Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Category: Deliverance

Mine!

One of the many things I love about Jesus is the way He completely identifies Himself with me. Regardless of the cost to Himself, He has always been determined to show me the depth of His love.

You’ve got to really love someone to be crucified. It was one of the worst forms of execution ever devised with the victim nailed in place unable to move hands or feet, severely cramping muscles, slowly suffocating to death in agony. Jesus was perfect – even Pilate and Herod couldn’t find that He’d done anything wrong during His trials. But knowing it was the only way that I could be rescued from darkness and oppression and transferred into His Kingdom and adopted by His Father, Jesus was willing to be crucified. Not only was there the physical pain to contend with, public execution was shameful. If you’ve ever been told off by your boss in front of others or shouted at in the classroom by a teacher, you can appreciate a little of what Jesus went through. People being crucified were fair game for the general public to mock and laugh at, and Jesus had to face that. His very identity was challenged by the mockers. That’s hard to take. He suffered rejection – many of His closest friends stayed away; even His Father had to turn away when Jesus became sin so that I could have His purity. On the cross, He was silently showing everyone that He loved me, basically saying: ‘She’s mine!’

Jesus identifies with me in the spiritual realm. When I chose to follow Him at the age of ten, His Father transferred me out of the domain of darkness and into Jesus’ Kingdom. I didn’t appreciate what that meant until a couple of years ago. I had been plagued with demonic nightmares and unwanted presences in the house for several years. At first I put it down to imagination but my pastor and his wife realised it was far more than my imagination. They came and prayed round the house with Adi and me, and all of that darkness was forced to go because Jesus is mightier than any occult powers. Because Jesus has identified Himself with me, marked me as His own and given me His authority, demonic forces have to take notice and leave. They don’t have a choice because Jesus is the King.

Diamond RingI don’t need to worry about Jesus getting bored of me or changing His mind. My name is engraved on the palms of His hands – that sounds pretty permanent! He has also promised that one day, He will proudly present me before His Father with exuberant joy, and He will announce to His Dad and to all the angels: ‘Mandy is mine!’

When Adi asked me to marry him, he gave me a diamond ring. The cost was less than £50. But it marks me as his wife, I belong to him and he belongs to me. The Bible says that I, along with the whole Church, am being prepared as a beautiful bride for Jesus. He has given me His Spirit as an engagement ring. The cost to Jesus was His life. The Holy Spirit marks me as belonging to Jesus, and He belongs to me.

WOO HOO for a fantastic God!

Linking up today with Claire Musters, Helen Murray and Ros Bayes.

 

 

Rights

Face down on the dusty carpet while Adi prayed for me to be freed from a spirit of hatred I realised I had no rights.

I’d always known hating was wrong but I’d metaphorically shrugged my shoulders at God anyway and chosen to please myself. And now I was in a desperate situation, longing to be free, and not entirely sure I would ever rid my life of hatred.

In that awful moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God loves me with an everlasting love and is determinedly faithful to me. Years before, I’d chosen to hate even though I knew it was wrong. With my face in the carpet, I knew I had created the problem and that I didn’t deserve to ever be free of it. Jesus knew all about my sinful choice. He was well aware of my rebellion against Him. Yet He chose to die for me – to take away my sin and to pay the full price of committing it – so that He could set me free from the consequences of my wilful wrong choice.

LoveFor many people in our society, ‘Jesus’ is just a swear word. But God has given an invitation that anyone who believes in Jesus’ name has the right to become a Child of God. To believe in Jesus’ name is to believe that He is who He says He is – and He says He is God the Son. Some 2,000 years ago, the Son of God became a human being. He knew all about the restrictions of having a body. He felt hungry, thirsty, tired and probably was desperate for the loo on occasions. Just like us. Jesus experienced rejection, pain and death. He did it because it was the only way we could know who God is, and so that we could have true freedom and abundant life – to enjoy peace, love, security, acceptance.

John, the man who wrote about God’s invitation to believe in Jesus’ name, also wrote about God being light and shining in the darkness. When God’s light shines into situations, there is nowhere for darkness to hide. When you walk into a dark room, you don’t waste time chasing the darkness out of the room, you simply switch on the light. That is what happens in our lives when we accept God’s invitation to turn to Him and live to please Him. Darkness goes and God fills us with His light.

God’s light versus darkness and God’s love versus hatred seemed to be a theme of John’s life after He had met Jesus and become a follower. John wrote that we can have assurance that we have eternal life – eternal life is simply to know Jesus and the abundant life He gives that is full of joy, peace and hope – if we believe in Jesus’ name.

As people who deliberately choose to please ourselves and don’t really give a toss what God thinks or wants, we have no rights. Yet God is so bursting with love for us that He gives us the right to become His children if we believe in the name of Jesus.

Jesus: there is no other name through which to know God and to experience real freedom.

Linking up with:

Renewed Daily - Recommendation Saturday

Facebook Fast

This is my last post for six weeks. My church is having a forty day fast and depriving myself of social media, among other things, is my way of joining in. Facebook will be a tough one because I check in at least once a day. But I am looking forward to the break. Let me tell you why.

A couple of years ago, Adi and I were visiting the south of France. While there, the Holy Spirit highlighted to me that I was addicted to Facebook and Twitter and my smartphone. I had had some prayer counselling and deliverance ministry in the couple of months prior to this where it felt like God had been having a good rummage in my life and bringing unhealthy stuff and dark secrets to the surface. So in some ways the revelation that I had an addiction wasn’t a surprise, but at the same time it was. I hadn’t seen that one coming.

But when I thought about it, I had to agree with God that there was a problem. Most nights, I would check email, Facebook and Twitter on my smartphone over and over again compulsively. Word game apps were also a big downfall for me. Nothing wrong with them if you have self-control, but between the apps and the social media/email it could easily take me sixty to ninety minutes to put the smartphone down long enough to get to bed. I hadn’t seen the issue, but God had – and He wanted so much more for me than being chained to a bit of plastic technology.

And so I told God I was sorry and renounced my unhealthy dependence on the technology. He set me free from a spirit of addiction and filled me with His own Spirit. I deleted all the word game apps from my smartphone and took steps to not allow myself quite such easy access to Facebook and Twitter.

During that period of prayer counselling and deliverance, Jesus set me free from so many things that were like heavy chains weighing me down. I am so grateful to Him for what He has done. He is one amazing Saviour! WOO HOO HOO – HE’S BRILLIANT!

This verse has become my life motto – I want to show and tell the excellencies of the fantastic Father God who called me out of darkness and into His marvellous light. One way of doing this is through writing a book to share the wonderful and exciting story of Him healing me from a horrible illness and then turning my life upside down by setting me free from all kinds of oppression and filling me out to be the woman He always meant me to be. So one of the things I will be doing during my six week fast from social media is to concentrate on the editing of my book. Watch this space!


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