HOOKS OF THE HEART, HOOKS OF THE SOUL: FREEDOM BEYOND DELIVERANCE

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Numbers, which was written by Moses the servant of the LORD. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the first verse of the twenty-third chapter and continues through to the twelfth verse of the twenty-sixth chapter. In order to understand that which is found within these chapters it is necessary to turn and direct your attention back to the words which are found in the twenty-second chapter of this Old Testament book. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the twenty-second chapter you will find the children of Israel moving onward after securing two major victories on the eastern side of the Jordan River. As you read the words which are found within the previous chapter you will find that the congregation of the children of Israel engaged in conflict and battle—not only with Sihon king of Heshbon, but also with Og king of Bashan. In both cases we find a king marching out against the children of Israel in order to overtake and overthrow them. Undoubtedly there had been reports circulating through the land concerning the children of Israel as this powerful people which emerged from the land of Egypt and having passed through the waters of the Red Sea into the wilderness. Undoubtedly there were reports that were circulating throughout and among the nations and peoples of the earth how the LORD God of the Hebrews had devastated and destroyed the land of Egypt in order to bring forth the children of God from the midst of their slavery, bondage and oppression. What’s more, is that there would have been reports that emerged and circulated within and among the nations and peoples of the earth concerning the great display of strength and might the LORD God manifested on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel at the Red Sea, as He not only divided the waters and allowed them to walk through, but He also destroyed and overthrew the Egyptians who attempted to pursue them through the waters of the sea. It would be while the Egyptian horses and chariots were in the midst of the waters of the Red Sea the LORD would cause the chariot wheels to come off the chariots of Egypt, and would even thrust the Egyptian army into confusion before finally causing the waters of the sea to come crashing down over and upon them. There is not a doubt in my mind that after the great salvation which was manifested at the Red Sea on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel that the nations and peoples were absolutely buzzing with news and reports of this powerful people who not only emerged from the land of Egypt and passed through the Red Sea, but also which had God fighting for them on their behalf.

With this being said, I would also dare say that in addition to the reports which the nations and peoples of the earth heard concerning the devastation of Egypt and the manifestation of power at the Red Sea, there were also reports of how the living God had led the children of Israel through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It might very well be that the nations and peoples of the earth heard of the tremendous encounter the congregation of the children of Israel had at Horeb in the wilderness, and how the living God descended upon the mountain in and with a consuming fire. There would undoubtedly have been a tremendous amount of reports that circulated through and among the nations of the earth—not only concerning the living God fighting for and on behalf of the congregation of Israel, but also the living God leading and providing for His people. There would undoubtedly have been reports which would have circulated among the nations and peoples of the earth concerning how the living God provided for His people—not only by bringing forth water from the rock twice, but also as the living God provided for His people by giving them bread from heaven. This isn’t even including the strong east wind which the LORD caused to bring quail into the midst of the camp to provide for them meat. It’s quite powerful to think about and consider the tremendous reports that would have circulated among the nations of the earth concerning that which the living God had done for them and on their behalf, and the nations of the earth would have been utterly dismayed at what they heard concerning this people who were marching through the wilderness. What’s more, is that while it is true that these reports would have been circulating during this time—it is highly unlikely that any of the nations and peoples of the earth knew where they were headed, or what they would do once they arrived. I would imagine there would have been a lot of uncertainty and mystery that surrounded the children of Israel and what their God was going to do with and through them. Pause for a moment and consider that thought—the thought that it is possible for others before and around you to wonder what the LORD God is up to in your life, and what exactly He’s going to do in and through your life.

