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  • Dealing With Toxic People

    Have you ever been around someone who made you uncomfortable, but were not sure why? It may be a stranger at a checkout counter, a co-worker, friend, or even a relative. They may look clean and well-groomed, but, something about them just seemed dirty, or, perhaps they made you feel dirty being around them? Their presence might even cause you to say something or behave in a way that you normally would not. Even after you leave them, you might carry an uncomfortable feeling (or behavior) with you. These are people that might be "toxic."

    Toxic or toxicity refers to poison - some substance that can cause serious harm. Some people can carry invisible spiritual toxins that can be contagious to others around them. Jesus said: "The things that come out of the man's mouth come from the heart, and these make a man "unclean." For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what makes a man "unclean." Matt. 15:18-19. So these unclean things, though invisible, are real, and found deep inside the heart.

    But can these things inside people actually contaminate others? Yes, the Bible warns us about this. Paul teaches:

    "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Corinthians 15:33. He also writes: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteous and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14. The Old Testament also warns us: "Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure," Isaiah 52:11.

    We can become toxic by the toxicity, or spiritual poison, carried by others. Here is an example: Last December an Isaiah 61 member told us about a struggle she was having with her work environment and colleagues. She was the only Christian in the group, which consisted exclusively of young single people. She was exposed regularly to their ungodly conversations about drinking, partying, sexual immorality (including gay and lesbian lifestyle), and tattoos. Their unwanted comments and temptations continued day after day. Tattooing was the specific trigger that caused her to come to us for prayer.

    Although she was repulsed by the idea of tattoos, her defenses were gradually weakened by the daily peer pressure, and, her natural desire to be accepted by her co-workers. So she began planning on getting her first "gateway" tattoo (a henna tattoo, which is long-lasting, but not permanent.) Then just before going to get the tattoo, she read our Isaiah 61 daily devotion on Facebook, which just happened to be about tattoos! (See Leviticus 19:28.) We prayed for her, and she was released from a temptation spirit, plus several other spirits - all related to her colleagues and work environment. Soon after that she realized it was time to move on, and God provided her with a different job!

    If you would like to learn more about this topic, including how to pray to release yourself from the negative spiritual influence of any toxic people in your life, please listen to Roger's message titled "Toxic People" on our website, www.I-61Ministries.org. Messages are found on the Resources Tab, and may be accessed via desktop or laptop computer.

  • Congratulations Ryan and Esther Ford!

    On January 23rd, 2016, 300 guests, representing a dozen nationalities, gathered in Danang to celebrate the wedding of Ryan and Esther Ford. People flew into Vietnam from five countries just for the occasion, including Australia, China, Singapore, the Philippines, and the USA. Ryan's father, Isaiah 61 Ministries' Overseer Roger Ford, performed the ceremony.

    Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Ford

    Roger opened the ceremony by saying that over his 20 years working in Vietnam he had heard one special question many times: "What would you think if your son wanted to marry a Vietnamese girl?" He said that he always answered, "It would be fine, because, God did not create many races of people, He created only one race, the Human Race. Our separation into different races and cultures is a result of our sin; however, through Jesus Christ we can be reconciled - both to each other, and to God."

    Roger then shared that after leading Esther in healing and deliverance prayers more than five years ago, she told him that she had a dream that one day Roger would perform her wedding ceremony. Roger looked at Esther and said, "Well, Esther, I suspect that when you told me that five years ago, Ryan was not included in your dream, because the two of you had not yet been introduced! But it is fine with mom and me. We love you and whole-heartedly welcome you into our family!"

    Prior to exchanging their vows, Ryan and Esther sang a worship song to the Lord, "With All I Am," in both English and Vietnamese. After the ceremony the guests were served a traditional Vietnamese wedding meal while enjoying a program of music, an interpretive dance explaining the Gospel of Jesus, several personal testimonies and presentations by family and friends, and a special video prepared by the bride and groom.

    After the wedding many testimonies were received by guests, including one retired elder who said the event was, "Very different and one of the best weddings he and his wife had ever attended." Many of the guests at the wedding were not believers and had never attended a Christian wedding. A number of pre-believers also reported how moved they were, because they had never heard the Christian/Bible teaching on marriage before.

    The couple honeymooned in Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia. They are making their home in Danang where Ryan works with South East Asia Development Company, (Seadev). Esther is teaching, and working with children, and both serve with Isaiah 61 Ministries. The couple hope to visit the USA during the summer to introduce Esther to Ryan's family and friends. They are no longer two but one. What God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:5-6.

    Three dozen members of I-61 attended the wedding

  • JCF Hosts I-61 "Alumni Refresher"

    In August 2014 Pastor Luke Weaver and Journey Christian Fellowship hosted a group of two dozen I-61 alumni, representing eight Virginia churches, for an evening gathering. The purpose was two-fold: to help us all refresh our own deliverance experiences, and, to help better equip ourselves to minister to others.

