High-Tech Weapons

1 Corinthian 12:4-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

 

The gifts of the Spirit are high-tech weapons that God has made available to us through the Holy Spirit to defeat the works of the enemy in our lives and the lives of those for whom we are praying. These are the gifts of the Spirit, not ours to be used at our will, but His to be used as He sees fit. He flows through believers to touch the hearts and lives of people for His glory, not ours. We are His body, and as such, when we yield ourselves to His Spirit, He will touch through us bringing salvation, healing and deliverance to those in need.

 

Jesus told His disciples in Mark 16:15-20 that they were to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He said there were certain signs that would follow those who believe.

 

Mark 16:17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

 

And in verse 20 the word says:

 

And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

 

God is waiting for us to do our part in preaching the gospel and ministering healing and deliverance to those around us so that He can confirm His word through what we say and do!

 

I remember a few years ago I was in a park near my home walking early in the morning, as was my daily custom, and as I walked I would pray. So, this one morning I was walking on the track when an elderly couple pulled up in their car. I watched as this sweet, little lady got out of her car and began making her way down to the track. She could barely shuffle along. I could tell that it took everything she had within her to walk that distance to the track. As I was walking towards her the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and asked me to stop her and pray for her. I was not used to approaching someone that I didn’t know in that manner and, being somewhat of a shy person, I spoke to her and walked right on past her giving the Lord some lame excuse about not knowing her and being shy and not wanting to offend her in case she wouldn’t receive my offer of prayer. Well, He didn’t let me off that easily, so as I approached her on the next trip around He asked me to pray for her again. This time I obeyed. I spoke to her and told her my name and that I walked there every morning and usually prayed as I walked. Then I told her that as I was walking that morning the Lord asked me to stop and pray for her and would she mind if I did that. She very graciously accepted my offer so I laid my hands on her frail, little body and began to pray for God to touch her with His healing power. I closed my prayer and she thanked me and we both went on our way. I didn’t see any immediate result of my prayer but day after day she began to walk more briskly and with a strength that had not been visible when she first came to the track. It was evident that Mark 16:18 “they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” was working in her physical body. One day as we met she stopped me and thanked me for praying for her. She said she had gone to the same church for 50 years and no one had ever prayed for her like I did. She was so grateful…..and I was so blessed!

 

God opens doors for us to be His body; to minister His love, grace, and healing power to those around us. But how many times do we slough it off? How often do we accept His offer to be His mouthpiece, or His hands and feet? One illustration that the Lord gave me of how He wants to flow through us as His body is like a hand inside a glove. We are the glove and He is the hand that moves inside the glove.

 

When we yield to the Holy Spirit for Him to flow through us to touch people He becomes the voice within us speaking God’s word or the hand inside of us; the One doing the work through us. It is then that He ministers His gifts through His people, His body.

 

I often tell the ladies that are preparing for counseling and deliverance sessions that most of our session will be spent in prayer seeking the direction of the Holy Spirit for guidance and following the instructions He gives for deliverance. He can do in just a few minutes what might take me months to accomplish. It is as we yield to Him and ask Him to lead us and show us how to minister that He will be right there working through us to accomplish His will in that person’s life. The gifts that He gives are high-tech weapons used to help us overcome our shortcomings in spiritual warfare. We operate in the natural through our limited knowledge and ability, but when the Holy Spirit operates through us with one of His gifts it is done supernaturally and very often instantaneously! There is nothing that compares with Him!

 

It was said of Jesus in Luke 4:18, 19: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

 

We don’t have any trouble accepting the fact that Jesus was God in the flesh, sent to do the will of the Father, to redeem mankind and bring healing and deliverance to those who were in bondage. But what about the verse that Jesus shares with His disciples in John 14:12?

 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

 

“He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do”. Do you believe in Him? Do you believe that He will do the same works and greater through you than He did Himself? Faith opens the door for Him to work through you just like it does in you receiving God’s grace for salvation, healing, or deliverance for your own personal benefit.

 

The man, Jesus of Nazareth, who walked on this earth preaching, teaching and healing, received His power from God through the anointing of His Spirit.

 

Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

 

Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us we will receive power to be His witnesses.

 

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

The Holy Spirit is the person of the God-head that is in operation in the earth today. He is the Spirit of Christ Jesus that was sent when Jesus ascended back to heaven. Jesus described Him in John 16:7 as the “Helper”. He is working in and through His body in the world today. He has chosen to work through individual believers in the body of Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 12:27, 28 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

 

Each one of us has a calling on our life to fulfill the will and purpose of God in reaching the lost and hurting around us. No one is more important than the other.

