the pop quizzes, times of testing, and final exams. The Lord never tempts us at any time, but He does provide opportunities for growth. In our times of trial and struggle God is “testing” to see if we are ready and willing to take a step upwards into greater faith and faithfulness (He already knows, but do we?). At just the same time that this is going on, the enemy is tempting us to come into agreement with his distorted perspective, take on his demented attitudes, and walk in his destructive ways. I pray that you will learn to recognized the difference, shun the enemy and hearken to the Lord. May this become your time of learning the lessons of the heart and growing greatly in grace!