    Roger opened the evening reading from Luke 10:1+17, where Jesus commissioned the 72 to go and cast out demons. He then asked, "If Jesus followed-up with this group a week, or a month, or a year later, what would He find?" Someone in the room answered, "He would probably find some slackers!" Roger agreed, and suggested that we were gathered together because we do not want to be slackers!

    The group then reviewed the I-61 Ministry Application & Worksheet, our Rules of Engagement, sample Prayer Ministry Template, and Obstacles to Receiving Full Deliverance. A robust discussion followed. We closed by presenting these questions to Jesus together: "Jesus, am I free? Have I lost ground, or, do you want me to be more free? Is there someone You are asking me to help get free?" What is Jesus saying to you?

  • Kingdom Living: A Pastor's Review

    Marriage and family have taken it on the chin. Our culture is crumbling and the impact is negatively touching church families and marriages. Answers, protections and assurances seem harder and harder to find. Men today have been taught to acquiesce and leadership with authority is scorned. I-61 Ministries' Kingdom Living workshop calls men to allow Christ's ministry into their own lives, and then minister to their families what they have received from Jesus. This is a new, but old, idea that is quite refreshing. It combines elements of spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry with the Scriptures on marriage and family. Culture tells men to give themselves to their, careers, businesses, hobbies, etc., but does not encourage men to lead their families.

    As a pastor I have felt a sinking feeling about God's ideal for marriage. Kingdom Living opened my eyes to the spiritual roots of the struggle and God's plan to bring men and women into His order for marriage and family. The sessions were challenging, but equally fruitful. Digging deeper into the Word of God, my own life and the elements of spiritual warfare led me and my wife to new levels of freedom. Jesus promises that when we seek Him we will find Him, yes, in our marriages and our families.

    Luke Weaver, Pastor, Journey Christian Fellowship, Harrisonburg, Va.

  • Deliverance: A New, Unfamiliar Country

    One of the challenges of the deliverance ministry is the need to help people understand what it is and that deliverance from evil spirits is for today, not just a part of Bible history. Unfortunately, much of the Church does not teach about or minister in this area; therefore, when we minister with people, sometimes it seems to them like they are entering into a "new and unfamiliar country." The title for this story comes from a recent ministry receiver who sent us the following testimony:

    "I want to begin by saying that deliverance is the 'real deal.' I know that many believers are confused (as we were) about this area of the Christian life, and many churches even deny that it is real, or at least do not believe that a Christian can be demonized. My wife and I now know for sure that it is real! We recently were able to arrange child care so that we could have two hours without interruption to process with each other all that has happened since our deliverances. It seems impossible to imagine that it has only been a month as we contemplate all that the Lord has shown us and accomplished in us during that time. We had been struggling to connect in our marriage for over 2 years, and during the last 10 months the struggle was very intense. There had been some element of struggling inherent in our relationship since we were first dating, so we were used to having a hard time connecting. While we both wanted to be vulnerable with each other and pursue the Lord together with our lives, we had never fully been on the 'same page.' This spring some old friends reconnected with us and suggested that we give deliverance a try. So we decided to submit applications to Isaiah 61 Ministries.

    On the first evening of our appointment, I confessed that I did not see how one weekend of prayer would break us free from years of struggle. We had sought professional counseling and psychiatric help for years to no avail, so how would a short time with them accomplish what others were unable to do? The Isaiah 61 ministry approach has a very systematic manner of tending to the needs of those they minister to. In the first hours of our time together strongholds and family curses were identified that had been blind spots in my life. We prayed through my unforgiveness towards those who had sinned against me, [Continued from page 1] and I repented of treating them in a manner that was not in keeping with the way I had been treated by the Lord. Led by the Holy Spirit, our ministry team identified the baggage I was carrying from my father's involvement in the Freemasons, leading me to renounce the curses that had fallen on me because of vows he had made. Next, we waded through my fear - an area of my life that had allowed a stronghold to build that affected every area of my relationship with my wife. In each of these areas I felt a sense of relief and freedom I had not experienced in a long time... maybe ever. And I know I was set free from the trap the devil had me in.

    Over the past weeks our ministry of deliverance has continued through private prayer and meditation. The fear and unforgiveness that had cluttered my mind have been released and I feel a freedom to seek God and others with more peace and clarity. The ministry also had a very powerful impact on my wife. She has said that 'deliverance is like entering into a new, unfamiliar country, where you do not know anyone, do not speak the language and have to start over.' Her comment is right on the money.

    We know that the Lord has done great things and we want to walk in the deliverance we have seen. We also want to walk deliberately together. I will close by admitting that I am learning that the hardest part is for me to accept my headship responsibility to lead and fight (spiritually) for my marriage and our children. Please keep praying for us!" A man in Charlottesville, Va.