 

1 Corinthians 12:18-26 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

 

There is no one person in the body of Christ that is more important than another. God has set each one of us in the body as He pleased. We each have our own part to play in His work. He is the one working in us to establish His will and good pleasure.

 

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

 

Jesus said that He didn’t do anything that He didn’t see the Father doing and He didn’t say anything on His own judgment.

 

John 5:19, 30 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

 

The Son lived in such sweet communion with the Father that what He saw the Father doing was what He did. And He spoke only those things that He heard from the Father. Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that He laid His deity aside when He came to earth and submitted Himself to the will of the Father. He was anointed by the Holy Spirit, and followed the directions given by the Father to do His will. He is our perfect example of how God wants to now flow through His body of believers, to accomplish His will through the Spirit in our world today.

 

Father, I thank You for Jesus, who came to this earth, lived a life of ministry as You anointed Him by Your Spirit to do Your will. I thank You that He became our substitute for the payment for our sin. Thank You for redeeming us and placing us in You as Your body. Father, may we represent You well by listening to Your Spirit as You direct us in ministry. May we flow with the Holy Ghost as His mouthpiece and hands and feet! Father, do through us what You want to do to bring salvation to the lost and healing and deliverance to those who are in bondage. Fulfill Your will through us today, Father! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

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Praying Always

Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–

After all the armor of God is applied to the believer’s life, he now goes into the battle……praying! Just as Jesus entered the battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, so the believer enters the battle with the enemy through prayer.

The Amplified version of Ephesians 6:18 reads this way:

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

The word for “praying” in the Greek is proseuchomai which means “to pray” and is the most frequent word used for prayer to God.

Supplication – Greek word deesis – means primarily “a wanting, a need”; a beseeching or entreating; it is an earnest request presented with an urgency that almost says “God this must be done now”. It is reflective of the importance of the situation at that very moment.

In this verse of Scripture the Lord is telling us to make prayer always a priority. We are to pray earnestly, beseeching the Lord in the Spirit, or in tongues, or if you don’t have your heavenly prayer language, that you always pray at the direction of the Spirit. We are to always be spiritually alert for the next move of the enemy. And we are to persevere, continuing to entreat the Lord on behalf of all the saints. This is the stance that we are to take before, during and after the battle. It is a lifestyle of communication with the Father at different levels of prayer; some of which are prayer to God for ourselves; intercession, which is standing in the gap before God on behalf of another; and spiritual warfare, which is fighting against the enemy during times of war. At times the prayer takes on a more intense type of urgency because the battle is more intense. We follow the direction of the Spirit as He knows exactly what is taking place and what needs to be done at each step of the way. For us to be victorious in battle, we must be spiritually intimate in our relationship with the Lord.

In Psalm 32:8 the Lord tells us that He will guide us with His eye.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

When my children were little they knew by the look in my eyes what message I was trying to convey to them. If they were not behaving they knew if Mom gave them a certain look they better straighten up or a more severe form of discipline would follow. I could guide them with that certain look because they knew me; they were used to my character and nature because they were my children and they spent a lot of time with me. When we are close to our spouses we can be across the room from each other and look into the others eyes and almost know exactly what they are thinking or intending to do at that very moment. When we are close to the Lord we learn His character and nature. We “know” Him and He leads us through that intimate communication that we have in our relationship with Him.

He tells us in Isaiah 30:21 that He will direct us by speaking to us.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Whenever you turn to the right hand, Or whenever you turn to the left.

 

Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

We are His sheep! When we “know” Him we will hear His voice and know how to proceed in the battle against the enemy.

The Greek word for “know” is ginosko and it means “to know completely”. He knows us completely and it should be our desire to come to know Him as completely as is possible in our own limited human understanding. Ginosko is knowledge obtained not by mere intellectual activity, but by operation of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ. It is progressively growing in relationship with the Lord as the Holy Spirit leads you through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with Him. “Know” or “ginosko” is the same word used to describe Joseph knowing Mary, his wife, in an intimate sexual relationship as husband and wife in Matthew 1:25. When a man and woman say “I do”, they become “one” in marriage.  But it is the intimate sexual union of the marital bed that consummates the marriage and brings them into “oneness”. It is then as husband and wife live together day after day that they grow in their knowledge of each other. As we get to know God more intimately we will understand His character and nature and learn who He is to us personally. We are able to understand the desires of His heart; His compassion and understanding and through that “knowing” we will be able to hear His voice clearly; to follow His directions in defeating the enemy in our lives and the lives of others. Prayer is not just bringing a laundry list of requests before Him, although He desires to answer our requests, but that we would grow through interaction with Him to where we know His heart; to be able to pray effectively on behalf of all the saints that the enemy would be silenced and stopped in his attacks against fellow believers.