As I sit here this morning and consider the words which are found within the twenty-second chapter I can’t help but notice a tremendous shift in the report that was being heard concerning the congregation of the children of Israel. When at one point the report that was being heard was how the LORD delivered and brought them forth from the land of Egypt, and how the LORD caused them to pass through the Red Sea while simultaneously destroying the Egyptian army, there was a new report that was beginning to circulate among the nations and peoples of the earth. WHEN THE LORD SENDS A NEW REPORT INTO THE EARTH! The twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers is absolutely astounding and remarkable when you think about and begin to consider the reality that while the nations and peoples of the earth might have still been talking about what the LORD did unto the land of Egypt, and what the LORD did to the Egyptians at the Red Sea, there was a new report that was beginning to arise and emerge among the nations. While it was true that the nations and peoples of the earth heard how the LORD God of the Hebrews had not only provided for them, but also had led them through the wilderness, there was a new report that would send chills down the spines of the kings of the nations. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will come face to face with a new report that was beginning to reach the nations of the earth—one that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with what the LORD had done for them in the land of Egypt, nor even what the LORD had done for them at the Red Sea, but what they themselves began to do in the midst of the nations of the earth. Before I delve into the report that began to arise in the earth and among the nations of the earth, however, I feel the tremendous need to call and draw your attention to the words which David king of Israel and noted psalmist wrote in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the eighteenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find the following words which were written by David after the LORD had delivered him from the hands of all his enemies, as well as delivered him out of the hand of Saul who not only hunted him down for thirteen years, but also tried killing him twice:

“I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD< and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under His feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the fountains of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me…” (Psalm 18:1-19).

“…The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statures from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself forward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? OR who is a rock save our GOD? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shielf of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but He answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places. The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. HE delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up from those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man” (Psalm 18:20-48).

Now you might be wondering what the words which the psalmist and king David wrote—words which are recorded both in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, as well as the Old Testament book of Second Samuel—have to do with what is before us in this passage. The answer is actually quite simple and lies in the text that is found within the words of the psalmist David. If and as you begin to read and digest the words found within this passage you will quickly encounter the reality that during the life of David there were countless times when David was very much aware of the activity of the LORD within his life. The words within this passage describe the activity and arousal of the LORD when one of His servants and one of His children are in danger and are facing enemies and foes which are far greater and far stronger and more powerful than themselves. The language David uses in this passage is the language of the storm—language which describes how the LORD shrouds Himself in the midst of clouds and darkness, and how the LORD uses nature in order to conceal His presence. Perhaps the most incredible reality concerning the words found in this passage of Scripture is David’s acute awareness of the divine presence and glory of the living God, and the LORD coming to His rescue—coming to his rescue when he felt overwhelmed, coming to his rescue when he felt discouraged, coming to his rescue when he felt hopeless, coming to his rescue when he felt impossible odds were stacked against him. In fact, if you continue reading within this particular chapter you will find David writing concerning the LORD “sending from above,” “taking him,” “drawing him out of many waters,” “delivering him from his strong enemy,” and “from this which hated him: for they were stood for him.” In another place the psalmist David writes how the LORD delivered him and brought him forth from the miry clay and set his feet upon a rock. The most intriguing reality found within these verses is the language David used to describe how the LORD not only sent from above, but how the LORD sent from above to take him and to draw him out of many waters and delivering him from his strong enemy. What’s more, is David also goes on to write about those who hated him, and they were too strong for him and prevented him in the day of his calamity. It is clear to see from the words found within this passage of Scripture that there were times within David’s life when he felt completely overwhelmed and utterly discouraged, and desperately needed the living God whom He knew would and come come through for him. In fact, this particular psalm opens up with David’s own view and perception of the living God, for while David initially begins by declaring that He loved the LORD, he would go on to write how the LORD was his strength, how the LORD was his rock, how the LORD was his fortress, and how the LORD was His deliverer. What’s more, is David would go on to write how the LORD was his strength in whom he would trust, and how He was his buckler, the horn of his salvation, and his high tower. What begins with “I will love thee” would quickly transition to “I will call upon the LORD,” and I would dare say there is an intrinsic link between loving the LORD and calling upon Him, for we only call on Him from and out of a place of love and relationship with Him.