  • A Pastor Experiences Isaiah 61

    What is a pastor to do when people come to Christ but struggle to grow? The standard steps of discipleship, teaching, church attendance, prayer and Bible reading often fail to be enough. The process of accepting Christ, being baptized and making new friendships with other Christians, is less than they need. Seeking answers to these questions, I scheduled extended times of prayer with a few new and struggling Christian friends. Several things happened. People became more open about their past, sharing deep hurts and past sins. As forgiveness was extended in this atmosphere the recipients expressed new freedom and joy. To my surprise, several people experienced sensations of something departing from them. The joy of Jesus rested on them in a greater way, and they appeared to have a greater capacity to receive and share what Christ was doing in their lives.

    Over the years I have lead many un-churched people to Christ. Some of my greatest memories are the Bible studies of Mark. In the first three chapters there are three instances of Jesus confronting evil spirits. I would ask these un-churched people, "Do you believe in evil spirits?" or "Do you have evil spirits in you?" I grew accustomed to a quick and positive "Yes!"" answer to these questions. Though I had been exposed to some deliverance ministry, I never really studied or experienced deliverance ministry with those with understanding. Gradually the pieces of confession, extension of forgiveness, extended and intensive prayer ministry converged into new insight.

    After attending three Isaiah 61 banquets, I sought out Roger Ford for advice. Eventually this led to my own I-61 ministry session. There I received an unexpected and deeply moving shower of God's love. My next step was passing on what I had received. By God's design, a gentleman sought me for what both he and I thought would be a traditional counseling session. The man's desire for God, spiritual cleansing and confession, however, led to two deliverance ministry sessions. I was awed by the depth of cleansing and new freedom that this man experienced.

    God now had me ready to seek more from the Isaiah 61 Ministry. Working with Roger and other I-61 team members, I gained invaluable experience during the spring and summer of 2012. I participated at least ten I-61 ministry sessions and witnessed the power of confession, repentance, forgiveness, healing and deliverance, worked-out in the lives of people. God's grace is powerful to forgive, to truly cleanse, and to set people free.

    Deliverance ministry is not a quick-fix, give me a better life proposition that some people are looking for. It is, however, a genuine, come to Jesus as I am holding-back-nothing honesty to experience the forgiving, healing grace of Jesus. The result is true freedom. Many Christians, unfortunately, have settled for less, believing that their life is the best they can do, and then struggling to act like they think a Christian should act. Luke Weaver, pastor Journey Christian Fellowship, Harrisonburg

    I-61 partners, Pastor Luke and Sylvia Weaver

  • Is Jesus in All Your Conversations?

    In March 2012, Roger and Holly traveled to Singapore to spend time with Isaiah 61's counselors Bernard and Lee Hua Chan. While there they had the opportunity to share with the Families in Fellowship youth group. Roger shared about social media and asked the participants to think about the conversations they have on various social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Four Square, etc. These networks are growing in use and influence at an alarming rate; and many Christians are not aware of this trend, or, not keeping up with it as much as perhaps they should.

    Roger asked the youth "Is Jesus in all your conversations? Would you welcome Him into your Facebook and other social network conversations, and, would He feel welcome joining those conversations?" The youth were challenged and it was clear that this was not a question they had ever thought much about. One young man asked, "How do you put Jesus into a social media conversation?" That was an excellent conversation-starter, and, also a great question for all of us to consider!

    Parents, are you monitoring your children's use of social networks? How about your own internet conversations? Are they pleasing to Jesus? He is watching! "He watches all who live on earth." Ps 33:14.

  • Using Social Media for Jesus

    A revolution began a few years ago called "Social Media." This term refers to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and literally hundreds of other social networks on the internet. The potential of these networks for either good or evil is significant. Many warn about the danger of addictions to these networks, or even worse. However, Paul once wrote to his friends in Corinth, "I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel," 1 Cor. 9:22-23. Therefore, we prayed about engaging social media for the Kingdom. In December we decided to try out Paul's suggestion. Isaiah 61 opened an account @Isaiah61org on Twitter (one of the rapidly growing social networks) and began offering regular "tweets" to a small group of followers. Tweets are short messages consisting of no more than 140 characters (every space, letter, and punctuation mark counts as one character). Tweets sometimes include links to articles or other information on websites which can be quickly accessed by a click. At first we wondered if anyone would be interested in our short messages. We also learned quickly how difficult it is to say something meaningful in such a few words. Every morning we would start by praying and asking Jesus if there was some short message on His heart for us that we should broadcast (tweet). Sometimes there was nothing and we tweeted nothing. Usually, however, words or ideas came through prayer and opening our Bibles. Most of the messages are simple encouragements; a few are strong warnings, which cause us to tremble and pray before hitting "post." We are still learning about social media and welcome your prayers and ideas. Please pray, and, if you feel led to do so:

  • To learn how to easy it is to open a Twitter account, you can visit www.twitter.com. If you click on our tweets you can read everything we have posted (or re-posted from others) since the account was created on Dec. 15 in just a few minutes. We would love your feedback!