Ephesians 6:19, 20 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

The ultimate intercession that we could make for any believer is that they would be able to open their mouths boldly to speak forth the mystery of the gospel. The mystery of the gospel; that all men, both Jew and Gentile, might come to salvation through Jesus Christ. We, as born again believers, have all been made ambassadors of His just as Paul was.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

The enemy’s attacks, for which we stand in battle against, is ultimately designed to stop the spread of the gospel in the lives of lost people and to destroy the lives of believers. If he can attack a believer and stop him from sharing the way of salvation to those around him, he has succeeded in stopping the mystery of the gospel from going forth. It is with this in mind that we learn to pray through the battles at the direction of the Spirit until we stop the enemy in his tracks!

Father, I thank You for making the way possible for us to come to You through prayer. Thank You for opening the door for us to know You, through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that we might take our relationship with you seriously and develop our knowledge of You through prayer and studying Your word. I pray as Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17-20 that You would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You, that the eyes of our understanding might be enlightened that we might know the hope of Your calling for us what are the riches of Your inheritance in the saints and that we might know the power that is available to us who believe; that same great power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. Father, open our hearts to see You in all Your greatness and know that You are for us, equipping us with the same power that You used in raising Christ from the dead. Help us to stay in close relationship with You, Father, that we might be able to hear Your voice clearly and know exactly how to fight the enemy. Father, give us the victory in battle! Thank You, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Helmet and Sword

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

As we continue to look at the Soldier’s Attire I want to focus today on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. These two essential parts of the Soldier’s attire are often misunderstood because of lack of knowledge regarding what is included in the covenant that we have with God through Jesus.

God said in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,….”

It is of utmost importance that you get into God’s word and find out for yourself what belongs to you as a child of God. The covenant that Jesus died to give us is a “better covenant, which was established on better promises” according to Hebrews 8:6.

The Roman soldier’s helmet had a chinstrap and a visor, and came down to cover the back and sides of the neck. It was designed so that it covered the head and neck from attacks from all angles. Officers’ helmets had a ridge on top on which was mounted some sort of plumage depending on the rank.

The helmet of salvation is the part of the armor of God that protects our minds. Many times when we think of salvation, we think of forgiveness of sin, which, of course, is included in salvation. But salvation includes so much more than just having our sins forgiven. Let’s look at the actual definition of the Greek words for salvation:

Salvation: Soteria, soterion and soterios. All three have similar definitions which define salvation as being an all-inclusive word signifying forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, safety, rescue, liberation, and restoration. Christ’s salvation is total in scope of the total man: spirit, soul, and body.

When we renew our minds to the truth of God’s word regarding salvation we come to understand that to be saved is to be forgiven, healed, cured, preserved, kept safe and sound, rescued from danger or destruction and delivered. To save, the Greek word is sozo, means that we are saved from physical death by healing and from spiritual death by forgiveness of sin and it’s effects. Sozo, or saved, in primitive cultures is translated simply, “to give new life” and “to cause to have a new heart”.

Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Abundantly – perissos – Superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.

Jesus died that we might have a covenant with God that is superabundant, excessive, overflowing, more than enough and more than sufficient. Salvation is all-inclusive; whatever you need is supplied through the covenant that you have with God through the blood of Jesus!

By looking at the helmet of salvation and understanding the broad definition of salvation, we see that it simply means to be saved from whatever danger you are in. To a person who doesn’t know Jesus as Savior, salvation would mean forgiveness of sin. That would be the gospel or “good news” to him; that Jesus came to save him from his sins and when he receives the personal revelation of that and believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confesses him as Lord, he becomes “saved”. To the person who is struggling with an illness, salvation would mean physical healing. To the person that needs provision in their finances that salvation would mean deliverance from debt and the ability to meet their financial obligations with an abundance for every good work. For the person who is oppressed that salvation would mean deliverance from mental and emotional distresses.

When we place the helmet of salvation on our heads we are covering our minds with the truth of God’s total work of redemption; spirit, soul and body. Then when the enemy comes with tormenting thoughts of fear that we’re going to die and be eternally separated from God we can say, “oh no, devil, my salvation was purchased by the blood of Jesus and I am in Him and He is in me.” Or when he comes with his dirty baggage of sickness we can assuredly say, “No, no, I’ll not receive that package. I was healed by the stripes of Jesus. He is my Healer.” Or when the bank account is running short we can safely say that “My God supplies all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” We counter the devil’s attacks with the truth of God’s word. It may be a fact that you have a certain illness, but truth supersedes facts. We don’t deny the fact, but we simply state the truth of what God says about our situation so that we can in time see the manifestation of it. God never asks us to deny what we are currently experiencing, He just asks us to believe Him for the provision for it and speak the answer and not the problem.