If you continue reading within the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find David going on to describe a specific time within his life, however, I would dare say that I firmly believe David described more than just one particular time within his life. There is not a doubt in my mind that the words and language David used in this particular passage of Scripture describe countless times within, during and throughout his life when he felt completely overwhelmed and utterly discouraged in the midst of his circumstances. While within the first three verses we find David speaking of loving the LORD and calling upon Him—both in direct connection to his personal view of the LORD his God—we will find David going on to speak very candidly concerning his experiences within this life. Beginning to read with and from the fourth verse of this chapter you will find the following words which were written by David in addition to what I have already presented to you. Consider if you will the following words as they were written by David to describe his situation and circumstance(s): “The sorrows of death compasses me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me” (Psalm 18:4-5). It is clear from these words that David felt completely and utterly overwhelmed, and felt as though he was not only surrounded, but he would also go on to describe how he was afraid because of the floods of ungodly men. We dare not miss and lose sight of the underlying current that runs through this particular chapter, for David speaks very candidly concerning his experiences as well as his emotions—a practice which I am convinced very few people are actually able to do. There are many people who might have absolutely no problem speaking about their experiences in this life, and they might be able to speak very candidly and clearly concerning those experiences. What I firmly believe is not as easy to do is in addition to speaking about the experiences we face within this life—also speaking about the emotions of our experiences. THE EMOTIONS OF OUR EXPERIENCES! What I mean by this is that we are able to speak about the experiences we face in this life, but what more often than not is not as easy to do is speaking about our emotions in the midst of the experiences and how such experiences have made and do make us feel. Even in my own life I have found it to be incredibly easier to speak about my experiences, but when it comes to actually speaking about the emotions that are connected to those experiences, I have an incredibly difficult time. It’s one thing to talk about the experiences you have faced within this life, but it’s something else entirely to describe the emotions and emotional responses that might be directly linked and connected to those experiences. It takes true strength, true bravery, and true courage to not only speak about your experiences, but also to speak about what those experiences have done to you and in you. In all reality, I would dare say that we might be very good at describing the experiences we have been through within our lives, and even how we might have been delivered from and through those experiences, however, what we find to be all the more difficult is speaking about the emotions we experienced—not only in the midst of and during those experiences, but also the emotions that have perhaps been present within our heart and soul since the experiences have passed.

Whether we believe and/or want to admit or not, each and every experience we have faced within our lives has prompted some type of emotional response and reaction within our hearts and soul. It makes absolutely no difference whether the experience is one that was positive, or whether it was an experience that was negative. It matters not whether or not the experience was one that tried and tested us, or whether the experience was one that elevated and promoted us. As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about the absolutely tremendous reality that we have all faced experiences within our hearts and lives, and those experiences have not only shaped us, but have helped make us who we are today. With that being said, I am also truly and thoroughly convinced that the experiences we have faced within our lives have certain emotional responses and reactions that were formed and elicited by walking through said experiences. I have found within my own life that it is quite easier to speak about the experiences I have faced within my life, but what isn’t as easy to do is to speak about the emotions that are directly linked and connected to those experiences. There have been things within my life I might have been able to speak about, and might even be able to speak about right now having come through those experiences, but what isn’t at all easy to do is speak about the emotions and emotional responses that were formed and created during and as a result of those experiences. With all of this being said, I would also dare say that it is perhaps most difficult when in the midst of the experience(s) we are facing to speak candidly and freely about our emotions and how such experiences have made us feel within our hearts and souls. We might—if we are willing to be honest and forthright—be able to speak freely about our experiences and what it was like to go through those experiences, however, it is not as easy to describe how such experiences made us feel. What I mean by this is not simply this surface level language that only touches upon what we think we might have felt, but a deeper level of honesty and transparency when we are truly willing to speak about how we felt in the depths of our being. One thing I so absolutely love about the language that is found within the book of Psalms is that not only were the psalmists able to speak about their experiences, but they were also able to speak clearly and freely about their emotions during and in the midst of those experiences. What I find to be so incredibly intriguing is that each and every experience we find ourselves going through can and may very well have two different types of responses. On the one hand there are those emotions and those emotional responses we have in the midst of such experiences, however, on the other hand there are those emotional responses and those emotions we formulate and carry with us long after the experience is over. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider for a moment that there aren’t emotions which rise up in the midst of the experience, and in addition to those emotions there aren’t also emotions which rise up long after the experience is over. There are emotions we face while we are in the throes of the experience, but there are emotions that aren’t formulated and created until after the experience has passed.

