Setting Captives Free
By Scott L
For those of us who are believers, Jesus has called us to “be a light in the world”, to set the captives free, and to go out as He did to defeat the works of the devil.
Today I share these two testimonies (below) to bring glory to the name of Jesus because His word says if we fear not, we shall overcome the enemy and set captives free!
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Revelation 12:11)” May each of us grow into a greater revelation of such a divine purpose for our lives’.
“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ( Matthew 5:15-16) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, (Isaiah 61:1 & Luke 4:18)
“… God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (ACTS 10:38)
“I am going to send you to the Gentiles, to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.” ( ACTS 26:18 )
For two Fridays in a row, I was thrust into the darkest places which I can only describe as “standing in the enemy camp among the fires of hell”.
In both cases, the people involved we literally led out of the captivity of darkness (by the Holy Spirit), into the saving light of Jesus Christ. In both cases, the light of heaven overtook darkness and revealed the love of God to men who had become deceived and stuck in darkness. The Bible says “yet while they were still sinners, God so loved the world he sent His son”. This scripture reveals the very nature of God’s love for the world but I also believe it is a message for us as followers as well. Since we are His son’s and daughters, we are called to affect the same world by sharing the good news of His love for them, and in doing so use the truth found in Jesus’ finished work to set captives free from oppression, the affects of sin. It sounds complicated but is actually pretty simple if we reduce it all to revealing God’s truth in love.
In this story, I was at a place of business where I openly shared the love of Jesus several months back with the company vice president, planting seeds of hope for a man clearly tormented by life’s circumstances. Although the gentleman was raised as a Catholic, and attending church, he was living a life oppressed by the difficulties most of us have experienced at times in life. His faith and church attendance did not seem to have him walking in the true joy of his salvation, a place most people don’t believe is possible to experience while we are afflicted. The truth is, we can experience such joy in our walk as demonstrated by Paul himself who was singing while chained in prison, when we are truly set free with truth.
My friend at the time was open and appreciative when I shared the truth of God’s love for him, and helped him understand just how to walk in such ways that he had never heard or experienced before. I tried to explain that much of the turmoil he was experiencing was common for all of us in life, but that the turmoil doesn’t have to rob our peace. Scripture says we will all experience tribulation – we don;t have to look far to know we are in the middle of a war for souls here on earth, and often we each can face significant difficulties at times.
One of our greatest misunderstandings as believers, is that we often allow such difficulties to define our relationship with God. What we often fail to perceive is that such difficulties are only the enemy trying to separate us from the love of Jesus, and take our eyes off God and off our true destiny. The devil actually uses tribulation in life as “an intentional distraction”, knowing most believers will simply become so crushed much by the weight of difficulties, we’ll take our eyes off God and try to exist by our own means. Once the enemy gets us isolated that place, isolated and filled with self pity, we then will often come to a place where in misunderstand the source of trouble, and we begin to curse God for allowing such events to take place. The devil is simply a con artist who knows how to subtly twist truths in life to turn our hearts from God. Repentance in it’s purest form, is simply learning how to “turn our hearts” back to God when face with such deceptions in life. This is why Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
I simply shared some these words of life and encouragement of the Gospel with my friend and told him “don’t buy the lie, it’s the enemy trying to keep you from God”! He got it, and seemed to be touched and understood the truth in my words….at that time, he looked like a light went off in his head and he then profusely thanked me for taking the time to shed some light on his troubles. I believe he experienced his first taste of the freedom of Jesus’ message for us, similar to a captive being set free from bondage.
Fast forward four months, and this same gentleman recognizing truth in what I shared in the fall, now asked me if I would pray for him for some of his recent struggles. We went into a private location, and he began to share with me how he was now recognizing the voice of the enemy trying to deceive him with turmoil and feelings of offense, especially regarding his wife, yet he couldn’t seem to stop the voices and feelings. He said he felt so tormented, angry, and depressed over the past several months, and felt somewhat stuck in it all. But he also mentioned that through each tribulation, he could hear my voice reminding him that the enemy was simply at work trying to deceive him from truth, and keep him from God, in the middle all of the chaos. For anyone to get this part, is actually really good progress and the first step to getting set free from the negative affects of difficulties in life.