Now, to look at the second part of Ephesians 6:17 “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”

Sword – An offensive weapon worn at the side, and used by hand either for thrusting or cutting.  (Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.)

The sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon of the believer’s armor. It is said of Jesus when He comes again in Revelation 19:13-16:

 

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

The word of God when spoken out of our mouths becomes a sharp sword that pierces the enemy. Our words are containers of power either of life or death.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

When we fill our mouths with the word of God it becomes as a sharp sword filled with living power. Our speech needs to reflect what God says about our situations, not what we think, feel or see.

There are two different Greek words to define “the word of God”.

Word – logos – A transmission of thought, communication, a word of explanation, an utterance, discourse, divine revelation, talk, statement, instruction, an oracle, divine promise, divine doctrine, divine declaration. Jesus is the living logos, the Bible is the written logos; and the Holy Spirit utters the spoken logos.

Word – rhema – That which is said or spoken, an utterance, in contrast to the logs, which is the expression of a thought; a message, a discourse.

Logos is the message; rhema is the communication of the message. In reference to the Bible, logos is the Bible in its entirety; rhema is a verse from the Bible.

The Greek word for “word” used in Ephesians 6:17 is rhema, the spoken word of God. This is a portion of the Bible that the Holy Spirit speaks to you to give you the sword that you need to use to defeat the enemy in the attack that he is bringing against you. It needs to be spoken out of your mouth. Jesus spoke to the devil when he was attacked in the wilderness with “it is written” and then He followed it with the portion of Scripture that applied to the specific attack that He was under. (Matthew 4:1-10) The Holy Spirit will speak just the right scripture to you, making it a rhema word which is the sword that you can use to defeat the enemy right then. It becomes the sword of the Spirit to you! You speak it and continue to speak it until the attack ends. It is important that you have a good working knowledge of the Bible before the attack comes so you can have the word inside of you for the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance when it is needed. Many people are unprepared when the attack comes because they have not put the word into their hearts so they have nothing for the Holy Spirit to bring back to their remembrance.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He brings back out of our hearts the word that we have feasted on at just the right time; when we need it to counter an attack from the enemy. With His help we are sure to win if we follow His directions and obey what He tells us to do!

Father, I thank You for the salvation that You have so freely bestowed upon us. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for purchasing our salvation with Your very life. I know that no one took it from You, Lord, but You laid it down for us. Thank You for dying that we might live! Father, I also thank You for Your word that becomes a sword for us when the Holy Spirit brings it back to our remembrance when we are in a fight with the enemy. Thank You for empowering us to win! Father, help us to feast on Your word so we can be ready when the enemy comes with an attack. Thank You for giving us the victory in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Soldier’s Shield

Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

 

Shield – Greek word thureos – formerly meant “a stone for closing the entrance of a cave”; then, “a shield,” large and oblong, protecting every part of the soldier.

 

The shield of which Paul is speaking in regards to the armor of God is illustrated by the Roman soldier’s shield that was rectangular in form and about 4 feet long and 2 ½ feet wide. It was made of thin sheets of wood glued together and over-layed with leather. It had a metal rim around it and the front side was covered with leather and had decorative plates on it. Often the enemy would cover the tips of their spears with tar or pitch and light them on fire and shoot them at the Roman soldier. The leather shield when soaked in water would put the fire out when the fiery dart hit it. Many times the soldiers would line up side by side, linking their shields together to make a wall for protection. Some would gather around behind the first line of soldiers placing their shields side by side at an angle that was similar to a roof over the other soldiers. They could stand off an enemy attack in that manner.

 

God is telling us in Ephesians 6:16 that we should “above all” take up that shield of faith that protects us in every area of our lives.

 

By using the term “above all” God is showing the importance of using our shield of faith to ward off the fiery darts of the enemy; to quench his attacks. Faith as a shield stops the negative, destruction plans of the enemy with the confidence and reliance in all that God is and says.

 

Faith – Greek word “pistis” means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion. In the New Testament setting, pistis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God and all that He says.

 

Hebrews 11:1 AMP NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

 

When you have a title deed to property it is the proof that it is yours. There can be no mistaking who the owner is when your name is on the deed and you have it in hand. Faith goes to the extreme to say that what God has promised in His word is mine, even before it is seen. Faith declares that title deed as already being in existence before you see it. A simple definition of faith would be “faith is the acceptance of a fact which already exists but which has not yet been manifested to the senses”.