AFTER THE EXPERIENCE(S) IS OVER! AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED! I can’t help but sit here this morning and think about the absolutely astonishing reality that when it comes to our experiences, and when it comes to that which we find within our lives—there are not only emotions and emotional responses and reactions we face in the midst of those things we face, but there are also those emotions we face and formulate shortly after, and perhaps even long after the experience is over. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are those emotional responses and emotional reactions we face and experience within our hearts and lives while we are right in the thick and heat of what we are facing, but there are those emotional responses and emotional reactions that don’t come and aren’t manifested until after the experience(s) is over. If you are truly willing to be honest with yourself, as well as with the living God you would have to admit that there were and there have been those experiences within your life which you have faced certain emotions while in the midst of such experiences, however, there are emotions that didn’t come to the surface until after the experience is over and after the storm has passed. Take a moment to think about and look over your life and think about those experiences you have faced within and throughout your life. Once you have isolated and located certain experiences within your life begin to think about how those experiences have made you feel, and perhaps still make you feel.With that being said, you might have found yourself thinking about certain experiences within your life and upon thinking about such experiences you are automatically confronted with emotions and feelings just by thinking about such experiences. CARRYING BURIED EMOTIONS! CARRYING BURIED FEELINGS! Would it shock and surprise you to think and consider the fact that although you might have come out of the experiences you have faced, you might very well still be carrying and living with suppressed and buried emotions and emotional responses to those experiences? You know this to be true, for if you truly participated in the activity of thinking about your past experiences, you might very well have found yourself coming face to face with emotions you perhaps didn’t know were even there, or perhaps knew were there, but you chose to suppress them. HIDDEN AND BURIED FEELINGS! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely incredible reality that there are many of us who are and have been living with hidden and buried feelings and emotions within our lives, and those emotions and emotional responses lie dormant—perhaps for quite some time—until we either think about the experience we faced, or experience something similar, or even experience certain triggers that remind us of that experience, or perhaps trigger how we felt as we walked through it. There is not a doubt in my mind that many of us are living with hidden and buried emotions and feelings, and such realities remain hidden and concealed until—until we experience triggers that remind us of the experience we went through, or perhaps when we attempt to think about the experience(s) we have gone through within our lives. In all reality, I am convinced that there is a tremendous need within our hearts and souls to experience healing—deep and inner healing—of those emotions, those feelings, and those thoughts which have been long buried and hidden within our hearts and souls.

FINDING FREEDOM FROM HIDDEN AND BURIED EMOTIONS! With all of this being said, I am convinced that such emotional responses and reactions can also be triggered when we witness and behold someone else going through and experiencing the same thing we ourselves have gone through. We would be naïve to think and consider that such emotions, such feelings, and such thoughts can only be triggered when we experience something similar to what we have gone through before, or when we are somehow reminded of what we have gone through. The truth of the matter is that this simply is not true, nor is it the case, for there are times when we might hear and witness others going through the very same thing we have gone through. As a direct result of seeing someone else go through what we ourselves have gone through we are immediately confronted with the emotions we faced in the midst of our own conflict and struggle, as well the emotional responses and reactions to what we faced and went through. TRIGGERS! I sit here today and I am confronted with and by the absolutely tremendous truth that there are many of us who might very well have been delivered from the experiences we have faced within our lives, and yet what we haven’t been delivered from are the emotions and emotional responses and reactions that are directly linked and connected to that which we have gone through. Oh it is true we might have come out on the other side of that which we have faced and that which we have gone through, however, what isn’t as easy is being delivered and healed from the emotions and emotional responses that are directly linked and connected to such experiences. What’s more, is that I would dare say that sometimes it is easier to be delivered from the actual experience than it is being delivered from the emotions, the feelings, the emotional responses, and the emotional reactions that are directly linked and connected to such experiences. Oh we might be relieved to have been delivered from that which we have gone through, and we might allow ourselves to get so caught up in the physical and tangible deliverance from what we have gone through that we are completely unaware of something much more sinister and something much difficult to be delivered from. In fact, I would dare say that there have been times within my own life when I have been so relieved and so overjoyed to be delivered from what I faced and what I went through that I completely neglected the thought that there were very real emotions and very real emotional responses and reactions that were not only experienced in the midst of what we went through, but are also present even after the experience is over. If we aren’t careful, we can experience deliverance and yet still remain in bondage and captivity within our hearts and souls. If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves being delivered on the surface and being delivered externally from what we have gone through and experienced, while remaining in bondage and captivity within our hearts and souls—even if we aren’t aware of such bondage and captivity.