As out time continued, my friend shared the difficult details with me how his addiction to pornography had led him into such a dark emotional place, that he asked his wife to participate in unthinkable acts. His mind had become so deceived by the lusts of pornography, that it entered his marriage like a cancer ready to kill. Through pornography, his marriage clearly became ensnared by the enemy, which led to even greater acts of sin and darkness, which also led the marriage to a very dark place. We should never forget, the job description of the devil is to “kill, steal, and destroy”, and if we don’t guard our hearts and become deceived by the lusts of the flesh and the world, we lose our focus on God and then provide “the foothold” for the enemy to deceive us…..and he (the destroyer) will happily oblige to step up to the task. Scripture says it’s the goodness of God that leads a man to repentance. When men truly begin to lay hold of this truth, and see just how good life can be walking closer to God, then sin no longer has the same allure, and these same men who were actively sinning, begin to walk a more pure life with greater joy. It is true freedom in life.
I have to admit, just listening to the story was a shock to me as I was seeing and smelling the horrible affects of darkness within a man so deceived by sin that he was completely ensnared, and broken to the point of losing his marriage. I live a really simple life these days, far from the influences of the world, fiercely protecting my heart from such worldly lusts, and I had forgotten just how harsh the world can be when living a deceived life, following the ways of this world that many folks believe to be harmless. I am so thankful that there is another way we can live, free from bondage, rooted and grounded in the life of Jesus, rooted and grounded in peace and love, overflowing with joy. I am so thankful I have been restored!
Well, the end of the story is that I simply spent about 45 minutes “loving the lost” and “ministering truth” bringing light into the dark places of deception deep within his misunderstandings. I simply took time to help him see clearly and separated darkness from light in his life. I shared what Jesus taught about “love keeping no account of wrongs”, and how if he was truly born again, he is now a child of God, and a citizen of heaven, no longer born of the family of Adam who belong to this world. who are helpless to sin. I revealed that as a child of God, he is no longer subject to the bondage of sin nor it’s affects. Jesus died to remove the bondage of sin that this man was suffering, but no one had taken the time to tell him that fact. (dead to sin, alive to Christ Rom 6:11) Often, simply understanding that we are now new creations in Christ can set many people free who were/are stuck in bondage and believe they are still old creations of this world. Knowing our identity can often set Christians completely free! (check out my article on “Was Jesus really the death of sin in my life?” )
We prayed together for redemption, forgiveness, and restoration, and by faith I know God heard our prayers and the Holy Spirit will help set this man and his marriage free from sin and the bondage of offense and deception. He already shared with me that he no longer watches pornography! Where there is a will, there is a way with God!
The Bible says “the power of life and death is in the tongue”…I really understand that now that now I’ve seen countless people set free in the past two years, simply through explaining truth and releasing blessings in their lives with the power of faithful prayers. When we begin speaking “Kingdom life”, truth, and God’s purposes into their souls, it works in agreement with God’s desires and releases the power of the Holy Spirit to restore lives. It’s far greater than seeing the affects of positive verses negative thinking, it’s actually bringing heaven to earth! God is a God of life and a God of Love, and He has called us who are His children, to use our voices (through love) to set the captives free who do not understand the real freedom we can attain from sin, simply by knowing we are children of God, guarding our hearts, and most importantly, surrendering our thoughts, our will, and our lives to Jesus, so that He can transform us into His holy people and bring more of heaven, into a dark world.
Some need more teaching than others, but there is always hope for even the darkest situations with one solution for all, …..that answer is found in Jesus. Let’s run with our destiny, and become the face of love for a lost world!
In the second incident, my friend Tom asked if Mike Tiso and I could stop by his neighbor’s house after attending a spirit filled healing service earlier that night. Although we totally immersed in light from such a powerful service, as we walked into the house, I was totally shocked by the atmosphere and the events that began to unfold.
To help further set the stage, Tom had been praying for this house for four years, and he invited us over to meet them for this specific purpose (i.e. “pulling the family out of the flames of deception” which had over-run their lives)….He and Mike just forgot to mention that minor detail to me before entering the house, which felt a bit like walking into the devils playground!
You may think that sounds naive, but Oh My Gosh… the house was filled with total chaos and it looked a bit like a non-fiction horror movie playing though my eyes. Honestly, it’s hard to fully describe the sense of real darkness we had just stepped in to in a large home filled with six teenage boys. Here’s the scene, four boys were participating in and cheering on, a “staged gladiator fight” between the pet black cat and two mice. They had placed all three in man-made corral, trying to entice the cat to rip apart and eat the poor mice, laughing uncontrollably at the pending death trap! While they were cheering on the fight, one other boy was completely enchanted playing a south park video on a 50” screen while the sound was blaring in our ears 10 feet away. Another boy was playing some really loud drums 20 feet away, and just to round out the picture, the father was singing Karaoke tunes on some other loud speakers! Oh but wait, it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t share that the oldest boy who was a neighbor, was showing us his 8” “satanic pentagram” that he had drawn in magic marker, on his stomach! It was total darkness!