 

Faith and the word of God go hand in hand. Faith is being firmly persuaded that what you’ve seen in the word of God is true and then acting on that knowledge regardless of what you see in the natural.

 

Why is faith a shield to us? When the enemy shoots his fiery darts of lies, accusation, condemnation, discouragement, defeat and failure at us we must be able to stop those darts with the truth of God’s word. If we don’t believe it is truth we have no shield of faith to hold up to stop the darts of the enemy. Thus we are left wide open to his attack.

 

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

 

God has already established the victory for us. The enforcement of it is ours to do. The victory is won through our faith in God and His faithfulness to keep His promises to us. We must have faith to please God.

 

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

 

When you come to God you need faith to believe that He is who He says He is; that His promises are “yes and amen” in Christ Jesus, and that He will reward you if you diligently seek Him about something.

 

If you are under attack from the enemy regarding your health you need the shield of faith that believes that God has provided healing for your physical body through the covenant that you have with Christ Jesus. If you are under attack in your finances you need your shield of faith that believes that God will provide for your financial needs. If you are under attack in your mind you need the shield of faith that believes that God has provided deliverance from oppression. In whatever area of attack you are under God’s word has the power in it that you need to provide the shield of faith to stop the fiery darts of the evil one.

 

Faith comes to us as we hear the word of God regarding the promises and provision that He has made to us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

If you don’t know what God’s covenant provides you can’t believe for it’s provision in your life. Whatever area you are under attack in you must know what God’s word promises as the antidote for the attack. Faith is the assurance that what God has said, He will do regardless of what you see in the natural.

 

Colossians 2:6,7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding it it with thanksgiving.

 

How did you receive Christ Jesus the Lord? Ephesians 2:8 says that you received Him by grace, through your faith.

 

Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

You exercised your faith to bring God’s grace of salvation into your life.

 

Romans 10:6-10 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “’Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

Faith speaks what the heart believes and that doesn’t always line up with what the eyes see in the natural. Faith believes God’s word over physical, emotional or mental knowledge. This principle of faith applies in every area of need that we have. God has provided in salvation for every need a believer has. It is brought from the spiritual into the natural by His grace through our faith; by believing and speaking what we know is true from God’s word. If you don’t know God’s word on the subject of your need, you have no shield of faith to use in quenching the fiery darts of the evil one. As a Roman soldier prepares for the battle by going out to fight in practice battles every day so we must be prepared for the battle before the enemy comes with his attack by finding out what God’s word says and speaking it out of our mouths in preparation for the attack that will certainly come at some point in our lives. Saturate yourself in the word of God so you will be ready for the attack. Get the word down deep into your heart so you are prepared when the enemy comes trying to knock you off your center in Christ Jesus. Be ready!

 

Father, I thank You for the covenant that You provided for us in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Lord, for giving Your very own life that we might live an abundant life in You. Father, I pray that we will understand the importance of the shield of faith in fighting off the attacks of the enemy. I pray that we will prepare ourselves with Your word to be ready to hold up our shield of faith in the time of battle. Help us to feast on Your word so we can have a ready shield when the attack comes. Thank You, Father, for equipping us to win the war! To You be the glory and honor! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Stand Therefore!

Ephesians 6:14-20 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

 

Stand therefore! I’ve counted three times in the portion of scripture from Ephesians 6:10-20 where God instructs His people in battle to STAND! And one other time where He says “withstand”. We are the army of God and as such He intends for us to stand and fight, not turn and run!

 

Stand – Greek word “histemi” meaning “to cause to stand”; to “stand firm”; to “stand steadfastly”.

 

We see a perfect example of this type of stance in the Lord Jesus when He was getting ready to go to the cross. Isaiah 50:7 says that He set His face like a flint.

 

Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.”

 

Later Luke talks about this prophetic picture of Jesus getting ready to go to the cross in Luke 9:51-53:

 

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

 

Jesus knew the battle that was ahead of Him and He purposed to steadfastly do what God had called Him to do. He set His face like a flint to carry out the will of God that mankind might be saved. It’s the diligence and determination to fight that we see in Jesus that we want to pattern our lives after in spiritual warfare to defeat the enemy in our lives and those of others for which we are praying. We can understand His determination when we look at the description of a flint.

 

Flint – As a stone, is a sub-species of quartz, of a yellowish or bluish gray, or grayish black color. It is very hard, strikes fire with steel, and is an ingredient in glass. When said to be as flint, it would be very hard, not impressionable. A piece of flint-stone is described as being used in firearms to strike fire. (definition from the 1828 Webster’s dictionary of the English language.)