Would it shock and surprise you to think about the fact that you can be delivered externally while still remaining in bondage internally? Would it surprise you to think about and even consider that you might very well have come through and come out on the other side of your storm, and on the other side of your struggle, and on the other side of your conflict, and while you might be relieved to have come out on the other side—you have only experienced a surface level deliverance without dealing with and confronting the emotions and emotional responses that were and perhaps still are directly linked and connected to those experiences. I can’t help but think about the fact that there are countless men and women among us today—even within many of our churches and houses of worship—who might boast and even give testimonies and praise reports of how the LORD delivered them from what they have gone through, and yet while they testify of an outward reality and manifestation, they might very well be unaware of a deeper and inward reality that is directly linked and connected to what they went through. Would you be astonished to think about the fact that the enemy and adversary might not care if you are and have been delivered from that which you have gone through if he can keep you bound within your heart and soul to emotions, to feelings, to thoughts, and to reactions and responses—especially if such realities are hidden and concealed? I am completely and thoroughly convinced that the enemy and adversary of our souls might have absolutely no problem with your being delivered from the conflicts and struggles you have faced so long as you remain in bondage within your hearts and souls as you carry the weight and burden of emotions, thoughts and feelings. What’s more, is that you might find yourself experiencing things later on in your life, and you might find yourself reacting and responding a certain way, and you might not think anything of it. Conversely, you might find yourself experiencing something later on in life and you find you respond and react a certain way, and you are unsure why you are reacting the way you are. At first you might brush it off and choose to let it slide, however, if you engage in letting it slide for too long, it becomes a regular practice and pattern within your life, and you will respond and react that way more often and more frequently. All the while you are completely and utterly unaware of the fact that while you testified about being delivered on a surface level, you were unaware of the hooks that were still deep within your heart and soul. Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative to think about and consider the fact that we can in fact experience deliverance on the surface, and we can experience freedom on a surface level, and yet we are completely and utterly unaware of the hooks that are still within us. HOOKS FROM THE PAST! WOUNDS FROM THE PAST! BRUISES FROM THE PAST! SCARS FROM THE PAST! HOOKS IN THE HEART!

I can’t escape this reality and thought of hooks within the heart, and hooks in the heart, for this is a very real and very tangible reality that very few of us are even aware of, and even fewer actually take the time to talk and think about. What would happen among us if we allowed ourselves to be engaged in matters of the heart, and were truly willing to be honest and transparent about “hooks in the heart?” What would happen if we were truly honest and transparent—not only with ourselves, and not only with the LORD our God, but also with others—not merely about what we have gone through and how we have been delivered and brought out of such conflicts and struggles, but about the hooks that have been within our hearts which have dramatically shaped and molded us into who we are in the very depths and core of our being? I am firmly convinced that there are countless men and women among us who might very well have stood before and in front of a congregation and body of believers and testified of how they were delivered from the conflict and struggle they have faced, and yet while they are testifying about that deliverance, they are completely unaware of that which lies beneath the surface that is far deadlier and far more sinister than what they are actually speaking about. Would it offend you if I said that sometimes the testimonies we speak are only half truths and only reveal half of the story, for for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? Would it offend you if I said that there are times when we have testified to others about the “salvation of the LORD,” “the freedom of the LORD,” and “the deliverance of the LORD,” and yet what we are speaking and what we have spoken about is only part of the picture, for there are matters which are left unresolved within our hearts and souls? I can’t help but think about the matter of an iceberg and how what we oftentimes see concerning icebergs is that which has penetrated and that which protrudes from the surface. More often than not we aren’t aware of what lies beneath, and how more often than not it is what lies beneath that is far more dangerous and far deadlier than what we see on the surface. Oh we might make every attempt to try and avoid that which we see on the surface, however, it might not be so easy to avoid that which lies beneath the surface. Oh there are countless men and women among us—myself included in this statement—who still have and are carrying hooks of the heart, and hooks within the soul which are directly linked to past experiences and past encounters. These hooks in the heart and these hooks in the soul are triggers that illicit emotional responses and emotional reactions to present circumstances and present situations, and we might not even be aware of why we react and respond the way we do. Little do we know we are carrying and have been living with hooks of emotions, hooks of thoughts, and hooks of feelings within the depths of our heart and soul.