  • Annual I-61 Fall Fellowship Dinner 2011

    Isaiah 61 held its Fourth Annual Fellowship Dinner October 22 at Traditions Restaurant in Harrisonburg. A record-setting 84 guests attended from Virginia and elsewhere. Many congregations were represented, including several pastors, current and former missionaries and other church leaders. I-61 Council Chairman Elbert Detwiler opened the program and the invocation was given by Pastor Timothy Vinh, Isaiah 61 minister from Vietnam. Following dinner Skip Tobin and his daughters Noelle, Melody and Jesse led a time of worship. Roger Ford gave the I-61 Annual Review and a personal testimony of how Jesus had healed him of many physical ailments. He also gave a brief overview of the core beliefs of I-61 (see summary on page 2). Following the theme "Jesus Still Heals," Holly Ford then introduced four guest speakers, who each shared a personal testimony of healing. Karen Miller shared that it was often difficult to understand her Oswald Chambers devotional book. She felt that she had "brain fog" when trying to comprehend the key point of each teaching. After deliverance (in 2005) she discovered that the devotions were clear to her - as were other Bible teachings. Jesus had healed her mind! Dawn Phillips shared how Jesus is healing her emotions. She began her journey of healing and deliverance with I-61 in 2007. Dawn has learned to forgive and been set free from anger she carried from childhood traumas. Jeff & Gayle Claflin shared Jesus is healing their marriage. They described ungodly behaviors in their relationship they realized they had inherited from their ancestors. For example, for Jeff, it was fear and passivity; for Gayle, control. After deliverance they learned they did not have to continue in these patterns. Their deliverance led to serving I-61 overseas! Finally, Jessica Hostetter testified that Jesus healed her body. Jessica had struggled with food allergies, stomach pain and "too many health problems to count" since she was two. After prayer time with I-61, Jesus set her free from every single one! (See Jer. 33:6-9.) We thank everyone who supported the dinner. Our financial need was met with a $ 6,000 net surplus. Thank You, Jesus, for blessing us!

  • The Whole Five-Fifths Gospel

    Isaiah 61 Ministries mission statement (see box below) is based on Isaiah 61:1: "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." When Jesus began his formal ministry He read that very scripture, then He said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:21). As He walked on the Earth, Jesus fulfilled this mission personally. "God appointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him." (Acts 10:28.) Jesus expects His disciples to do likewise. "(Jesus) called His 12 disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and heal every disease and sickness." (Matt. 10:1.) In fact, He said that, "Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these." (John 14:12.) This is what the Bible calls the mystery, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27.) This is incredible truth! Believers are actually invited to use that same Holy Spirit and power of God to drive out evil spirits and heal every sort of disease and sickness. The testimonies in each issue of this newsletter are a testimony of Jesus, living in and working through His disciples to heal and set captives free. We are frequently asked, "How does this work, exactly? How do you know that Christians today are still supposed to be doing the things Jesus did two thousand years ago?" We like to explain that Jesus came to Earth to do five (5) basic things for us:

    • His blood for our sins
    • His resurrection power to give us eternal life
    • His death on a cross to break curses
    • His stripes for our healing (physical, emotional, relational & spiritual)
    • His power and authority over evil spirits

    But none of these five things come automatically to believers; we need to ask for them. Jesus is a gentleman. He "stands at the door and knocks," (Rev. 3:20.) However, each of us must decide to accept or not. Paul taught that the first point, Jesus' blood for our sins, is of first importance. (1 Cor. 15:3). Most Christians readily accept that point, along with the second point, i.e., the promise of eternal life. These two points are basic evangelism. However, that is only 2/5 of the good news! Jesus also wants to fill us with His Spirit, and authorize us to go out with His power to pray for people, break curses, heal the sick and brokenhearted, and drive out evil spirits. We like to call these three points "Jesus' PHD (preach, heal, and drive out demons). Add the 2/5 Gospel (first importance) with the 3/5 Gospel (Jesus' PHD) and you have the whole 5/5 Gospel. That is what we believe at Isaiah 61 Ministries. Christians who discover the truth of the whole Gospel are radically changed. No wonder that the devil works so hard to keep us from understanding it and why Paul called this a mystery! When Christians learn to use Jesus' power and authority over sickness and evil spirits their understanding of Jesus and the Bible goes from head knowledge to experiential truth, and, their faith soars! Which Gospel do you have, the 2/5 or the 5/5? We pray that all Jesus' followers will come to experience the fullness of the "whole five-fifths" Gospel. Roger Ford, I-61 Fall Dinner, 2011

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