 

So when Jesus set His face as flint to go to the cross there was no person or demonic entity that was going to stop Him. He knew what He had to do and He did it! When Ephesians 6:14 says to “stand therefore” we can ascertain that God intends for us to be determined to win and to take our stance against the enemy in such a way as to understand that the only option we have is to WIN!

 

We see the picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane taking His stance for victory on His knees. That is where the battle really takes place. We draw strength for the battle and fight the thoughts that come against us, the actions and fiery darts of the wicked one through prayer. It is a spiritual battle, not a physical one.

 

Luke 26:36-46 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. “Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

 

Have you ever felt like you were going crazy; that you just couldn’t stand to take the pressure of what was coming against you one more day? Jesus was under such pressure when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane that it is said that His sweat was as great drops of blood.

 

Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

 

Jesus knew the intensity of the battle going on in His mind. He was pressured to the point of death, even the death of the cross. And yet He won that battle on His knees before He ever walked it out through the crucifixion. He gave us the reason prayer is so important in fighting spiritually in Matthew 26:41:

 

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

We, as believers, have every intention of fighting the good fight of faith and winning…..until we are in the midst of the battle. Then we sometimes waver. Our faith weakens as we see the weaknesses of our flesh. Jesus said to “watch and pray”.

 

Watch – Greek word – gregoreo – Strong’s #1213: to watch; keeping awake; as of “spiritual alertness”.

 

Jesus described the enemy in John 10 as being like a thief. A thief often works under the cover of darkness. Hence, the need to “stand therefore”, being spiritually alert, watching for his secret attack, with the determination of a bulldog, feet planted, immoveable, ready to fight, determined to win with your face set like a flint, knowing that you’ve got the armor of God and His weapons securely in place and victory is yours through Him!

 

Watch and pray….not, look for the enemy and when you see him run for your life. Watch; be spiritually alert; pray!

 

Pray – Greek word “proseuchomai” – this word for prayer is always used of “prayer to God”, and is the most frequent word in this respect.

 

Jesus is saying when faced with a temptation, a battle between you and the evil one, be spiritually alert, watching for his wiles, his strategy in coming against you, and pray to the Father that you will be spiritually fit and able to defeat him because your flesh will want to cave in, give up, relax, run away; your flesh is weak, but your spirit needs to be strong enough to “stand therefore”!

 

In the strength of the Lord you will be able to fight the attacks of the enemy and win.

 

Father, I thank You for giving us the strength to stand. I thank You that I can come to You and draw from Your grace for the ability to fight and win the battle. I pray for my friends, Father, that they, too, will learn how to fight and win through prayer and standing firm against the enemy. Thank You for the victory that we have in Christ Jesus. Help us, Lord, to not give up, cave in or run and hide when the battle ensues. For it’s time for us to stand firm and resist the evil one knowing that You always lead us to triumph in Christ Jesus! Thank You, Father! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

 

The Wrestling Match

Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

We talked about the armor of God yesterday and today I want to talk about the battle that we encounter with the devil. The first word I want to explore is the word “wiles” in verse 11.

 

Wiles – schemings; methodology; plans

 

The devil has a plan for your life. Jesus calls him a thief who comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  (John 10:10)  Satan’s plan for your life is to steal from you, kill you and destroy your effectiveness for the kingdom of God.

 

The next word that I want to discuss is the word “wrestle” in verse 12.

 

Wrestle – Webster’s 1828 dictionary, which often lists definitions with reference to scriptures, lists the definition of “wrestle” as to strive with arms extended, as two men, who seize each other by the collar and arms, each endeavoring to throw the other by tripping up his heels and twitching him off his center. To struggle; to strive; to contend.

 

The picture that we ascertain from this definition of “wrestle” is that of a match between two opponents, up close and personal, with no more than an arm’s length between them, each trying to knock the other one off balance so as to win the match against him. A wrestler strives or contends against his opponent. So, to wrestle means to engage actively in one-on-one combat. The word says that our opponent in this wrestling match is principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Does that sound like people to you? No, we are told in the first part of that scripture that it is not flesh and blood, or human beings that we strive against. Satan has a hierarchy of demonic hosts that are strategically placed in his army just like we have different levels of military offices in our armed forces. The battle that we fight against with these spiritual entities is not a physical battle; it is referred to as a wrestling match to give us an illustration of the type of warfare that it is in the spirit realm. Jesus often spoke to people in parables which where earthly stores that had a spiritual meaning. The Bible continues that type of illustration here as we look at the warfare we become involved with as we wrestle with Satan’s army of demons.

 

The next word I want to discuss here is the word “withstand”. The Greek word for “withstand” is anthistemi. Strong’s #436: From anti, “against”, and histemi, “to cause to stand”. The verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, standing your ground. Just as an antihistamine puts a block on histamine, anthistemi tells us that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to us we can withstand evil forces.