DELIVERED FROM HOOKS OF THE HEART! DELIVERED FROM HOOKS OF THE SOUL! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think to myself how there is an absolutely powerful need within many of our churches for men and women who might worship together with each other, and yet who desperately need to be delivered from the hooks which are deeply embedded within their hearts. I firmly believe there are countless men and women who might worship together with others, and might even speak to others about the goodness and salvation of the living God, and they might be genuine and sincere, however, they perhaps are unaware of the hooks that lie deep within their heart and soul. With that being said, I must warn and caution you that removing such hooks might not be an easy process, and it might even be a clean process. What’s more, is I would dare say that removing these hooks of the heart might be a messy process, and there might be much shedding of blood, as removing the hooks that are buried within our heart expose the heart. Removing the hooks that lie buried within our heart, and even the hooks which are buried within the depths of our soul is not an easy process, and it might very well be messy and produce a tremendous amount of blood—similar to a surgeon who performs open heart surgery on a patient and all the blood that is produced from such a procedure. What’s more, is that I would dare say that such a process can and will be incredibly painful, and might not be easy to endure. In fact, I would dare say that it was easier to deliver you from the experience than it is and will be to deliver you from the emotional hooks the experience produced within your heart and soul. Pause for a moment and tell me whether or not you have ever heard a testimony where the individual standing before the congregation not only spoke about how the living God delivered them from the experience and from the outward manifestation, but also how the Lord delivered them from the emotions, the thoughts and the feelings that were directly linked to that experience? I grew up in the church as my dad was a pastor, and I have to say that I can’t remember or recall any time when those who stood before the congregation and body of believers not only spoke of and testified of the LORD delivering them from the experience, the conflict and the struggle itself, but also how the LORD delivered them from the emotions and emotional responses and reactions that are intrinsically linked and connected to what they have gone through. I will say again that the enemy and adversary might not care in the slightest bit that you have been delivered from the storm, or delivered from the struggle, or delivered from the conflict, or delivered from the battle, so long as you remain in bondage and captivity to the hooks that lie buried within the depths of your heart and soul.

I would absolutely love to start a small group that bears the title “HOOKS OF THE HEART, HOOKS OF THE SOUL: FREEDOM BEYOND DELIVERANCE.” I would love to start a small group that might very well begin with honest and open communication about the experiences we have been through, and even testifying about how the LORD has in fact come through for us. Please note and please understand that what I am speaking of is in no way meant to diminish the fact that the LORD has indeed delivered us, and that the LORD might not have performed a miracle within our lives as He did within the heart and life of David. What I am speaking about is an honesty and transparency about the very real emotional responses and emotional reactions that are directly linked and connected to what we have gone through. I would absolutely love to start a small group that is intended on bringing men and women face to face with the hooks that lie buried deep within their heart and souls that were created from the experiences they have gone through within and throughout their lives. I would love for there to be an open forum where men and women felt comfortable discussing the experiences they have gone through, but are also able to come face to face with the emotions, the thoughts and the feelings which still lie buried within their hearts and souls as a direct result of that which they have gone through. I realize there are programs such as “Celebrate Recovery,” and even “AA,” and I realize that such programs have been incredibly useful and beneficial in the lives of countless men and women. What I would love to start and would love to create is a space where men and women can feel completely comfortable sharing their experiences—but not only sharing their experiences, but also being willing to confront the fact that there might still be hooks within their heart and hooks within their soul that are directly linked and tied to what they have gone through. I would love for men and women to be able to honestly confront the reason why they respond and react certain ways—despite the fact that they have been delivered from such experiences within and throughout their lives. I would love for men and women to be able to recognize and understand the emotions and feelings that might very well still lie buried within their heart and soul and directly influence how they respond and react to certain situations and circumstances. With this being said, I know that just as much as others need this, I myself need this and am not above, nor am I beyond this. I know there are hooks within my own heart and hooks within my own soul that need to be removed. What’s more, is I would love to purchase a number of hooks and have them in a bowl at the beginning of the small group, and send each and every individual who attends the small group with a hook when the session is over. With each session, those who attended bring their hooks back, and if they have become aware of a hook within their heart, they cast their hook in the bowl and are able to share about the hook they discovered.