None the less, as the three of us went in (Mike, Tom, and myself) we all knew we were on assignment from God to share the Gospel and the love of Jesus, so we began to minister “truth in love”.
OK if I’m honest, I have to admit it was a bit hard for me at first to adjust and minister in such a place of total darkness, but after seeing Mike Tiso fearlessly thrust himself into the darkness and immediately preaching the gospel to the teenage boys, I knew that game was on! I literally went out of the house, shook off the cobwebs, hit the “reset button” in my head, and went back in a few minutes later with full armor God and a new sense of mission! I came to understand the burden of Tom’s heart for this family, who for four years was setting the stage for this night through his prayers, and I knew as a team our mission was to bring light into this home. And oh what a night began to unfold……
First, Tom get’s us through the gates and makes the introductions, then Mike walks in like a fearless gladiator who instead of taking one step back like I did at first, took three steps forward and entered the lion’s den! Mike took on the teenage boys, while Tom took on the girlfriend, and I eventually connected with the dad. In a short time, Mike was full tilt, sharing the message of salvation with the younger boys. It was astonishing to watch Mike while fire burned within him for these young souls! Pure poetry in action!
All this was happening while the dad watched from a distance. It began inspiring me to go deeper with the father of the boys while Mike was speaking with them so during that time, I was sharing healing testimonies that rocked the dad so much he got goose bumps, so I used those testimonies (as I normally do!) to springboard into God’s love and real message of freedom, helping him understand what Jesus really accomplished, verses “man-made religious doctrines”. By now, the girlfriend had left so Tom began moving back and forth in the house, infusing his words of truth where ever any “dark holes” appeared in the house!!
Well, eventually we all rotated among the residents in the rooms (more than once) and openly ministered the Gospel of God’s love to them from multiple angels for over two and a half hours. It was like we had become three parts of one well oiled machine, pouring out light everywhere we walked and talked! So cool!
When we began, the father of the house was clearly dying inside from such horrific happenings he shared with us that were done against him from his ex wife (who happens to be a witch). For eight years his ex and her husband have been plotting against him in wicked ways attacking him through defamation and trying to harm him in every way to ruin his life and it had been working. She even showed up one night at his front door, in her wedding dress, covered in blood. Tell me the devil doesn’t use deceived people for his puppets. Clearly this man had been tormented for 8 years by demonic forces trying to ruin his life.
But then, Jesus showed up in the form of three men, to help set him and his home free! We ministered truth, we broke strongholds of deception, strongholds of a broken heart, strongholds of a man tormented by the real abuses, we broke curses of a deranged ex-wife who was consuming his thoughts and his heart with bitterness, we broke chains of oppression, and we ministered the peace and love that Jesus died for on the cross, teaching him how to lay it all at down through Jesus. We prayed and prayed more, set this broken man free from torment, and released the Kingdom of heaven in his home. Many may think this to be no more than a theatrical show of good intentions, but I assure you this is all very real in God’s Kingdom. By the end, his face visibly looked like the face of a new man, set free, full of hope for a new life.
It was amazing! Although this assignment wasn’t very tidy (in fact it was pretty stinky at some points) after two+ hours, the entire household was visibly transformed, the teenage boys seemed at peace, light pieced the darkness, and this broken man had his hope in life renewed. At the end of the night, his very words were “it feels like I’ve hit a new turning point tonight!”
Who knew God could use three unlikely men of God, completely unique, each equipped very differently for the Kingdom, ministering gifts to a household like a revolving wheel of light, yet in total unity of purpose to pull this family out of the flames of hell?
It was like walking into the enemy camp, a war zone, and setting captives/prisoners free in the spirit realm, yet it was beautifully poetic as a ballet while the spirit orchestrated every detail!
You just can’t make this stuff up when led by the spirit; following Jesus is indeed an adventure! The Bible says that “some plant, some water, but it is God who gives the increase”…I’m believing that this house is now a reclaimed territory for Jesus, about to produce a lot of fruit for the Kingdom! Amen