 

What the word is saying in Ephesians 6:13 is that when we are suited up in the armor of God we will be able to vigorously oppose and bravely resist the up close and personal attack that comes to us from the enemy. We will be able to stand our ground, blocking his every move. To stand against means to hold at bay aggressively or to stand in front of and oppose. “Having done all, to stand” means that we will be found standing after an active battle and taking our stance for the next battle. From this illustration I get a clear understanding that God intends for us to fight and win!

 

The Old Testament stories of physical encounters with the enemies of Israel are a type and shadow of the spiritual battles that we, as believers, encounter with our adversary, the devil. In looking at the battle between David and Goliath we see how David suited up with the weapons that he had tried and tested, and found to be effective. His weapons were a slingshot and five smooth stones. He told Saul that it wasn’t the weapons per say that brought the victory between the lion and the bear while he was caring for his father’s sheep, but the Lord was the one who had delivered him in his battles and that His God would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine as well. (1 Samuel 17:37) It is our God that is backing the armor that He provides for us and when we apply the weapons as instructed by the Lord we can know that He is fighting the enemy through us. Just as Goliath started fighting against David by challenging him through words of disdain, trying to cause him to fear, so Satan comes against the believer through thoughts of doubt, unbelief, discouragement, discontent, fear and accusation.

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

 

The battle that we fight against the devil is in our thought processes. God calls them thoughts, arguments, strongholds, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. A stronghold is a fortified place that Satan builds to exalt himself against the knowledge and plans of God in a person’s life. Strongholds often leave the person feeling that their situation is hopeless and there is no way out. A stronghold begins as a thought and as you mull that thought over and over in your mind it reinforces it every time it is thought until it eventually becomes “reality” to you. It is an up close and personal encounter with Satanic forces because many times he is so convincing that you receive the thought as your own, when in actuality, anything that is in opposition to God’s word is a lie, regardless of how good it sounds. Satan is a deceiver, and is described in John 8:44 as a liar and the father of it.

 

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is o truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

 

Satan cannot read a person’s mind, but he can interject thoughts into a person’s mind. He usually begins his attack by speaking to your mind thoughts that counter what God’s word says. Take for example the serpent speaking to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

 

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

 

Remember that we said earlier that the stories in the Old Testament of physical battles or encounters are types and shadows of the spiritual encounters that we as believers have with the enemy. So, in this instance, notice that the serpent, or to us the devil, in conversation with Eve, questioned what God had instructed them to do about eating of the trees of the garden. He started with causing her to doubt God’s word. Satan will come with a thought placed in your mind that God’s word really doesn’t apply to your situation and that there really isn’t any hope for you; you will have to take control of this situation yourself and figure out how to overcome on your own. It is at this point that we must stand against, or wrestle with the thought bringing it into captivity to God’s word. Many times in years past I have had a thought and had to stop myself and say, “wait a minute; what does God’s word say about this situation?”. I would have to stop and get the proper perspective through knowing the word of God to be able to stand against the wiles, or strategy of the devil at that point in my life. Just as Jesus battled the devil with the word of God when he tempted Him in the wilderness, so you will have to speak the word of God to the enemy when he brings those thoughts and temptations to your mind.

 

God gives us some instructions in Philippians 4:8 about what we are to think about or meditate on to keep our thought processes in line with His word.

 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

 

God is a positive God; He is not negative in His thoughts and He doesn’t want us to dwell on the negative and feel as if there is no hope for us in our warfare against the enemy. Nothing is impossible for God according to Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing will be impossible.” God is for us; He has equipped us to win, to be more than conquerors through Him.

 

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

 

Strongholds can be brought down through changing what we think about, speak about and act on. Every action begins with a thought and is followed by what we say and then acted out. It is in the beginning thought that we need to bring it to a stop! It is at that point that the wrestling is the most effective. The longer we go dwelling on it the more intense the battle becomes and the more fortified is the stronghold.

 

Father, I thank You for giving us the weapons that we need to defeat the enemy. Thank You for causing us to be over-comers through Christ Jesus. Please show us the fortified areas in our minds that need to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Help us to fight a good warfare; one that wins every time. Father, I pray for my friends that You will show them the areas that Satan has used as thoughts that exalt him in their minds instead of Your word. Father, grant them the victory over the enemy. Lord, strengthen their spirits to do battle. Empower them to win and show them that You are right there with them, fighting through them. Thank You, Father, for leading us to triumph in Christ Jesus. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

The Armor!

Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

We’ve been looking at spiritual warfare, the weapons that God has given us to fight spiritual battles and today I want to talk with you about the soldier’s armor. God has armor that fits every believer. He has a tailor made suit of armor that will cover you for the battle depending on what type of battle it is. His armor covers you, is the right size and fit for you as an individual. The general description of His armor is found in Ephesians 6:14-18, but before we look at that portion of scripture let’s look at Ephesians 6:11-13.

The first thing I see about the armor is that it is the armor of God; not our own armor or what we think we need to wear to go out to the battle. God’s armor is the only thing that will work. This reminds me of when David went out to fight Goliath and Saul wanted him to wear his armor.

1 Samuel 17:38, 39 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.

Saul wanted David to wear his own personal armor, but it didn’t fit David properly. He hadn’t used it or tested it to see if he could fight in it. Our armor that is God’s is a perfect fit, designed for exactly what we need it to do. But we must test it. The way that we test the armor is by understanding the specifics of each piece, how it applies to our lives and the way we receive it through our relationship with Christ Jesus and then applying that knowledge to our lives. If we are not living close to Him how can we hear His voice to follow His commands in using the armor of God? The armor is not a physical suit that we put on, it is a spiritual garment that covers us, since we are not in a fight with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces of wickedness.

I experienced an encounter with the Lord one morning at the altar time at my church where I was slain in the Spirit, or as some say, overcome by the Spirit. During that time I had a vision of me standing behind the pulpit at my church delivering a message to the congregation. I saw Jesus standing behind me and as I was expounding on the word of God He moved forward closer to me to where He finally just walked into me. I saw Him fade into my very being. He reminded me of this scripture about Gideon:

Judges 6:34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.

 

The Hebrew meaning of the phrase “the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon” literally means “The Spirit of the LORD clothed Himself with Gideon”. This is what I saw in my vision; the Lord clothed Himself with me.

It is said of Saul in 1 Samuel 10:6, 7 “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. “And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.”

The armor of God is a spiritual clothing that He establishes within us as we yield to Him to go into the battle. It is as understand that we are “one” with Him that we are suited up to win against the enemy in spiritual warfare. We become more like him, or as He comes upon us we are turned into a different person; we are clothed to fight and win the battles. Jesus prayed for his disciples and those who would follow after them in John 17. Here’s what He said in prayer for us as believers:

John 17:20-23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; “That they all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. “And the glory which You gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

Jesus’ prayer for us was that we would be “One” with Him and the Father; that He would be in us and us in Him just as He and the Father are “One”. It is through this union with God that the realization of how the armor of God works becomes a reality to us. As we look at the general description of the armor in detail we will see how each particular piece is fitted to us to equip us to win.

Jesus prayed also for us in John 17:15: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

 

We live in this world where there is constant evil going on around us. As long as we are in the world we will have trouble, but God has provided all that we need to fight the good fight of faith and win!

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Peace is a by-product of our union with Christ Jesus and flows to us as we suit up in Him and walk in the power and anointing that He places within us through our union with Him.

It is as we grow in our knowledge of who we are “in Him” that we are equipped with His armor for battle. He doesn’t deny the fact that we are going to have to go into the battle, but the key to winning is being in Him because He has already defeated the evil one. Satan was defeated on the cross of Calvary when Jesus was crucified for our sin, sickness and disease and poverty. Jesus said in Luke 10:19: “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” That word for “hurt” in Luke 10:19 means “to act criminally against you; to take illegal action against you to mistreat you”. The only ground that Satan can take from us is the ground that we give up to him. He has no legal right in the life of the believer to hurt us. But we still have to fight him off. He has to be convinced that he doesn’t have the right to afflict or steal, kill and destroy the life of a believer in Christ Jesus.

The victory is ours, but we must enforce what Jesus has died to give us. 2 Corinthians 2:14: Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

We, as born again believers in Jesus Christ, have our place “in Him”, and He will lead us to triumph over the devil in our lives. It is through our relationship with Him that we understand that we have already won the battle. We learn how to enforce the victory through fighting in the armor that He places on us as we draw near to Him.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Father, I thank You that You have already made us the victors in the battles that we fight against the evil one. Thank You for equipping us with Your armor that fits perfectly and protects us when we war against the devil. Lord, to You be the glory for the victory as You have already defeated Satan on the cross of Calvary. Thank You for giving us, Your church, the authority over all the power of the enemy. I thank You that Satan cannot legally inflict pain against Your children. It is only through lies and deception that he works his evil powers. Help us to be aware of his schemes; the wiles that he uses to stand against us. Thank You, Father, for the victory in Christ Jesus! Thank You for hearing and answering the prayers that I offer up to You in the name of Jesus! Amen.

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