The question I can’t help but ask as I continue with this writing is whether or not we are truly willing to confront the hooks in our hearts, as well as the hooks within our souls. Are we truly willing to come face to face with the hooks that lie buried deep within the depths of our hearts and souls in order that we might not only be delivered and set free from the experience itself, but might also be delivered from the effects of the experience. THE EFFECTS OF THE EXPERIENCE, THE EMOTIONS OF THE EXPERIENCE! HOOKS OF THE HEART: EFFECTS AND EMOTIONS! Are you truly willing to deal with and confront the hooks that might lie buried deep within your heart and soul in order that you might once and for all be delivered and set free from the emotions and the effects of the conflicts and struggles you have faced? Are you truly willing to not only understand why you react and respond the way you do when certain things happen to you or someone else, and/or when certain things are said to you or to someone else? Are you willing to understand the reason why you react and respond the way that you do, and truly understand the triggers that are present within your heart and soul which are directly linked and connected to emotions, thoughts and feelings? I know that I myself have countless triggers and that there are a number of things that set me off—perhaps externally, or perhaps internally, not everything is manifested in the sight and hearing of others. I know that I still have hooks within my own heart and hooks within my own soul, and that I desperately need the Lord to reveal those hooks—and not only reveal those hooks, but also reveal when those hooks were placed within my heart and soul, and how to remove them. I desperately desire the living to remove the hooks that have long been within my heart in order that I might not only experience a surface level deliverance, but might experience a deliverance and freedom that goes deep within my heart and soul. I would love to understand why I respond the way I do, and why I react to things in my life the way I do—most of the time instinctively and without even thinking about it. I would love to know why I might automatically respond the way I do to certain events which take place within my life—certain things which are said, certain things which are done, and the like. What’s more, is I would love to have those in my life who I can speak with candidly and freely about these things, and who can help me once and for all be delivered from the hooks that lie within my heart and soul, which desperately need to be removed. What’s more, is I would love to reach the point and place within my life when I am no longer triggered by things which are said and things which are done which remind me of what I have gone through in my life. I would love to once and for all be set free from those things which set me off and might even cause explosions in the relationships I have. I would love to once and for all be set free from those things which have kept me bound—even though I have professed deliverance on the surface from those things which I have experienced.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I realize that much of what was written doesn’t appear to have anything to do with what is found in the Old Testament book of Numbers. I fully understand that you might be scratching your head at this point wondering what it has to do with what is before us in the book of Numbers. If and as you read the words found in the book of the Psalms you will find that David speaks of two distinct realities within his life. On the one hand he speaks of how the LORD fought for Him, and how the LORD delivered him from his enemies and adversaries. On the other hand, however, you will find David speaking of how the LORD trained his hands for battle and how the LORD trained his hands for war. What’s more, is David writes how He overcame his enemies, and how he defeated his enemies and triumphed over him. In all reality, there is a strong contrast between the God who fights for us and the God who teaches us to fight in the midst of this life. It is this reality that is directly linked to what is found in the Old Testament book of Numbers, for while reports might have been circulating among the nations concerning the judgments, signs and wonders the LORD performed in the midst of the land of Egypt, and while reports might have been circulating among the nations as to how the LORD drowned the Egyptians in the waters of the Red Sea, that wasn’t the report which came to the king of Moab at this time. If and as you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find that the king of Moab wasn’t so much as concerned with what the LORD did in the land of Egypt, nor what the LORD did at the Red Sea, but rather with what the congregation and assembly of Israel did unto the Amorites, and specifically Og king of Bashan and Sihon king of Heshbon. The king of Moab saw what the Israelites did to these two kings and to their people and those who came out to fight against them, as well as the tremendous and massive size of the congregation and assembly, and it struck and created fear and terror within his heart. It is for this reason he summoned Balaam unto him that he might curse the people of God that they might be removed from the midst of his land. IT is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for Belak king of Moab was absolutely terrified because of what the congregation of the children of Israel did unto Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan. While it was true there were reports concerning what the LORD did on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel, there were now reports circulating about what Israel was doing to their enemies and adversaries, and how the congregation of the people of God were overtaking enemies, conquering territory, and advancing within and upon the earth. While there was the testimony concerning what the living God did on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel, there was also a testimony concerning what the living God was training and allowing the people to do within and upon the face of the earth. Oh that we would recognize and understand this, for it is the LORD our God who not only fights for us, but it is also the LORD who trains our hands for battle and trains our hands for war and allows us to defeat, overtake and overthrow the enemies and adversaries which rise up against us within this life.

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